Why do LPNs only make $40K per year?

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am considering a career change to nursing. I'm thinking of entering into the LPN program because once I'm accepted I only have to be out of work for one year, as opposed to two. After I get my LPN licensure I am going to bridge to RN.

    My question is why is it that no matter how many years of experience you have LPNs only make 40k a year? Why do LTC facilities pay so low? Can you do home care nursing as an LPN?



    Dear Why,

    It's an unfortunate reality that LPNs do not make high wages. This despite hard work and their expertise.

    LTC facilities pay what they do because of supply and demand- they can.

    LPNs can do home care within their scope of practice in their state, yes.

    When you get your RN, the ceiling on your pay increases greatly. You will not regret getting your RN.

    You may want to reconsider getting your LPN first and then getting your RN. It will take less time to directly get your RN. Therefore you will be making more money sooner.


    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Last edit by Brian S. on Sep 14
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  2. 33 Comments

  3. by   Skippingtowork
    I totally agree with Nurse Beth. Go straight for the RN. Save time. Sometimes it is difficult to get a job as an LPN and the experience you will receive does not always transfer to acute care. I see LPNs who work very hard, know their nursing and are sometimes indistinguishable from RNs, but do not come close to the income or respect they deserve. Do not take the long road to what you want.
  4. by   DocsWifey
    Unfortunately some RN's only make 40k as well. It all depends where and which state you're working in.
  5. by   lpnsrock01
    Hmmm I am an LPN and have worked jobs that paid me over 50,000 a year. I guess it will depend on where you live and what type of job you are doing. I have been an MDS Coordinator, Case Reviewer and am now in Case Management. You need to decide your career path and go where you want and how you want.
  6. by   Quickbeam
    I went to an accelerated nursing program and got my BSN in one (very hard) year. I was a career changer with a BS in another field and could not afford to be out of work for more than 1 year. This was 30 years ago....there are tons of accelerated programs out there now.

    If you already have a degree, consider this.
  7. by   Julie Carr
    As a LPN you are working under a Rn. These postions are to be signed off by a RN only. Are you aware of that
  8. by   Workitinurfava
    Some nurses only make 50,000 per year.
  9. by   3ringnursing
    The state you chose can mean a big difference in pay.
  10. by   3ringnursing
    Quote from Workitinurfava
    Some nurses only make 50,000 per year.

    Sad but true.

    When I was a new grad RN in 1994 the highest pay in Tucson, AZ was $12.75/hr. At (3) 12 hour shifts/WK that was around $24,000 for full time employment. Not good, especially when you stopped to consider cashiers at grocery stores made $12.00/hr with no college education or debt. I had to work fulltime plus over time to still not make ends meet. With a newborn baby and a husband committed to stay home to care for said infant for 2 years, we scraped by and accumulated even more debt.

    Thankfully pay has increased in the past 23 years, and new grad RN's make more now - many make than I do now with 23 years of experience.

    It will be less time spent in school figuring out a direct path to RN. Chose your state wisely - it could mean the difference of thousands of dollars extra earned per year.

    And good luck. We could sure use more nurses.
  11. by   walkingon
    How did you get into case management? Seems like around where I live you need to be a RN for MDS or case management. Would love to get a chance at that kind of job!
  12. by   montecarlo64
    I was an LPN for 17 years before getting my RN. My wages have remained flat to minimal increase from LPN to RN. I went from top tier LPN rate to lower tier RN rate. It depends on your state and what you want to do, how old you are, and how much debt you want to incur. To do over again, I would have not pursued the RN so late in life. I went to an LPN-RN ASN program; and, no one was interested in an ASN. I just completed my BSN; however, my pay has not increased. I would research the opportunities in your area, cost of education, and what you want to do in nursing. RN gives you more choices; but, not necessarily more money. I would also encourage you to be cautious of going into nursing if money is the primary motivation. Whether LPN or RN, the work is very hard; and, it is a profession that you must love or you will be miserable. Good luck to you!
  13. by   muffylpn
    I have been an LPN for 26 yrs in MA. I work 40 hrs a week ( 32 in a hospital and 8 in a NH). Last yr I made 69,000. Yes it includes the occ. OT with every other holiday. And no I don't work in Boston ( 90 min outside the city). And no I don't work every weekend.
  14. by   muffylpn
    If you work those types of jobs in long term in MA the DON is the person " who technically covers that"

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