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How Much Do LPNs Make?

Mar 10, 2021
Portia Wofford, LPN

This is the second part of our three-part series on Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).

  1. What Do LPNs Do?
  2. How Much Do LPNs Make? (You are here)
  3. How to Become an LPN

Depending on where they live, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) may earn more or less than the national average (LVNs are specific to California and Texas but fulfill the same duties). Differences in cost of living, the city and state, the health care setting, and the nurse’s experience determine salaries for LPNs. 

For example, an LPN living in a metropolitan area will generally earn a higher salary because of the cost of transportation and housing. An LPN practicing in a rural area will earn less because the cost of living is less expensive. And Tenured or experienced LPNs will, of course, typically earn more than a new graduate LPN. 

How Much Do LPNs Make per Year?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average yearly salary of LPNs is $48,500.  The average salaries of LPNs vary from state to state. The latest available data from the BLS (May 2019) reveals states with the highest average LPN salary to be:

  • Alaska: $63,850 per year
  • Massachusetts: $60,340 year
  • California: $60,240 per year
  • Rhode Island: $59,860 per year
  • Nevada: $58,470 per year

Top paying metropolitan areas for LPNs:

  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $69,490
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $68,160
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $67,990
  • Anchorage, AK: $65,420
  • Santa Rosa, CA: $65,260

Top paying non-metropolitan areas for LPNs:

  • Alaska nonmetropolitan area: $66,120
  • Eastern Sierra-Mother Lode Region of California nonmetropolitan area: $60,650
  • North Valley-Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area: $56,670
  • Eastern Oregon nonmetropolitan area: $56,440 
  • Nevada nonmetropolitan area: $56,260

The top-paying industries and their average salaries for LPNs:

  • Home health care: $49,900
  • Skilled nursing facilities: $49,780
  • Assisted living facilities and retirement communities: $49,570
  • General medical and surgical hospitals: $46,120
  • Physician offices: $44,320

How Much Does an LPN Make an Hour?

According to the BLS, the average hourly wage for LPNs is $23.23. LPNs in Alaska lead the nation with an average hourly rate of $30.70. The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area has the highest metropolitan hourly wage at $33.41, while the Alaska nonmetropolitan area pays on average $31.79 per hour. 

While comparing salaries and considering which job is best for you, you should also consider employment level and concentration of jobs in specific areas. Check out this resource on nurse pay to learn more about variables in compensation.

handing placing small clock into slot hourly pay LPN salary

States with the highest employment opportunities for LPNs

  • California
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Ohio

What Determines LPN Pay?

Many deciding factors account for your salary as an LPN:

  • Nursing degree and education
  • City and state where you work
  • Specialty
  • Years of experience

Some facilities determine pay and pay raise schedules on the nurse’s tenure with the company. This means before you can get a salary increase, you have to work for the company for a set amount of time. 

Job Outlook for LPNs

The career outlook for LPNs is promising. According to the BLS, employment for LPNs is projected to grow 9 percent through 2029—much faster than the expected national average. As Baby Boomers age, the need for healthcare and nursing services will increase. Skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and long-term care centers will need LPNs to care for these patients. 

LPNs will also be needed as people become sicker with chronic conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Nurses willing to work in underserved or rural areas will find the job pool increase greatly. 

To earn more pay or have a better pool of available jobs, you can consider earning a certification.

Popular certifications among LPNs and are:

LPNs who wish to make more money often become RNs. With a firm nursing background and knowledge, they can definitely make excellent registered nurses. 

Find Out How Much Nurses Are Making in Different Cities

Use the Nurse Salary Explorer to compare nursing salaries across the country.