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Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Salary Ultimate Guide

If you are an LPN or on your way to becoming one, you have come to the right place. This ultimate guide to licensed practical nurse (LPN)—or licensed vocational nurse (LVN)—pay covers everything there is to know about LPN income: the average LPN salary, the highest-paid LPNs, the highest-paying industries for LPNs, and many other factors affecting LPN income. Read on for the answers to all your questions regarding LPN and LVN pay!

*Note: The term licensed vocational nurse or LVN is used in Texas and California, whereas, in the rest of the country, these professionals are called licensed practical nurses or LPNs. Essentially, there is no greater difference between these two terms.

Highest-Paid LPNs

Salary Graph

Although, nationwide, the average LPN pay is $24.93 hourly and $51,850 annually, the highest-paid 10 percent of LPNs earn $30.67 hourly and $63,790 annually. That said, there are cities, industries, and even an entire state where LPN salary is higher than these figures. Want to know where? Read on to find out “How much do LPNs make an hour, a week, monthly, and annually?” in the highest-paying states, cities, nonmetropolitan areas, and more!

Highest-Paying States for LPNs

Location is one of the most significant factors affecting LPN pay. Whereas LVNs in California average $65,140 annually, in Mississippi, LPNs average $41,530. Without further ado, here are the top ten highest-paying states to work as an LPN/LVN:

Rank State Hourly Rate Weekly Average Monthly Average Annual Average
1 California $31.32 $1,252.80 $5,428.33 $65,140
2 Alaska $30.60 $1,224.00 $5,304.17 $63,650
3 Washington $30.41 $1,216.40 $5,270.83 $63,250
4 Massachusetts $29.72 $1,188.80 $5,151.67 $61,820
5 Nevada $29.08 $1,163.20 $5,040.83 $60,490
6 Oregon $28.89 $1,155.60 $5,007.50 $60,090
7 Rhode Island $28.75 $1,150.00 $4,983.33 $59,800
8 Connecticut $28.58 $1,143.20 $4,953.33 $59,440
9 New Hampshire $28.43 $1,137.20 $4,928.33 $59,140
10 New Jersey $28.17 $1,126.80 $4,882.50 $58,590

Source: Table created based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Highest-Paying Cities for LPNs

Did you think California pays LPNs well? Wait until you see the average LPN salaries in the ten highest-paying metropolitan areas for LPNs/LVNs. 

Rank Metropolitan Area Hourly Rate Weekly Average Monthly Average Annual Average
1 Napa, CA $36.97 $1,478.80 $6,407.50 $76,890
2 San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara, CA $36.48 $1,459.20 $6,323.33 $75,880
3 San Francisco, Oakland, and Hayward, CA $36.26 $1,450.40 $6,284.17 $75,410
4 Santa Rosa, CA $34.22 $1,368.80 $5,931.67 $71,180
5 Vallejo and Fairfield, CA $34.00 $1,360.00 $5,893.33 $70,720
6 San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, and Arroyo Grande, CA $33.14 $1,325.60 $5,745.00 $68,940
7 Santa Cruz and Watsonville, CA $32.12 $1,284.80 $5,566.67 $66,800
8 Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue, WA $31.91 $1,276.40 $5,531.67 $66,380
9 Sacramento, Roseville, Arden, and Arcade, CA $31.77 $1,270.80 $5,507.50 $66,090
10 Carson City, NV $31.47 $1,258.80 $5,455.00 $65,460

*Spoiler alert: Most of these cities are in California.

Source: Table created based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Highest-Paying Nonmetropolitan Areas for LPNs

Are you open to moving to another location to land a higher LPN salary but unwilling to work in a city? Thankfully, there are high-paying nonmetropolitan areas for LPNs as well. Here are the top five highest-paying nonmetropolitan areas for LPNs/LVNs:

Rank Nonmetropolitan Area Hourly Rate Weekly Average Monthly Average Annual Average
1 Alaska nonmetropolitan area $31.36 $1,254.40 $5,435.83 $65,230
2 Eastern Sierra and Mother Lode Region of California nonmetropolitan area $30.00 $1,200.00 $5,199.17 $62,390
3 Western Washington nonmetropolitan area $29.27 $1,170.80 $5,073.33 $60,880
4 Massachusetts nonmetropolitan area $29.18 $1,167.20 $5,057.50 $60,690
5 North Coast Region of California nonmetropolitan area $29.08 $1,163.20 $5,040.83 $60,490

Source: Table created based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

LPN Salary by State in 2022

You might have already found your state or even your city among these highest-paying areas for LPNs. However, many of you may still be wondering, “How much do LPNs make in Ohio, Florida, Tennessee, or Oklahoma?” For those of you who haven’t already found your state among the highest-paying states for LPNs, here is the average hourly, weekly, monthly, and annual LPN/LVN salary in each state organized in alphabetical order:

