LPN/LVN Salary – What to Expect

When considering the salary for an LPN or LVN, the two main factors that determine the exact number are location and experience level.

Salary Comparison Tool

This tool will allow you to easily search and compare the average salaries of nurses for many cities and locations across the U.S. You can search by city and state. Salary data is provided through the BLS.

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Differences in the cost of living in cities and states across the country mean that LPNs and LVNs may earn more or less, depending on where they live. For example, an urban or densely populated city/state, such as New York City, will generally offer higher salaries to their LPNs due to increased housing and transportation costs in the region. A rural LPN or LVN will earn less by comparison, but cost of living will also be decreased.

Some highly desirable areas, such as beachside communities in California or Florida, or tropical locales such as Hawaii, may actually pay lower salaries than the national average, even though cost of living is high, in a phenomenon called the “sunshine tax” or “paradise tax”. While not a literal tax, this salary peculiarity is generally found in areas that have temperate climates.

How Much Do LPNs or LVNs Make?

The average salaries of licensed practical nurses varies from state to state. States with the highest median salaries for LPNs/LVNs are:

The states with the lowest median salaries for LPNs/LVNs include:

If you complete your LPN program and licensure in one state but want to move to another state for higher pay or better job opportunities, you’ll have to become licensed in the new state unless the states are part of of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC).

How Much Does an LPN/LVN Make an Hour?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs made $32.91 per hour in 2016. California RNs led the way with a whopping $48.92 mean hourly wage, with the San Francisco Metro Area coming in with an hourly mean wage of $65.68.

Average LPN/LVN Salary Breakdown by State

Pay fluctuations may happen within states based on the type of medical facility an LPN/LVN works in. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports in their May 2016 data that LPN/LVNs who work in nursing and residential care facilities earn more, on average, than those who work in a physician’s office or hospital.

Many medical facilities also have salary budgets and designated pay raise schedules, meaning that an LPN/LVN may have to work in a particular facility for a set amount of time before they can move up the ranks in salary, and entry-level LPN/LVN positions may have a pre-determined budget for salary.

Practical Nursing Salary Table

LocationTotal EmploymentAnnual Salary
United States697,250$43,170
Alabama14,200$36,010
Alaska520$54,960
Arizona5,500$49,760
Arkansas11,650$36,170
California65,250$51,990
Colorado5,330$46,540
Connecticut8,630$55,740
Delaware1,820$49,440
District of Columbia1,610$52,140
Florida43,540$41,910
Georgia25,360$38,210
Hawaii1,180$46,390
Idaho2,560$39,500
Illinois20,300$45,870
Indiana16,890$40,660
Iowa6,750$39,140
Kansas7,090$39,370
Kentucky10,850$38,720
Louisiana21,750$37,340
Maine1,300$42,720
Maryland11,640$50,670
Massachusetts16,190$54,330
Michigan14,490$45,650
Minnesota17,730$42,670
Mississippi8,830$36,230
Missouri15,920$37,750
Montana2,510$39,420
Nebraska5,300$39,040
Nevada2,340$52,210
New Hampshire2,160$47,330
New Jersey15,310$54,290
New Mexico2,150$46,620
New York47,380$46,050
North Carolina16,330$42,160
North Dakota2,920$41,520
Ohio40,160$40,750
Oklahoma11,610$38,000
Oregon2,910$48,630
Pennsylvania37,470$44,020
Rhode Island1,030$55,730
South Carolina9,090$39,250
South Dakota1,850$36,080
Tennessee22,490$36,670
Texas69,220$44,200
Utah1,980$42,820
Vermont1,450$45,500
Virginia21,410$40,240
Washington7,490$48,840
West Virginia6,570$34,940
Wisconsin8,480$43,400
Wyoming770$44,380
Guam90$35,810
Puerto Rico4,850$20,910
Virgin Islands90$41,950

Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm)

LPN/LVN Salary By Experience

As it stands to reason, entry-level LPNs/LVNs will generally earn less than their more experienced counterparts. With time and a strong work ethic comes pay raises, promotions, and before you know it, you are at the top of the LPN/LVN salary range. According to Payscale, LPNs/LVNs can earn anywhere from $15.40 t0 25.12 per hour, with new grads earning toward the bottom of the range, and experienced LPN/LVNs earning toward the top. Aside from the higher wages, experienced LPN/LVNs may also earn more vacation time and hold seniority amongst the ranks…all important aspects of compensation.