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. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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 $42,400 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov). The middle 50% of these professionals earned between $34,990 and $48,380. PayScale.com reported a salary range of $26,584-$47,300 and a median income of $35,229 for entry-level LPNs in February 2014. Your salary may also be impacted by your employer and location choices.

Salary by Employer

LPNs may be employed in a variety of settings, such as hospitals and in private homes. In May 2012, the BLS reported average salaries for LPNs and LVNs working for various industries. Nursing care facilities and general hospitals were the top employers at that time and offered average wages of $43,570 and $41,330, respectively. Physicians' offices offered average wages of $38,980, while home healthcare services offered higher average wages of $43,920. Continuing care retirement communities paid LPNs and LVNs average wages of $43,540.

Salary by Location

According to the BLS, LPN and LVN salaries may vary by location. As of May 2012, the highest-paying states on average included Connecticut ($53,560), Nevada ($52,850), Alaska ($52,480), Massachusetts ($52,060) and New Jersey ($51,350). Workers in the lowest-paying states that included Montana, Tennessee, Alabama and Oklahoma averaged $21,400-$37,850.

PayScale.com also reported salaries for entry-level LPNs in various cities in February 2014. The website reported salary ranges of $32,291-$56,435 for New York City, $23,439-$50,507 for Atlanta, $29,347-$47,625 for Tampa and $23,270-$53,881 for Phoenix.

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 25% between 2012-2022, 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.

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