State Hourly Rate Weekly Average Monthly Average Annual Average
Alabama $19.97 $798.80 $3,461.66 $41,540
Alaska $30.60 $1,224.00 $5,304.17 $63,650
Arizona $27.79 $1,111.60 $4,816.67 $57,800
Arkansas $20.69 $827.60 $3,586.67 $43,040
California $31.32 $1,252.80 $5,428.33 $65,140
Colorado $26.62 $1,064.80 $4,613.33 $55,360
Connecticut $28.58 $1,143.20 $4,953.33 $59,440
Delaware $25.50 $1,020.00 $4,420.00 $53,040
District of Columbia $27.52 $1,100.80 $4,770.83 $57,250
Florida $23.01 $920.40 $3,988.33 $47,860
Georgia $22.77 $910.80 $3,947.50 $47,370
Hawaii $25.64 $1,025.60 $4,443.33 $53,320
Idaho $23.77 $950.80 $4,120.00 $49,440
Illinois $26.00 $1,040.00 $4,506.67 $54,080
Indiana $24.76 $990.40 $4,291.67 $51,500
Iowa $23.08 $923.20 $4,000.83 $48,010
Kansas $22.38 $895.20 $3,879.17 $46,550
Kentucky $22.67 $906.80 $3,928.33 $47,140
Louisiana $21.11 $844.40 $3,658.33 $43,900
Maine $24.42 $976.80 $4,232.50 $50,790
Maryland $27.11 $1,084.40 $4,698.33 $56,380
Massachusetts $29.72 $1,188.80 $5,151.67 $61,820
Michigan $26.00 $1,040.00 $4,507.50 $54,090
Minnesota $24.59 $983.60 $4,263.33 $51,160
Mississippi $19.97 $798.80 $3,460.83 $41,530
Missouri $22.12 $884.80 $3,834.17 $46,010
Montana $23.22 $928.80 $4,025.00 $48,300
Nebraska $23.10 $924.00 $4,003.33 $48,040
Nevada $29.08 $1,163.20 $5,040.83 $60,490
New Hampshire $28.43 $1,137.20 $4,928.33 $59,140
New Jersey $28.17 $1,126.80 $4,882.50 $58,590
New Mexico $26.94 $1,077.60 $4,670.00 $56,040
New York $25.84 $1,033.60 $4,479.17 $53,750
North Carolina $23.66 $946.40 $4,100.83 $49,210
North Dakota $24.10 $964.00 $4,177.50 $50,130
Ohio $23.09 $923.60 $4,002.50 $48,030
Oklahoma $21.59 $863.60 $3,742.50 $44,910
Oregon $28.89 $1,155.60 $5,007.50 $60,090
Pennsylvania $24.56 $982.40 $4,257.50 $51,090
Rhode Island $28.75 $1,150.00 $4,983.33 $59,800
South Carolina $22.34 $893.60 $3,872.50 $46,470
South Dakota $20.11 $804.40 $3,485.83 $41,830
Tennessee $20.97 $838.80 $3,635.00 $43,620
Texas $24.15 $966.00 $4,185.00 $50,220
Utah $24.39 $975.60 $4,228.33 $50,740
Vermont $26.05 $1,042.00 $4,515.00 $54,180
Virginia $23.28 $931.20 $4,035.83 $48,430
Washington $30.41 $1,216.40 $5,270.83 $63,250
West Virginia $19.86 $794.40 $3,442.50 $41,310
Wisconsin $16.28 $651.20 $2,822.50 $33,870
Wyoming $16.07 $642.80 $2,785.83 $33,430

Source: Table created based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Highest-Paying Industries for LPNs

Geographic location is not the only factor affecting LPN pay. Average LPN salary also varies significantly from one industry to another. The following are the ten top paying industries for LPNs:

Rank Industry Hourly Rate Annual Average
1 Personal care services $31.18 $64,840
2 Office administrative services $30.93 $64,330
3 Insurance carriers $28.73 $59,770
4 Health and personal care stores $28.65 $59,590
5 Junior colleges $28.56 $59,400
6 Outpatient care centers $27.97 $58,170
7 Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities) $25.80 $53,670
8 Home health care services $25.32 $52,670
9 Continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly $25.22 $52,460
10 Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals $25.21 $52,440

Source: Table created based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Other Factors Influencing LPN/LVN Salary

Nurse helping Patient

Location and industry type are certainly essential factors affecting LPN pay. However, LPN income is quite a bit more complex. The following are some other factors influencing LPN salary: 

LPN Gender

As is the case in many other professions, there is a pay gap between male and female LPNs. Whereas the average male LPN makes $59,000 annually, the average female LPN makes $51,000.

Years Working as an LPN

As is also the case across most professions, with years of work experience comes an increase in pay. Here are average LPN salaries based on years of nursing experience:

  • Twenty-one years or more: $54,000
  • Eleven to twenty years: $52,000
  • Six to ten years: $50,000
  • Five years or less: NA

Type of Community Where LPNs Work

In general, salaries in cities tend to be higher than in rural areas—and LPN salaries are not the exception. Here are average LPN salaries based on community type:

  • Urban: $54,000 
  • Suburban: $53,000
  • Exurban: $53,000
  • Rural: $47,00

How LPNs Supplement Their Income

Supplemental income is another important aspect affecting LPN pay. Whereas about half of LPNs rely solely on a paycheck from a standard LPN position, the other half take on additional responsibilities at work or even work additional jobs. The following figures show how LPNs supplement their income and how prevalent each practice is:


  • Worked extra shifts/overtime, weekends, and/or extra holidays: 31%
  • Acted as a preceptor: 6%
  • Worked “on call” shifts: 9%
  • Took on charge nurse responsibilities: 5%
  • Worked a second job or another income-producing activity: 12%
  • Taught classes: 2%
  • None, no supplemental income: 51%

Union Membership and LPN Salary

Finally, here is one more factor affecting LPN salary: union membership. The following figures show how union membership can affect LPN pay: 

  • Average union-member LPN salary: $55,000
  • Average non-union-member LPN salary: $52,000

LPN Minimum Wage

The lowest-earning 10 percent of LPNs make approximately $17.86 hourly or $37,150 annually. This pay most likely represents LPN entry-level salary in the lowest-paying states, such as Mississippi,  Alabama, and West Virginia. Although this lowest-paid ten percent of LPNs don’t make an enviable income, this rate is still higher than the minimum wage in the District of Columbia ($16.00 per hour)—the highest minimum wage in the country. 

Will LPN Pay Increase in 2023?

Firstly, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the employment of LPNs and LVNs will grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, at the same rate as the average for all occupations. This growth rate translates into approximately 58,800 job openings for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses each year over the decade. BLS estimates that many of these openings will result from the need to replace nurses transferring to different occupations or exiting the labor force.

Regarding LPN pay, an overview of the Medscape RN/LPN Compensation Reports from the previous five years shows the following annual salary trend for LPNs:

  • 2017: $46,000
  • 2018: $48,000
  • 2019: $50,000
  • 2020: $50,000
  • 2021: $50,000

According to the 2022 Medscape RN/LPN Compensation Report, the salary plateau seen over the past few years was largely due to the financial struggles caused by the pandemic. In the words of Joel Theisen, BSN, RN, and founder of Lifespark, “most organizations are losing money or are way down from pre-pandemic profits. The overall employee costs are not sustainable/viable, and where price adjustments cannot be made to pass along costs, I believe the compensation trends will continue to come down over time.” 

Although Katie Boston-Leary, RN, PhD, and director of the nursing programs for the American Nurses Association (ANA), recognizes that retention bonuses and annual performance bonuses have come down during the COVID-19 pandemic, she also points out that new nurses have been offered signing bonuses of $20,000-$30,000 over the same period. That said, she doesn’t think these signing bonuses are sustainable.

In conclusion, there is reason to believe that the average LPN salary will not increase in 2023. However, there are steps you can take to maximize your earning potential.

Do LPNs Make Good Money? 

Of course, whether or not LPNs make good money is relative. Based on the most recent data from BLS, the median hourly wage of full-time and salary workers in the US is $26.75, whereas the median hourly wage of LPNs is $23.11. That said, LPNs make significantly more per hour than certified nursing assistants (CNAs), whose median hourly wage is $14.57.

Therefore, perhaps the better question would be, “How can LPNs make more money?” Based on the information already presented in this ultimate guide, LPNs can increase their salary in the following ways:

  • Move to one of the highest-paying locations for LPNs, such as cities in California.
  • Find work in one of the highest-paying industries for LPNs, such as personal care services or office administrative services.
  • Join a nurses’ union.
  • Supplement your income by working extra shifts, acting as a preceptor, taking on charge nurse responsibilities, etc.

Additionally, per diem work is an excellent way to increase your hourly pay as an LPN. Nurses may pick up extra per diem nursing shifts to supplement their income, or they may decide to work per diem full-time to take advantage of the higher hourly rates. See how much you could earn as a per diem LPN here!

Furthermore, if you are willing to continue your education, transitioning from LPN to registered nurse (RN) would be a great way to considerably increase your nursing income. Learn more about RN salary here.

Final Thoughts on LPN Salary

This ultimate guide gave you all the information relevant to LPN salary necessary to know how to earn the highest-possible salary in your profession. Now it’s up to you to decide which steps you would like to take to maximize your earning potential!

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