Maximizing Your LVN Salary

If you are a vocational nurse, or thinking of becoming one, you will be happy to know that there is a great demand for nurses and there are many ways to increase your LVN salary – even into six figures. In 2011, it was estimated that the average LVN salary was close to $50,000 per year (per Not a bad wage for this economy and the best part is that new positions for LVNs are projected to grow well ahead of the national average in the coming years.

Ways to Increase Your LVN Salary

Additional Education

Like any profession, additional education usually equals more income. After being certified as an LVN you may want to get your associates degree and become a Registered Nurse through an LVN to RN bridge program. You can also choose to get your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). This could also allow you to get a better job and salary.

Getting your BSN usually takes about four years. If you already have your associate’s degree in nursing and your RN license, it will only take one to two more years of education. This additional education can easily be completed online around an established work schedule.

By getting your masters, you will have the opportunity to specialize in a specific area of nursing that interests you. You may want to become a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife.

In May 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 90% of Registered Nurses who specialized in various medical fields earned $96,630 a year. This number alone proves additional education can definitely be worth the extra effort.

Geographic Location

If an LVN wants to increase their salary and prefers to not continue their education, they can simply move to another state or area within their state. By relocating to areas closer to large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, California, Rochester, Minnesota and Johnstown, Pennsylvania an LVN has the opportunity to increase their salary. LVNs in these areas may earn anywhere from 5%-20% more than LVNs in other areas.

Before relocating make sure you take into account the other variables involved in the prospective job opportunity. For example, in many metropolitan areas living expenses are higher, so an increase in salary would go toward living expenses. In addition, many job opportunities in metropolitan areas are very competitive due to the high salary ranges.


If you are open to additional education, a sure way to increase your LVN salary is to do both, specialize and be open to working in new location. For example, in San Jose, California, an RN who has a master’s or bachelor’s degree can earn up to $104,400 a year ( Some other areas which pay registered nurses well are Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maryland and New York.

Growing Your LVN Salary Over Time

So, it is clear to see the nursing profession has room to grow. Graduation from one of the accredited LVN programs does not necessarily mean a guaranteed job or salary increase, but it certainly does stack the odds in your favor. If you are looking for a profession which grows with you, you can be sure there are many ways to increase an LVN salary throughout their professional life.