Licensed practical nurses (LPN) and licensed vocational nurses (LVN) are paid extremely well, considering the minimal education the job requires. The median annual wage in the United States in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor was $32,390. In the same year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median annual salary of LPNs and LVNs to be $40,110.
Just like any other job, the geographic location, years of experience, and industry of employment are key factors in determining the salary of a LPN and LVN. The lowest 10% of LPNs in the country made around $28,260 or less in 2008, while the highest were paid just over $53,000. Hourly figures ranged from $13.59 to $25.76. Rural areas tend to pay lower, but have a higher need for nurses.
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The highest paying industry for LPNs and LVNs is in employment services. The average annual salary in employment service industries in 2008 was $44,690. Jobs in employment service industries can often be found in human relations departments of hospitals, physician offices and government agencies.
The lowest paying industry for LPNs is physician offices, with the average pay there being around $35,000 annually. Other industries, such as nursing care facilities, home health care services, and medical and surgical hospitals usually pay in the $38,000-$40,000 range.
The highest paying states for LPNs and LVNs are Connecticut ($51,780), District of Columbia ($49,830), Massachusetts ($49,690), New Jersey ($49,570), and California ($48,400).
Indeed.com reported the average salary for LPN jobs to be $46,000. However, they ranged from $31,000 all the way up to $60,000 depending on the place of employment and the location. Salary.com reported similar statistics with jobs ranging from $32,000 to $52,000 as did payscale.com listing jobs from $25,742 to $45,781.
Most LPNs and LVNs work full-time and receive comparable benefits to most other medical professionals. This includes insurance, pension, vacation, and often bonus and incentives. Because LPNs cannot operate their own medical practice they do not have to pay the additional insurance and malpractice fees that doctors do.
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Additional costs associated with becoming a LPN will primarily be in renewing your professional license to practice as a LPN and in paying for continuing medical education classes. However, in many cases the place of employment or the supervising doctor may offer some sort of financial reimbursement, matching program, or additional incentives for continuing your education. Continuing medical education may or may not be required for you as a LPN/LVN depending on your state of employment. Although the state may not require continuing education, the place of employment could have its own continuing education requirements and standards.