As a practical nurse, you will work under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician, performing a variety of duties. You will receive the training and skills necessary while enrolled in a diploma program at an accredited college or vocational school. The practical nursing diploma program will typically take between 10-12 months to complete, depending on the educational institution that you enroll in. Once you have successfully completed your practical nursing degree program, you will need to take a certification exam before you can begin practicing. Once you pass the exam, you could have the ability to work as a practical nurse and earn an annual salary of $41,000.1
The Average Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a practical nurse is $41,000. The top 10 percent of practical nurses earned an average of $57,000, while the lowest ten percent earned $31,000.
As a practical nurse, you have the option to work full-time or part-time, depending on your preferences. Some nurses work shifts that last longer than eight hours; this will depend on your employer.
The state that you work in could impact your salary as a practical nurse. It is true that some states pay higher salaries for nurses than others. For example, a practical nurse in Connecticut could earn $52,000 a year, in comparison to a practical nurse in Louisiana who earns an average of $37,000.
Some of the other highest paying states for a practical nurse include California, New Jersey, Mexico, and Rhode Island. Nurses in these states earn an average of $49,000 to $51,000.
Type of Employers
The employer that you work for could have a major impact on your salary. Most practical nurses that work in a nursing home will earn more money than those who work in other healthcare facilities. The average salary for an individual who works in a nursing home facility was $42,000. Practical nurses working in a physician’s office earned $36,000, which is $3,000 less than a practical nurse who works in a hospital.
Future for Practical Nurses
The future for practical nurses is bright; in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the job growth for a practical nurse to increase by 25 percent. This is at a much faster rate than other occupations.
If you have a specialization, you could earn a higher salary as a practical nurse. Some areas of specialization include hospice care, labor and delivery, and pediatrics. An emergency room practical nurse can earn a higher salary as well - $44,000 per year.
Source: US Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics