Nursing Salaries: How Much Does a Vocational Nurse Make?

Many LVNs earn more than the average U.S. worker. Learn more about this career and how professionals may increase their salary potential.

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by Thomas Broderick

Published September 21, 2022

Reviewed by Shrilekha Deshaies, MSN, CCRN, RN

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Nursing Salaries: How Much Does a Vocational Nurse Make?
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Licensed vocation nurses provide basic patient care, communicate with families, and maintain patient paperwork. Learners can prepare for this nursing career by graduating from a state-approved LVN program. Students can make the most of their time in school by excelling in class and using their school's career counselors for resume writing and interview preparation help.

These and other resources help graduates land a job as soon as possible. Other advantages of using these services include planning for potential economic downturns affecting the healthcare field. Vocational nurses can increase their employability and salary potential by returning to school to become registered nurses (RNs).

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

What Is the Average Vocational Nurse Salary?

The median nursing salary for LVNs was $48,070 as of May 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This number falls well below the median salary for nurses with master's degrees by nearly $80,000. A smaller salary gap exists between LVNs and RNs with bachelor's degrees.

Students and recent graduates may increase their salary potential by practicing negotiation skills, researching their employer, and completing mock interviews.

How Much Do Vocational Nurses Make in Your State?

Your nursing salary depends on more than just your years of experience and employer. The different cost of living (COL) in each state means that LVNs in coastal states might make more than their peers.

Before moving to a different state to earn more, please consider the best and worst states to change careers. As of 2021, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Utah feature an affordable COL, a high median income, and an impressive job-growth rank.

Median Salary for Vocational Nurses by State (2021)
State Median Salary

Alabama

$40,120

Alaska

$61,680

Arizona

$59,490

Arkansas

$45,180

California

$61,600

Colorado

$58,810

Connecticut

$60,120

Delaware

$55,290

District of Columbia

$59,810

Florida

$47,000

Georgia

$46,910

Guam

$37,670

Hawaii

$51,790

Idaho

$47,450

Illinois

$52,700

Indiana

$48,070

Iowa

$47,000

Kansas

$46,660

Kentucky

$46,950

Louisiana

$46,160

Maine

$47,900

Maryland

$58,760

Massachusetts

$60,190

Michigan

$56,310

Minnesota

$47,970

Mississippi

$38,610

Missouri

$46,520

Montana

$47,000

Nebraska

$47,140

Nevada

$59,850

New Hampshire

$59,380

New Jersey

$60,070

New Mexico

$57,490

New York

$50,410

North Carolina

$47,340

North Dakota

$47,320

Ohio

$47,270

Oklahoma

$46,480

Oregon

$60,240

Pennsylvania

$48,220

Puerto Rico

$22,320

Rhode Island

$60,240

South Carolina

$46,820

South Dakota

$38,480

Tennessee

$45,970

Texas

$48,520

Utah

$47,440

Vermont

$58,810

Virginia

$47,210

Washington

$61,160

West Virginia

$37,790

Wisconsin

$47,750

Wyoming

$48,030

Data from the BLS

The Highest-Paying States for Vocational Nurses (by Median Salary, 2021)

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Washington

Data sourced from the BLS

Job Growth for Vocational Nurses

The BLS projects that jobs for vocational nurses will grow by 8% between 2020-2030, which is at the same rate as the median projected growth for all U.S. professions. Strong growth can help recent graduates find a job quicker.

A poorer-than-expected job market prompts recent graduates and experienced professionals to explore new careers. Top jobs for a career change in 2022 exist in the business and information technology fields. Individuals wanting to stay in the healthcare field can return to school to become an RN or dental hygienist.

Does More Education Leads to a Higher Vocational Nurse Salary?

BSN Salary

The BLS reports that registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $77,600 in May 2021. However, nurses with a bachelor's make more than their peers with only an associate degree. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing's research shows that only 56% of RNs held a bachelor's as of 2019.

RNs with an associate or bachelor's degree can approach job hunting in the same way. They can use online resources to research and apply to top positions in their area.

Certified Dialysis Nurse

Salary: $77,260

Certified dialysis nurses specialize in performing dialysis on patients with kidney disease. These professionals need at least and bachelor's degree and some professional experience. Typical responsibilities include monitoring vital signs, administering medication, and setting up equipment.

Legal Nurse Consultant

Salary: $80,720

Legal nurse consultants work for an insurance company. They hold many years of experience. Top applicants feature a background in paralegal studies.

Legal nurse consultants' job duties include collaborating with litigation teams. Consultants' expertise helps these professionals make decisions regarding insurance payouts.

Clinical Research Nurse

Salary: $72,840

Clinical research nurses help physicians and other medical professionals run clinical trials. Responsibilities include maintaining paperwork and educating patients throughout the process.

RNs with a bachelor's enter this career by gaining many years of relevant experience. Some professionals with a master's degree start this job sooner than their peers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vocational Nurse Salary

Where do LVNs get paid the most? true

LVNs earn the most in Washington, California, and Alaska. Professionals in these states make a median salary ranging from $61,160-$61,680. This range exceeds the national
median salary by approximately $15,500.

Other states with a high vocational nurse salary include Massachusetts and Nevada. However, please note that states with the most lucrative positions feature a higher-than-average cost of living. LVNs there pay more for housing and other essentials.

Employer affects LVN salary significantly. Licensed vocational nurses working for a government agency or nursing facility make more than their peers employed by a private hospital or home healthcare services company.

Are LVNs in high demand? true

The BLS projects the need for licensed vocational nurses to grow by 9% between 2020-2030. This rate matches the median projected growth rate for all U.S. professions. Actual 9% growth translates to many open positions for recent graduates.

Many factors impact the BLS' projections. The BLS projects that as the U.S. population ages, more people will need help with chronic conditions that include obesity and diabetes. Vocational nurses treat these individuals in hospitals and outpatient care centers.

Please note that demand varies by state. Louisiana, West Virginia, and Arkansas feature the highest concentration of LVNs. Unfortunately, the median salary for workers in these states falls below the U.S. median salary.

How long is an LVN program? true

The BLS projects the need for licensed vocational nurses to grow by 9% between 2020-2030. This rate matches the median projected growth rate for all U.S. professions. Actual 9% growth translates to many open positions for recent graduates.

Many factors impact the BLS' projections. The BLS projects that as the U.S. population ages, more people will need help with chronic conditions that include obesity and diabetes. Vocational nurses treat these individuals in hospitals and outpatient care centers.

Please note that demand varies by state. Louisiana, West Virginia, and Arkansas feature the highest concentration of LVNs. Unfortunately, the median salary for workers in these states falls below the U.S. median salary.

How much does LVN school cost? true

Private LVN programs may charge more than $10,000 in tuition, fees, and related expenses. Learners on a budget should explore public community and junior colleges. Some public schools' total costs of attendance do not exceed $6,000.

Prospective students lower their tuition burden in more ways than attending a public school. The federal government gives learners with financial need grants and low-interest loans. Students may qualify for federal aid programs by submitting FAFSA results annually.

Other options include applying to schools with institutional aid. Some schools offer scholarships and grants to undocumented learners, as well.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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