What Is the Salary Range For LPN’s or Nurses (RNs)?

Healthcare in a growing industry. The demand for quality LPNs and RNs is at an all-time high and expected to increase over the next several years. It is a good industry to get into and pays well. Yet what is the salary range for LPN’s and RNs? Is there a base? What about overtime? Salaries for nurses vary from state to state. It also depends on where they are working (hospital, nursing home, or private practice). For anyone who has ever considered becoming a nurse, here is how the basic salary range breaks down.

Salary Range For LPN

Licensed Practicing Nurses work under the supervision of doctors and Registered Nurses. LPN’s get paid by the hour. The average hourly wage for an LPN is $18.25 an hour. This adds up to an average annual salary of around $38,000 a year. In some states, the highest salary for an LPN can reach $50,000 a year. The lowest hourly wage is around $13 while the highest peaks somewhere around $25.

What is more, if the LPN is hired to work at a hospital or nursing care facility, they can usually expect to earn an extra sign-on bonus. Sometimes this is paid in cash on the spot. Sign-on bonuses can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to two or three thousand dollars.

Salary Range for RN


Registered Nurses make more than LPN’s because they have had more training. RN’s often find themselves in supervisory roles to LPNs. RNs earn an average $31 an hour. The lowest average is around $20 an hour while the highest stops at around $42 an hour. This means that an RN can earn a gross annual salary of over $59,000, depending on what state they live in. Many colleges and universities offer both offline and online nursing degrees these days, allowing you to pursue a career as an RN.

Just like LPN’s Registered Nurses can earn more through a couple of different methods. The first is sign-on bonuses. Hospitals will pay quite a bit to sign on top RNs with a lot of experience.

Overtime is another way RNs can make extra money. Because of the nature fo the job, most nurses can rack up a good amount of hours as overtime, which is calculated as time and a half. This means that if an RN is making $30 an hour during regular time, they make $45 an hour with overtime.

RNs can get as much as 8 hours or more a week in overtime. Why? Because in a medical institute like a hospital, you cannot always just drop what you are doing because it is time to go home. You may be in the middle of administering to a patient or there may be paperwork to fill out and turn in before you leave. The institute might be short-handed and need someone to stay later to help out. All of that adds up to quite a bit of extra money.

Variations in Salary Depending on Type of Job

Depending on where LPNs and RNs work affects their salary. Public and private hospitals tend to pay more than anywhere else, especially if the RN specializes in something like ER or prenatal care. Some specialties can earn an RN double her normal salary.

Next to hospitals, RNs and LPNs can work in nursing care facilities, home health care, and private practices. The least paid in the industry is private practices such as a doctor’s office. The reason it is the least paid is generally because the hours are shorter, they may only work half a day on Fridays, and the office is closed on major holidays.

How They Earn It

Nurses make a decent income and they earn it. They care for the sick and injured, sometimes in the worst neighborhoods and with patients who are less than grateful. Nurses are responsible for taking and monitoring vital signs, giving injections, starting IV’s, taking samples such as blood, helping to make patients comfortable, and following doctor’s orders.

Nurses keep records and fill out a ton of paperwork, most of which has to be turned in before the shift is over. The gather patient history, ask questions, and get patients registered and ready for the doctor.

Unless they work in a private practice, nurses have long hours. Most hospitals have eight to twelve hour shifts, sometimes with a number of days ‘on’ and a number of days ‘off’. Despite the hours, with overtime, nurses end up working more than their shift. Sometimes back to back shifts are required. Nights and weekends are usually required as patients need care 24 hours a day. Hospitals do not close their doors at the end of the day.

Responsibility is a big factor with nursing jobs. But that is why the salaries reflect the time and effort that nurses put in.