Licensed practical nurses hold about 726,000 jobs. About 27 percent of LPNs work in hospitals, 25 percent in nursing care facilities, and another 12 percent in offices of physicians. Others work for home health care services; employment services; community care facilities for the elderly; public and private educational services; outpatient care centers; and Federal, State, and local government agencies. About 1 in 5 work part time.

Working Conditions

Most licensed practical nurses in hospitals and nursing care facilities work a 40-hour week, but because patients need round-the-clock care, some work nights, weekends, and holidays. They often stand for long periods and help patients move in bed, stand, or walk.

LPNs may face hazards from caustic chemicals, radiation, and infectious diseases such as hepatitis. They are subject to back injuries when moving patients and shock from electrical equipment. They often must deal with the stress of heavy workloads. In addition, the patients they care for may be confused, irrational, agitated, or uncooperative.


Median annual earnings of licensed practical nurses are $33,970. The middle 50 percent earn between $28,830 and $40,670. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $24,480, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $46,270. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of licensed practical nurses are:

  • Employment services $41,550
  • Nursing care facilities 35,460
  • Home health care services 35,180
  • General medical and surgical hospitals 32,570
  • Offices of physicians 30,400

Information on Registered Nurses in America:

Information on Licensed Vocational and Practical Nurses in America: