Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse Careers

lpn-lvn-500A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is called a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) in California and Texas, but both are regarded as the same occupation. LPNs are entry level nurses who use basic nursing skills to provide patient care and who work under the supervision of a registered nurse.

As the complexity of medical care increases, the responsibilities of registered nurses have greatly increased, and this in turn has expanded the duties and responsibilities of LPNs. The nursing shortage also places the LPNs in new roles with added responsibilities.

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse Career Snapshots

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2014 that 38 percent of LPNs worked in nursing and residential care facilities, 17 percent in hospitals, 13 percent in physicians’ offices, 11 percent in home healthcare services and seven percent in government. Other work settings are medical care centers, urgent care clinics, rehabilitation centers and schools.

Further details on a career as a licensed practical and licensed vocational nurse are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average pay for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Post-Secondary certificate while 35% have some college, but no degree.

LP/LV Nurse Education

To become a practical nurse, a student must complete a diploma, certificate or associate degree program in practical nursing. The diploma or certificate can be completed within a year, while the degree program usually takes two years. The graduate must then pass the NCLEX-PN test to become licensed.

Many employers are now requiring a BSN for entry level nurses, and LPNs who are hired may be required to complete a BSN within a period of time. The credits of an associate degree can be transferred toward a BSN, and this is the preferred route for those aspiring toward becoming a registered nurse.

LP/LV Nurse Job Outlook

According to BLS, the job outlook for LPNs between 2014 and 2024 is 17 percent, or much higher than average. As baby boomers retire and the elderly population increases, the need for LPNs in after care, residential care and home care is expected to grow.

LP/LV Nurse Salaries

LPNs and LVNs earned a median annual salary in May 2015 of $43,170 as reported by the The top 10 percent earned more than $59,510, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,040.

Median annual salaries earned in the different industries were as follows: government, $44,550; nursing and residential care facilities, $44,330; home healthcare services, $44,060; hospitals: state, local and private, $42,010; and physicians’ offices, $39,010.

LP/LV Nurse Job Duties

LPNs provide basic nursing care and see to the comfort of the patient. They may administer medicine and injections, monitor the patient’s vital statistics, keep records and medical histories, and report the status of the patient to doctors and nurses. Experienced LPNs in long term care centers often take leadership positions and may become administrators.

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse Skills & Traits

LP/LV Nurse Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by LP/LV Nurses:Typical Work Activities:
• Service Orientation
• Active Listening
• Coordination
• Monitoring
• Reading Comprehension
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Speech Clarity
• Written Comprehension
• Hypodermic needle
• Bag infusion systems
• Nebulizer
• Patient stabilization devices
• Spirometers
• Caring for others
• Recording information
• Communicating with others
• Maintaining relationships
• Getting information

Related Careers

Nursing Assistants

High School Diploma or Equivalent

What Do Related Careers Pay?