Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

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Vocational Nursing

Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), care for the sick, injured, convalescent and disabled under the direction of the physicians and registered nurses.  Most LVNs provide basic bedside care.  They take vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration; prepare and give injections and enemas; apply dressings; and monitor catheters.  LVNs observe patients and report adverse reactions to medications or treatments.  They collect samples for testing, perform routine laboratory tests, feed patients and record food and fluid intake and output.  They help patients with bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene, keep them comfortable and care for their emotional needs. In states where the law allows, they may administer prescribed medicines or start intravenous fluids.

Employment Characteristics

According to the United States Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics,  employment of LVNs is expected to grow by 21 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. This increase is in response to the long-term care needs of an increasing elderly population and the general increase in demand for healthcare services.

Growth Rate

In order to contain healthcare costs, many procedures once performed only in hospitals are being performed in physicians' offices and in outpatient care centers, largely because of advances in technology. As a result, the number of LVNs should increase faster in these facilities than in hospitals. Nevertheless, hospitals will continue to demand the services of LVNs and will remain one of the largest employers of these workers.

Earnings Potential

Median annual wages of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses were $39,030 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $33,360 and $46,710. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,260, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $53,580. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses in May 2008 were:

Employment services $44,690
Nursing care facilities 40,580
Home health care services 39,510
General medical and surgical hospitals 38,080
Offices of physicians 35,020


For the Latest in Wage Information:

THE ABOVE WAGE DATA ARE FROM THE OCCUPATIONAL EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS (OES) SURVEY PROGRAM, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. FOR THE LATEST NATIONAL, STATE, AND LOCAL EARNINGS DATA, VISIT THE FOLLOWING PAGES:

  • LICENSED PRACTICAL AND LICENSED VOCATIONAL NURSES

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