Licensed Practical Nurse Salary

A licensed practical nurse will provide basic nursing assistance, either in a nursing home, a hospital, a residential facility, or a private home. It’s a demanding profession, with specific educational and certification requirements. It can also involve long hours and hard work, at the side of ill or injured patients. Is the licensed practical nurse salary enough to compensate for all these demands?

Overview of a Licensed Practical Nurse Salary

The median salary data from May 2012* for this profession states that, per year, these professionals earn $41,540. That’s slightly more than health technologists and technicians, whose median yearly wage, according to the same source, stands at $40,380. All in all, it’s safe to say that the median yearly licensed practical nurse salary exceeds the median wage for all occupations throughout the U.S. (which stands at $34,750). The top ten percentile of earners in the aforementioned professionals make over $57,360 according to BLS data from that month. Meanwhile, the bottom ten percent earn wages lower than $30,970. These salaries are mostly for full time jobs as licensed practical nurses. However, the BLS reports that about 20 percent of them work part time. It’s also worth bearing in mind that numerous such nurses have to work at night, during the weekend, as well as over the holidays. It is also not uncommon for them to work shifts that are longer than 8 hours.

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Earning Factors of a Licensed Practical Nurse Salary

The median hourly pay for Licensed Professional Nurses stood at $19.97 per hour. The job involves no training on the job. There are some 738,400 licensed practical and vocational nurses working in the U.S.. Most of them (about 29 percent) work in nursing care facilities, also known as facilities that require skilled nursing assistance – i.e. nursing homes and facilities for extended care. One in two licensed practical and vocational nurses worked in hospitals of all types: local, private, and state run facilities. Then came the percentage of such nurses that work in physician’s offices: 12 percent in 2012. Finally, 11 percent of licensed practical and vocational nurses work in the home health care industry (which usually means they provide health care in private residences). The remaining 8 percent work in residential care facilities. Their earnings depended on the industry and type of facility they were employed in.

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Job Description and Outlook of a Licensed Practical Nurse

A licensed practical nurse spends most of his or her working hours up and about. Employers typically require that they wear scrubs and will sometimes have to perform taxing tasks either physically or emotionally. Among the physically exhausting tasks they can be assigned, you can count helping patients in and out of bed by lifting them, as well as helping those with locomotive difficulties move. Sometimes, a licensed practical nurse must work with patients who are gravely ill or have sustained dramatic injuries. This is a profession that requires a true calling for the welfare of others.

Typically, a licensed professional nurse must work under the direct supervision of a medical doctor or a registered nurse. A regular workday can involve health monitoring tests, such as checking blood pressure stats on patients and administering basic treatment methods like catheter insertion or bandage changes. They typically help them take baths or get dressed and are also required to discuss the patients’ care and health status with them. This status is also recorded by licensed practical nurses on medical records, and also reported back to the registered nurses and doctors.

Since the health care field will see an increase in demand between 2012 and 2022, it only makes sense that the field of licensed practical nurses has a positive, quick projected job growth outlook for that same span of time. The field is expected to grow by 25 percent. That figure sits at a rate far faster than the average for all the occupations (which stands at 11 percent). The field will likely add about 182,900 new jobs by 2022*.

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Educational Requirements of a Licensed Practical Nurse

In order to become a licensed practical nurse, you needn’t have any previous work experience in a related position. However, you do need to graduate from a state-approved educational program, which usually lasts for about one year. Some programs can last longer and most are offered by community colleges and technical schools. Sometimes, they are also available via hospitals or high schools. These programs require both class coursework in nursing, pharmacology, and other related subjects, as well as hands-on clinical experience under the supervision of a registered nurse.

It’s important to make sure that the program you opt for is approved by the state. After graduation, you will need to obtain a license, by passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN)*. You can also obtain a certificate through a professional organization, in gerontology or IV therapy, for instance. These certificates indicate that the nurse in question has advanced specialized skills in that particular field.

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

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