Rising Demand (and Pay!) for LPNs
In about 18 months to two years, you can get education that qualifies you to take the licensing exam for LPN and practice at that level in your state. What does an LPN do? What is their salary range? Where do they practice? It’s important to know about all levels of nursing when you are deciding how to enter the field. The LPN is a widely valued and use licensed. Here are some basics:
As an LPN, you can provide care to the ill and elderly. A very traditional place for LPN’s to practice is the long-term care setting. But, also, LPNs are found in acute facilities. When you have completed your education and passed the licensing exam, you will have the experience to practice basic nursing skills (but, “basic” is, actually, quite wide ranging). Even IV care is entrusted to the LPN level of nursing. The work of the LPN is not easy. It is patient based and hard work. But getting to know and care for a variety of patients is rewarding. This is a level of nursing for those who want to be on the front lines of the field; those who want day to day contact with patients and their families.
What can you expect as pay? Advance for Nurses has an article available on-line called the 2008 National LPN Salary Survey. It has great information in it about salaries for LPN, practice sites and changes in practice in the last few years. More than 2500 nurses responded to their survey.
Here are some highlights from their findings:
1. The average pay for an LPN in the U.S. in 2008 was $41,600 per year.
2. This is an increase from 2006 when the salary average was $38,184.
3. Alaska has the highest pay (based on four respondents). The pay there is $29 per hour.
4. Connecticut is pretty high also, $25.58 per hour.
5. Idaho came in lowest, at a pay of $14.67 per hour.
Some people get sign–on bonuses, but fewer than several years ago. However, the good news was that if you did get a sign-on bonus, it was pretty good, at $1500.
The change for LPNs seems to be where they are practicing. They seem to be expanding their range from long term facilitates and acute care settings to many different settings both profit and non-profit. These include office settings, community clinics, home health agencies (where pay may be better), hospice care organizations, assisted living agencies, schools, specialty hospitals, and correctional facilities. Also, insurance agencies and government run facilities are hiring LPNs.
I wonder if the state of the economy makes LPN more hire-able. Organizations that traditionally would use RNs, may be finding that LPNs offer the same level of care and quality at a more reasonable cost.
Many LPNs are also getting higher credentials. Some are going back to a school for Bachelor’s degrees and Master’s degrees, but other credentialing that is possible and helpful for the LPN includes:
l. Advanced Cardiac Life Support
2. Specialty certification in IV care
3. Certification in wound care
4. Certification in long-term care, hospice care, or palliative care.
LPNs who are credentialed in these areas tend to make a little more money a year, an average of $2100 more.
When you are deciding the path to follow in nursing, or if you are currently an LPN in the nursing field, take a look at the entirety of this article in Advance for Nursing, to judge where you are, and where you may be able to go. It is quite interesting to see the changes, even since 2006.