What's the Employment Outlook for a Licensed Practical Nurse?

Numerous job opportunities are predicted for licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also called licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), especially in home health care and nursing homes. Employment growth is expected to be much faster than average for this occupation from 2012-2022. Read on to find out more about the job outlook and salary for this career. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

LPNs help care for patients, working under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses (RNs). Responsibilities range from clerical duties to bedside care, depending on the employment setting. These professionals usually complete a 1-year training program at a community college or technical school, where they learn to perform basic health care like taking vital signs, collecting samples or feeding and bathing patients.

Important Facts About Licensed Practical Nurses

On-the-Job Training Not provided
Licensure Passage of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) required
Professional Certification Voluntary, but available for different specializations
Similar Occupations Registered nurses, nursing assistants and aides, occupational therapy assistants and aides, physical therapist assistants and aides

Employment Outlook

LPNs and LVNs enjoy a thriving job market. Employment for the occupation is expected to grow by 25% from 2012 to 2022, much quicker than the average for all professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). The growth is attributed to a rising senior population and a general increase in the demand for health care.

Home healthcare services and residential care facilities will demand more of these professionals to help care for the elderly, and skilled nursing facilities will need LPNs to provide care for those with chronic conditions. In addition, outpatient care centers should experience a demand for these workers, since they can handle more procedures these days. The BLS reports that retirement of current LPNs will lead to job openings for those entering the field. Rural areas may also have more job opportunities, since they're often underserved by medical professionals.

Job and Workplace Statistics

According to the BLS, LPNs and LVNs held an estimated 695,610 positions in 2014. These professionals were projected to hold 921,300 jobs by 2022, an increase of 225,690. In 2012, most LPNs and LVNs worked in skilled nursing care facilities (29%), hospitals (20%) and physicians' offices (12%). Other employers included home healthcare services, continuing care communities, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, junior colleges and insurance carriers.

Salary Information

The BLS reports that LPNs and LVNs earned a median income of $42,490 a year as of May 2014. The highest-paid 10% made $58,710 or more annually, while the lowest-paid 10% made $31,640 or less annually. Among the most common workplaces, nurses working for home healthcare services made the highest average salary ($45,370), followed by those employed in skilled nursing facilities ($44,500), continuing care retirement communities ($44,310), hospitals ($42,330) and physicians' offices ($39,930).

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