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LPN Salary by State: How Much Do LPNs Make?

LPN Salary by State: How Much Do LPNs Make?

If you are interested in a nursing career, there are many ways you can fulfill your calling. Enrolling in a PN Diploma Program and becoming a licensed practical nurse is one way of joining the nursing field that also allows you to test out the waters and decide if nursing is a good fit.

The process of becoming an LPN is comparably faster than other professional paths, taking learners only one year to complete the program and attend the licensing examination. Additionally, given the substantial need for healthcare professionals, you are likely to easily find a job once you start practicing. Being an LPN serves as an excellent springboard for a future career in nursing, allowing you to perform a broad array of tasks, try different paths, and further your education by earning an ADN or BSN program faster to become a registered nurse.

Naturally, due to the differences in education level, training, and duties, registered nurses are, professionally, one step above LPNs, with nurse salaries showing it. Yet, licensed practical nurses are just as critical to the healthcare industry, and their wages are still above the median pay of all occupants in a healthcare environment. 

Whether you already work as an LPN or are just considering embarking on this journey, it's tremendously important to know what you can expect from a job. Find out everything you need to know, from what LPNs do to how much they earn and how you can advance your career and earning potential if you start as a licensed practical nurse. 

What are LPNs

What Are Licensed Practical Nurses?

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also known as licensed vocational nurses in Texas and California, are nurses tasked with providing primary care to patients under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians. As the title suggests, the LPN role and job description are mostly practical.

Their primary duties include monitoring a patient’s health by performing tasks such as checking blood pressure and other basic care tasks, such as changing bandages, inserting catheters, and even starting intravenous drips in some states. LPNs are also responsible for helping patients with everyday tasks, such as dressing, bathing, or eating. Generally, they must ensure patient safety and comfort while helping registered nurses provide more intricate care and aid to their patients. As a licensed practical nurse, you will also need to keep a clear line of communication between patients, nursing staff, and other caretakers.

In some medical organizations, LPNs can also supervise Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Their duties go beyond those of a CNA, as LPNs offer more extensive care. 

To become an LPN, you must complete an approved educational program that generally takes 12 to 18 months. This kind of program typically offers a certificate or diploma. LPNs must then pass the NCLEX-PN in order to be able to practice. There are more details to becoming an LPN, and you should familiarize yourself with the entire process. 

The requirements for becoming an LPN are significantly more lenient than for other forms of accreditation. That also translates to comparably lower pay and less workplace autonomy but can allow you to join the job market sooner and easier, with the educational program being more approachable. 

At Nightingale College, the PN Diploma Program is a hybrid option that combines online learning with on-ground supervised practical experience to prepare you for PN licensure in the easiest way. By choosing our program, you will be ready to sit for the NCLEX-PN and start practicing in as few as 12 months. It’s an excellent program specifically tailored to teach you to demonstrate quality, competent, and patient-centered nursing care.

Start your nursing career as an LPN with our PN Diploma Program!

LPN Salary Average

LPN Salary: How Much Do Licensed Practical Nurses Earn on Average?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses is $54,620 per year or $26.26 per hour. However, like other nursing positions, LPN salary ranges depend on various factors, from the state in which they practice to years of experience or the institution in which they work.

Licensed practical nurses make $8,310 more per year than all healthcare occupants and $6,060 more than health technologists and technicians. However, LPNs are still some of the lowest earners in the fields of nursing and healthcare. So, being an LPN is a great entry position in the field of nursing that allows you to accumulate guided experience as well as receive a decent salary. However, you will eventually need to advance to the RN position, preferably through a bridge LPN-to-ASN path or by enrolling in a BSN program, to receive a better salary. States with the Highest LPN Average Salaries

States with the Highest LPN Average Salaries

According to the BLS, the highest LPN salary by state is found in Washington, where LPNs take home around $69,950 yearly. California is a close second, with an annual salary of $69,930, and Massachusetts comes in third, with $68,170 per year. But at the same time, it's worth mentioning that the level of employment in these top-paying states also differs significantly. In Washington, there were 6,430 licensed practical nurses in 2022, with an employment rise of 3.7% through the decade (higher than the 3% average). Comparatively, California had 73,740 nurses, with an employment rise of 2.4% (lower than the average), while Massachusetts had 15,630 LPNs, with an employment rise of 4.5% through the decade. 

States with the Lowest LPN Average Salaries

In contrast, among the states where LPNs earn the least amount of money are Mississippi, where LPNs earn $45,020 per year; Alabama, with an annual salary of $45,260; and West Virginia, with a  $45,530 yearly salary for licensed practical nurses. 

LPN Average Salaries by State

Licensed Practical Nurse Salary by State

Whether you are considering becoming an LPN as your first step toward a nursing career or are already practicing and want to compare your earning potential in different parts of the US and evaluate your highest earning potential, we have the answers for you.

