If you’re looking to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in the next decade, the numbers are golden and your future looks bright!
As a mainstay, LPNs work under the care of a registered nurse or doctor and provide basic medical care for patients. Their job description may include monitoring patients’ health, reporting status updates and concerns and keeping record of patients’ health.
LPN jobs are expected to grow faster than other jobs. How quickly? Well, they’re expected to grow 25 percent from 2012 to 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Why the skyrocketing opportunities, you ask? What are the bare-bone facts and numbers surrounding this career? Here’s the skinny on the LPN career outlook and what it means for you.
There’s a bit of range in the numbers surrounding an LPN position. The numbers change depending on your exact job location and duties, so keep that in mind as it becomes clearer which direction you want to head. In 2012, the median pay for an LPN was $41,540 per year. The lowest 10 percent of earners made less than $30,970, while the highest earned made more than $57,360.*
There are a lot of advantages to being an LPN, and one of the major ones is the job outlook for this position. In 2012, 738,400 licensed vocational and licensed practical nurses were employed. The projected employment for 2022 is a thriving 921,300, which means an employment change of 182,900 positions between 2012 and 2022. That’s a big number!
If the job duties of an LPN sound like they’d be right up your alley and you’re both detail-oriented and personable, that’s a good thing because throughout the next decade, the number say there will be a huge demand for people like you.
Why the sudden growth in available LPN jobs?
Three major trends means more demand for LPNs: aging baby boomers, technological advances and increased focused on preventative care. America is now a nation in need of nurses, so you may begin noticing many open LPN positions as you begin your job search.
1. Aging baby boomers
“Baby boomers” is a term given to Americans born between 1946 and 1964, and this generation is huge! It’s clear where the “baby boomers” generation got its name as there were roughly 76.4 million births during those 19 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As time goes on, baby boomers will age and need more medical care, and LPNs within this generation will retire.
2. Technological advances
Simply put, people are living longer. The baby boomers in particular will be living longer due to technological advances in medicine and equipment, and the world is taking note. MIT reserves an entire section of their print and digital publication, Technology Review, to discuss up and coming discoveries in technology that are changing medicine for the better, and the findings are numerous.
3. Increased focus on preventative care
With the passing of the Affordable Care Act, many hurdles were removed for those who may not have been able to originally afford medical care. The result is greater use of services such as shots and screenings, and thus, more opportunities for LPNs to find positions helping in these areas.
Where are the top locations for LPN job openings?
We used real-time business intelligence from BurningGlass.com to identify the top states for LPN job openings over the last 12 months.* By a long stretch, California holds the prize for most job openings available at 11,848. Texas follows with 9,741 openings and Florida comes in third at 8,202.
The legal ramifications for what nurses are allowed to do in these states varies greatly, and this may account for some of the disparity in numbers of openings. For example, LPN’s may be allowed to conduct certain duties, such as starting IV drips or providing medicine in certain states, but in others LPNs may be restricted from those specific duties, according to the BLS. In some states, such as Minnesota, nursing committees are looking to change the wording of legal ramifications and are rallying for updated language and definitions of both professional and practical nursing in the Minnesota Nurse Practice Act.
The stats don’t lie
There’s no reason to wait! With statistics like these, the LPN career outlook is bright and pursuing a nursing degree may be a fantastic option for you. As time goes on, more and more nursing jobs may need to be filled, and with aging baby boomers, technological advances and a rise in attention to preventative care, you could soon find yourself donning scrubs and checking a patient’s blood pressure.
Check out 10 Facts You Didn’t Know About the Rasmussen College Nursing Program to learn about the college’s nursing faculty, enrollment opportunities, campuses and all the other information that’s crucial to know before you take the next step.
*Salary ranges represent national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and include workers at all levels of education and experience. Ranges do not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.
**Source: Burning-Glass.com (Analysis of 134,984 LPN job postings, May 9, 2013 – May 8, 2014)