LVN Salary Guide

LVN Salary

Whether they are called Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), hospitals rely heavily on their skills and experience. Between administering medications, supervising nursing assistants or supporting the nurses above them, good LVNs ensure smooth operations all around.

Currently, the average salary for LPN sits at $48,070 a year and the profession has a 6% employment rate between 2021 and 2031. Though more modest compared to works like registered nurses, this is still a respectable outlook. In reality, your income will be determined by a host of different factors and sits at a wide salary range. How much do LVNs actually make, then? If you are an HCP looking to maximize their value, this guide has you covered.


Thanks to varying population densities and demand, the salary for LVN greatly depends on which state or city you live in. LVN salary in Dallas, Texas is not the same as the average rate in Wyoming, and Michigan.

Currently, the highest-paying LVN states are as follows:

  • California: $65,140
  • Alaska: $63,650
  • Washington: $63,250
  • Massachuestts: $61,820
  • Nevada: $60,490

The annual salary in a vacuum only paints part of the picture. CNAs also have to consider employment level, which can determine the difficulty of finding jobs in the first place.

  • California: 72,180
  • Texas: 64,680
  • New York: 40,470
  • Florida: 37,740
  • Pennsylvania: 36,810



 LVN salary vs RN is not much of a competition, with RNs earning $77,600 on average. This is largely due to the disparity in training and education.

RN programs are 4-year long and cover both theoretical and practical nursing knowledge, in-depth. By contrast, LVN programs only take one year to complete and do not go nearly as detailed.

Although the gap cannot be fully closed, LVNs can increase their earning potential with additional certifications like IV Therapy, Long Term Care, Basic Life Support and more.  Provided they are relevant to the facility or department you are applying for, they will look incredibly good on any resume.

You can find these certifications in many community colleges and healthcare facilities.

Cost of living

California stands out as the state with the highest median salary AND employment rate. You might be wondering “is there a question at all,” for nurses looking to relocate?

You also have to take into consideration the high-income taxes and the expensive cost of living in general. All these expenses drag down your effective buying power, in the end.

Whether you are moving to California or Colorado, a state’s cost of living plays a significant role in determining how much money you actually see. This nifty cost-of-living calculator can help first-time LVN movers, and there is no shortage of insightful resources.


 Though LVNs can find work anywhere, certain facilities and industries will pay better than others. Of particular note, government facilities ($52,210/yr) and residential care facilities ($49,620/yr) require quality LVN services and will pay the best as a result.

Home healthcare and hospitals do not pay as well, but at $48,350/yr and $47,000, respectively, they still pay a reasonable amount. The former in particular has risen in prominence, with more people staying at home due to the pandemic.

Physician offices are the least lucrative of the highest-paying industries at $46,870. These roles are still well worth considering, especially if you want to become a physician in the future.


Facilities will always take proven HCPs over rookie ones. As a result, experienced nurses typically have a higher average LVN salary. According to Payscale, year 1 nurses earn around $22.57 per hour while nurses with 20+ years of experience make $25.66/hr.