Here is the updated list of all the 50 states and how much licensed practical nurses make per year and per how in each, as reported by the BLS:


Average LPN Hourly Wage

Average LPN Annual Salary

























District of Columbia































































New Hampshire



New Jersey



New Mexico



New York



North Carolina



North Dakota















Rhode Island



South Carolina



South Dakota





















West Virginia









If you want to see how LPN pay grades compare to those of other nursing professions, you should consult our comprehensive nurse salary by state study, which includes multiple types of nurses and accreditations.

More About LPN Average Salaries by Location: Where are LPNs Paid the Best?

While the best-paying state is Washington, the BLS reports that the top-paying metropolitan area for LPNS is San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, with an annual salary of $80,590 and an hourly wage of $38.75

The second top-paying metropolitan area in the US is San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California, with an LPN salary of $80,470 per year and $38.69 per hour. Overall, 7 out of 10 top-paying metropolitan areas in the US are in California.

Additionally, according to the latest data from ZipRecruiter, the best-paying city for LPNs is Soledad, California, with an annual salary of $91,386.

The first top-paying nonmetropolitan area in the US is Alaska, with an annual salary of $70,780 and hourly wage of $34.03, which are marginally higher than the national average. The Eastern Sierra-Mother Lode and North Coast Regions of California are next, with LPN salaries of $66.430 per year ($31.94 per hour) and $66,380 per year ($31.91 per hour), respectively.

Where Can LPNs Find Work?

Where Are LPNs Most Likely to Be Hired?

Licensed practical nurses can find employment in a variety of settings; however, the most popular place where LPNs can find jobs is nursing homes, with 229,250 or 35% of all licensed practical nurses working in these facilities. The average yearly salary for nursing and residential care facilities is $58,140, the highest based on the type of workplace

The next most popular places of employment are state, local, or private hospitals, with 15% of LPNs working in these settings. The average salary per year for LPNs working in hospitals is $49,760, the second lowest bracket. 13% of LPNs provide home healthcare services, receiving a median salary of $54,080 per year, while 12% work in physicians’ offices, earning $48,300 per year, the latter being the lowest average payment per workplace setting

Lastly, government jobs account for another 6% of LPNs, providing an average annual salary of $57,200, the second highest.

Job Outlook for Licensed Practical Nurses

Projections from the BLS see a rise in employment in all healthcare-related occupations, with the number of licensed practical nurses growing faster than the average.  

Employment of LPNs is expected to increase by 5% through 2032, a higher rate than for all occupants (3%). The increase translates into 34,900 new jobs for LPNs, with their numbers reaching.  

As for more specific job prospects, licensed practical nurses who have additional certifications in particular areas of expertise will enjoy higher demand, such as geriatrics or gerontology, with 31.3% of LPNs reporting their primary practice specialty as one of these or intravenous (IV) therapy, one practice that LPNs cannot complete without oversight or at all, depending on the state.

One reason why LPNs can expect such a rise in employment is because of the aging population. As baby boomers age, the need for healthcare services becomes more pressing, and the healthcare industry is not saturated with enough professionals to handle it. Hence, growing numbers of LPNs who can work in geriatric nursing will be needed, especially in residential care facilities and home environments. 

If you are at the beginning of your nursing career, it might prove helpful to see a comparison among different nursing specialties and how much each of them pays. 

RN vs. LPN Salary Comparison

LPN vs. RN Salary Comparison

Registered nurses (RNs) are a prevalent and widespread nursing position, with around 3,172,500 currently active staff occupying this role. To become an RN, you will need at least an Associate Degree in Nursing, which takes longer than a PN diploma program but prepares you for a more autonomous role in your work setting.

There are also considerable differences in payment between an RN and an LPN. An RN makes, on average, $26,600 more per year than LPNs. The BLS reported that RNs earned a median salary of $81,220 per year, significantly higher than the mean LPN salary of $54,620.

Read more about how the two positions compare from our LPN vs. RN extended comparison

CNA vs. LPN Salary Comparison

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) represent another entry-level role that requires a minimum of preparation (only between 6 and 12 weeks) that allows you to enter the nursing field in a practical and supervised position. However, their salaries are generally lower than those of licensed practical nurses.

According to the BLS, Certified Nursing Assistants earn around $17.18 per hour or $35,740 per year. Salary-wise, LPNs make significantly more than CNAs, and in some states, they may even oversee and guide the activities of certified nursing assistants.

Advance Your Career and Salary as an LPN

Next Steps for LPNs: Furthering Your Education to Increase Your Salary

For many aspiring nurses, working as an LPN is a stepping stone towards a more advanced nursing career, and advancing from LPN to RN is the first step in progressing their career and increasing their salary. There are two ways of earning your RN credentials: getting an ADN or earning a BSN degree.

What Are the Benefits of Earning an ADN or ASN?

If you already are a licensed practical nurse or are considering becoming one, ADN-level degrees have many advantages for your career as a next step. 

