Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) play a vital role in the healthcare system, providing essential patient care and support under the guidance of registered nurses and doctors. Though LPNs are entry-level nursing positions, a career as an LPN offers a variety of specializations that you can pursue to enhance your skills and earning potential. This article will explore some of the highest-paid LPN specializations, shedding light on the roles that offer not only competitive salaries but also fulfilling career paths.

What Determines an LPN’s Salary?

LPN salaries can vary widely based on several factors. Typically, they are determined by a combination of:

  • Minimum wage
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Certifications and licensure
  • The level of need for LPNs in the area where you’ll be servicing

Becoming an LPN in a specialized area of medicine/healthcare can also impact pay. These specializations often require more training and experience. For these reasons, the following specializations offer a much more competitive salary.

Surgical LPN

Surgical LPNs work in operating rooms, assisting surgeons and other healthcare professionals during surgical procedures. They are responsible for preparing the surgical area, sterilizing equipment, and ensuring that the patient’s safety and well-being are maintained throughout the procedure. Surgical LPNs can earn higher salaries due to the specialized skills and knowledge required for this fast-paced and critical environment–typically an average of $60,580 a year.

Dermatology LPN

Dermatology LPNs specialize in skincare and the treatment of various skin conditions. They work closely with dermatologists to provide patient education, administer treatments, and assist with minor surgical procedures. The increasing demand for dermatological services and cosmetic procedures has contributed to the higher earning potential of LPNs in this field. If you’re an LPN looking to enter this exciting specialization, you can earn up to $89,000 a year.

Orthopedic LPN

Orthopedic LPNs work with orthopedic surgeons to care for patients with musculoskeletal injuries and disorders. They help with casting, splinting, wound care, and post-operative rehabilitation. The specialized nature of orthopedic care and the need for expertise in managing bone and joint conditions make this specialization financially rewarding. LPNs in the orthopedic field usually earn an average annual salary of around $60,580 per year.

Oncology LPN

Oncology LPNs provide care to patients undergoing cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. They offer emotional support, administer medications, and monitor patients’ overall well-being. The complex nature of cancer care and the need for compassionate patient interactions contribute to the higher compensation in this specialization. As an oncology LPN, you can expect to make up to $58,000 annually.

Neonatal LPN

Neonatal LPNs work in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and provide care to newborns who require specialized medical attention. They assist in feeding, monitoring vital signs, and administering medications. The delicate nature of neonatal care and the critical role LPNs play in supporting premature or ill infants lead to increased earning potential. Neonatal LPNs can expect to make an average of $71,497 per year.

Long-Term Care LPN

Long-term care LPNs work in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, providing comprehensive care to elderly or chronically ill residents. Their responsibilities often include medication administration, wound care, and coordination of care plans. The demand for long-term care services as the population ages contributes to the consistent demand and competitive salaries in this specialization–up to $59,906 per year in some cases.

How Does an LPN Specialize?

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) can specialize in various areas of healthcare to enhance their skills, knowledge, and career prospects. One way LPNs can specialize is by pursuing additional certifications in specific fields such as gerontology, pediatrics, or critical care nursing. These certifications provide specialized training and education tailored to the needs of patients in those areas, equipping LPNs with the expertise to deliver high-quality care.

Another avenue for specialization is to focus on a particular healthcare setting or population. For example, LPNs can specialize in working with elderly patients in long-term care facilities, providing compassionate and specialized care for residents with complex medical needs. Alternatively, they may choose to specialize in community health, working in clinics or public health organizations to promote wellness and provide preventive care to underserved populations.

Furthermore, LPNs can specialize in certain procedures or treatment modalities by gaining experience and training in areas such as wound care, medication administration, or intravenous therapy. By becoming proficient in these specialized skills, LPNs can enhance their value to healthcare employers and potentially command higher salaries.

How Can I Advance My Career as an LPN?

As far as career advancement goes, LPNs usually have a lot of room for growth. Specializing at this level is possible by taking LPN positions in specialized settings or getting certified in a particular area. However, these options are limited when it comes to getting a better salary. If you truly want to advance your career in the medical field and have access to a wider range of higher-paid specializations, becoming an RN is a viable option. There are many quick and easy ways to do this, but one of the more popular ways is through an LPN to RN program. These often affordable bridge programs allow LPNs to become RNS in as little as two years which can help them achieve higher pay and a more specialized career in a doable timeline.