There is a high degree of variability of LVN salary when compared by state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States employs 695,610 LVNs/LPNs. The mean average salary is $43,200, with a mean hourly wage of $20.87. This can be further calculated into percentiles, with the bottom 10% earning $31,640 per year and $15.21 per hour and the top 10% earning $58,710 per year and $28.22 per hour.
California and Texas are amongst the highest employment levels for LVNs, and they employ more LVNs by almost 20,000 jobs than any other state
- California employs 60,700 LVNs. The average LVN there makes $24.86 per hour and $51,700 per year.
- Texas employs 71,600 LVNs. The average LVN there makes $21.58 per hour and $44,880 per year.
- New York comes in third for employment level of LPNs, with 47,550 jobs and an average salary of $45,660.
- There are 11 states in the US that average $21,880 – $38,320 per year. These states have the smallest salary for LVNs/LPNs and they include South Dakota, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
Using LPNBSN.net's data updated weekly, you can find the LVN jobs listed by salary level. What we've noticed is Texas generally has more LVN job openings than California, but California has more higher paying LVN jobs when the threshold reaches over $70,000. Find you own jobs by using the table below and clicking on the LVN Salary level you wish to make.
LVN salary can be further broke down into salary by area of specialty. While LVNs can be employed in a variety of settings, from long-term care settings, hospitals, clinics, the best paying LVN jobs are away from the patient bedside.
- Nationwide, there are 50,000 LVNs/LPNs employed in junior colleges. These LVNs/LPNs make $51,050 per year and about $24.55 per hour.
- An LVN may work in an insurance related field, either in an agency or a brokerage. These nurses make $50,910 per year and $24.48 per hour.
- An LVN may also work for an actual insurance carrier. These nurses $50,390 per year and $24.23 per hour.
- An LVN working in employment services earns $46,220 per year and $22.23 per hour.
- An LVN employed as an office administrator earns $45,720 per year and $21.98 per hour.
An LVN working in a “typical” setting often earns less.
- An LVN employed in a physician's office typically makes $19.20 per hour and $39,930 per year.
- An LVN working in a hospital typically earns $21.39 per hour and $44,500 per year, whereas an LVN working in a psychiatric and substance abuse hospital earns $20.18 per hour and $41,970 per year.
According to Payscale, an LVN with more experience will make more money.
- An LVN with less than 1 year of experience will earn approximately $18.26 per hour.
- An LVN with 1 – 4 years of experience will earn approximately $19.51 per hour.
- An LVN with 5 – 9 years of experience will earn approximately $21.34 per hour.
- An LVN with 10 – 19 years of experience will earn approximately $21.90 per hour.
- An LVN with 20 years of experience or greater will earn approximately $22.00 per hour.
According to Mighty Nurse, the best way to increase pay as an LVN is to continue for an advanced degree. There are plenty of options to do so – LVN to ADN and LVN to BSN programs are abundant in every state. Whereas an LVN makes roughly $43,200 per year and $20.87 per hour, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average RN makes $69,110 per year and $33.23 per hour. This is almost an additional $25,000 per year.
However, not every LVN desires to go back to school. So, what other options are available for these LVNs in order to make an increased salary?
- Relocation. LVNs typically make the most where the nursing shortage is the highest. Pinpoint these areas. As the need for LVNs increases, so does the pay. However, there is a caveat; certain areas of the US have a higher cost of living. In these areas, LVNs will typically earn a higher salary. This does not necessarily mean more money in the pocket. Prior to relocating for more money, it is essential to research the cost of living and find out if the cost of relocating is worth the increase in pay.
- Experience. The longer the LVN works, the more in demand he or she is. The higher the demand typically equals a higher rate of pay. For the new LVN, it is obvious that we cannot click our fingers and add years of experience. However, fine tuning nursing skills and volunteering to cross train to different units can increase the experience dramatically, which could eventually increase the rate of pay.
- Leadership. Most hospitals have a variety of committees and mentoring programs available to nurses. An LVN that desires a higher rate of pay may consider investing time in their institution by joining committees and being a nurse mentor. This will show leadership and initiative, which could also increase the rate of pay.
- Job hopping. Employers typically like to see their staff in one position for a while – it shows dedication to their job. However, often hospitals will require their staff to stay in a position for a certain amount of time, but may transfer to other positions in the hospital after that set time. Trying out different areas of nursing will yield more experience and may also increase the rate of pay.
An LVNs salary may be inevitably fixed, depending on where they live and if they are willing to relocate. However, for the LVN who does not desire to return for an advanced degree, there are plenty of tactics that can yield an increased salary in a shorter amount of time. Have any of these tactics worked for you?