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What Is the Average Starting Salary of an LPN?

An LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) handles basic nursing duties, including monitoring patients' blood pressure, keeping patients comfortable and feeding patients who need assistance. The average salary for an LPN typically varies by employer and location.

Salary Range Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for LPNs and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) of all experience levels was $47,050 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The middle 50% of these professionals earned between $39,470 and $54,110. PayScale.com reported a salary range of $26,000-$50,000 and a median income of $38,787 for entry-level LPNs in May 2019. Your salary may also be impacted by your employer and location choices.

Important Facts About the Average Starting Salary of an LPN

On-the-Job Training Not expressly given but acquired through experience
Key Skills Situational awareness, clear written and spoken communication, close listening, critical thinking, problem solving, observation, empathy
Work Environment Predominantly full-time with shifts occurring anytime of the day, including weekends and holidays
Similar Occupations Nursing assistants and orderlies; registered nurses; surgical technologists; psychiatric technicians and aides; occupational therapy assistants and aides

Salary by Employer

LPNs may be employed in a variety of settings, such as hospitals and in private homes. In May 2018, the BLS reported average salaries for LPNs and LVNs working for various industries. Nursing care facilities and offices of physicians were the top employers at that time and offered average wages of $48,330 and $43,240, respectively. General medical and surgical hospitals offered average wages of $45,190, while home healthcare services offered higher average wages of $47,880. Continuing care retirement communities paid LPNs and LVNs average wages of $47,850.

Salary by Location

According to the BLS, LPN and LVN salaries may vary by location. As of May 2018, the highest-paying states on average included Rhode Island ($59,130), Massachusetts ($58,990), Alaska ($58,250), Nevada ($57,140) and Connecticut ($56,970). Workers in the lowest-paying states that included West Virginia, South Dakota, Tennessee, Alabama and Oklahoma averaged $23,530-$41,920.

PayScale.com also reported salaries for entry-level LPNs in various cities in September 2015. The website reported salary ranges of $34,000-$58,000 for New York City, $34,000-$42,000 for Atlanta, $31,000-$49,000 for Tampa, and $33,000-$50,000 for Tucson.

Education Requirements

To become an LPN, you will need to undergo a practical nursing training program, which usually lasts one year and is offered through technical or vocational schools. During a training program, you usually have some classes and also do practical work that allows you to practice your skills in a real medical setting. You will also need to pass a comprehensive examination known as the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to obtain licensure.

Career Outlook

The BLS projected the number of jobs for LPNs and LVNs will grow 12% between 2016-2026, with many new jobs being created in the nursing care and home health care fields. This growth is because of an increase in the older population who are likely to require more medical care. In addition, advances in medical technology make it possible to perform procedures in other facilities besides hospitals.