What Is the Average Salary for Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN)?

A licensed vocational nurse (LVN) works under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians at a hospital, nursing home, clinic or other healthcare facility. Read on for more information about average salaries and job prospects for this profession. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Prospects

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted an increase in job growth of 25% for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and LVNs over the 2012-2022 decade, which exceeds the average (www.bls.gov).These nurses work in locations that primarily include hospitals, nursing care facilities and physicians' offices. Additional types of employers include outpatient and residential care facilities, community care facilities for the elderly, government agencies, employment services and home healthcare services. Job opportunities were expected to rise in these various healthcare settings, so excellent job prospects are expected.

Important Facts About Licensed Vocational Nurses

Required Education Post-secondary certificate or diploma
Licensure National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) required for licensure
Key Skills Attention to detail, social awareness, empathy, patience, clear spoken communication, endurance
Similar Occupations Registered nurses, nursing assistants and aides, occupational therapy assistants and aides, physical therapist assistants and aides, psychiatric technicians and aides

Salary Overview

In May 2014, the BLS estimated that the average annual salary for LPNs and LVNs was $43,420. Those workers in the 10th percentile earned $31,640 or less in annual wages, while nurses in the 90th percentile earned $58,710 or more. Your salary depends primarily on your experience, location and type of employer.

Salaries by Experience

With success, your salary increases as you advance through your career. In September 2015, PayScale.com provided salary figures for LVNs at various career stages. Those with 0-5 years of experience earned between $30,781 and $52,148. According to the same wage data, you may earn between $34,078 and $56,885 with 5-10 years of experience. Those with 20 years of experience or more earned between $34,943 and $59,415 annually.

Salaries by Location

Your geographic location also affects your salary. The BLS reported that the states of Louisiana, Arkansas and West Virginia had the highest concentration of jobs for this career in May 2014. Average salaries in these higher-demand states in May 2014 were $37,810, $36,040 and $35,020 respectively.

In the five highest-paying states, however, average annual salaries ranged between $52,760 and $55,170. These states (from greatest to lowest) included Connecticut, Alaska, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Nevada. Also, according to BLS, cities with the highest employment levels for LPNs and LVNs generally paid higher salaries than the nonmetropolitan areas with the most of these professionals.

Salaries by Industry

Your salary may vary by industry as well. The BLS estimated in May 2014 that the mean annual wage for LPNs and LVNs working at junior colleges was the highest at $51,050. Nursing-care facilities paid an estimated mean annual wage of $44,500. Hospitals paid a mean salary of $42,330, and physicians' offices, $39,930.

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