Here are the benefits of earning your ADN or ASN before a BSN degree:

  • More accessible, especially for practicing LPNs – Becoming a registered nurse with an ADN or equivalent is faster, cheaper, and more accessible for LPNs, especially with a 1-year LPN-to-ASN track, since getting a BSN degree requires full-time attendance from learners, being a more challenging choice for practicing LPNs.
  • You can start working sooner – Although both will instate you as a registered nurse, they are not the same. The most evident difference is that an ADN takes 2 years to complete when starting from zero, while a BSN takes between 3 and 4 years.
  • A more practical preparation – An ADN generally provides a more hands-on education, with the ASN being even more centered on practice. This direction can significantly capitalize on your previous experience as a licensed practical nurse.
  • You can postpone your advancement to the BSN level – Even if your final aim is to reach a BSN or higher level of education, getting your ADN lets you start working as an RN while still opening fast tracks to academic advancement. Once you earn your ADN, you can access a fully online RN-to-BSN track that fully instates you as a BSN registered nurse.

If you want to ensure the easiest process of advancement from licensed practical nursing to becoming a registered nurse, you can enroll in Nightingale College’s LPN-to-ASN Program. This hybrid fast track to RN licensure combines online instruction with on-ground supervised field experience to fully prepare you for the NCLEX-RN exam in as few as 16 months.

Make the first step in advancing your nursing career with the LPN-to-ASN Program!

What Are the Benefits of Pursuing a BSN Degree? 

While getting certified as a licensed practical nurse is an excellent way to get started with your nursing career and get a feel for the field, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is the way to go if you are interested in a career in nursing.

Here are the main benefits of pursuing a BSN degree:

  • A BSN is the next natural step forward – Whether you want to initially go for an ADN or not, you will eventually need to earn your BSN degree to progress in your nursing career. Having a Bachelor's has effects not only on your ensuing opportunities but also opens up new opportunities, as it is a prerequisite to getting a Master’s Degree in Nursing and becoming a nurse practitioner
  • The degree may become a requirement – Even if you aim to remain a registered nurse, many states require you to earn your Bachelor’s within 10 years of starting your practice. Of course, BSN requirements by state differ, but you will generally need it eventually. 
  • Aligns with employer preferences – The Institute of Medicine called for 80% of the nursing workforce to hold at least a Bachelor's degree. While this has not yet been achieved, there are clear steps taken in that direction. An annual survey conducted by the AACN found that 25.0% of hospitals and other healthcare settings require new applicants for a job to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, with 69.8% of employers expressing a strong preference for BSN graduates.
  • Garners better salary and career outcomes – Although earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing takes longer and is more difficult, the difference in education results in a higher BSN salary, as well as more available BSN jobs (and also some of the highest-paying nursing jobs).

One way of completing your formation and getting your Bachelor’s degree in the most comfortable way is by enrolling in Nightingale’s hybrid BSN Program that combines online learning with supervised on-ground field experience for maximum flexibility for learners. The concept-based curriculum fully prepares you for RN licensure in less than 3 years.

Choose to advance your career with our BSN Program! Send in your application today!

Advance Your Nursing Career with Nightingale

LPN Salary FAQs

What State Pays LPN the Highest?

According to the latest published figures from the BLS, the highest-paying state for licensed practical nurses is Washington, with an average LPN salary of $69,950 per year or $33.63 per hour. California is the second-best paying state, with LPNs receiving only $20 less per year, compared to Washington. 

What State Pays LPN the Lowest?

The lowest-paying state for licensed practical nurses is Mississippi, with an average annual salary of $45,020, amounting to an hourly wage of $21.64. Alabama is a close second, with only $240 more in earnings per year.

What Is the Most an LPN Can Make per Hour?

According to ZipRecruiter, the highest industry-wide hourly wage for LPNs is $43.75, which is earned by the top 3% of jobs. Additionally, the source reports that licensed practical nurses in Soledad, California, receive an hourly wage of $43.94, which is the highest hourly wage by city.

What LPN Job Pays the Best?

The latest figures from the Journal of Nursing Regulation indicate that the highest paying job for licensed practical nurses is in informatics, with a median annual salary of $63,500, followed by radiology, with a $59,500 median annual salary

Where Are Most LPNs Employed?

Most licensed practical nurses are employed in nursing and residential care facilities, with 35% or 229,250 LPNs working in these settings. State, local, and private hospitals form the second-highest employer types, with 15% of LPNs working in hospital settings. (BLS)

What Work Setting Pays the Best for LPNs?

Nursing and residential care facilities are also the best-paying type of work setting, with LPNs earning approximately $58,140 per year. Government jobs come in second, with $57,200 per year for employed licensed practical nurses. (BLS)

What States Need LPNs the Most?

District of Columbia (DC) reportedly has the highest projected rise in employment across the US, with an increase of 16.6% in LPN jobs, much higher than the 3% nationwide increase. The second highest employment rise is for Alabama, with a 13.2% increase in LPN jobs. (BLS)

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