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10 Pros and Cons of Being an LPN Travel Nurse + Steps to Become + Salary


Written By: Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN

Are you a licensed practical nurse (LPN) looking for a new adventure? Are you feeling bored or stagnant in your current position? If so, travel nursing may be the perfect solution for you! As an LPN travel nurse, you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings and explore new places. There is no question that being an LPN travel nurse has its perks. But with those perks will come some drawbacks, too. Do you know what are the pros and cons of being an LPN travel nurse? If you do not, do not worry. Below you will find the top 10 pros and cons of being an LPN travel nurse so you can determine if this is the type of nursing career that is best for you.


What Does An LPN Travel Nurse Do?


So, I guess a good place to start in exploring this nursing career is to start with what does an LPN travel nurse do? As an LPN travel nurse, you would be working in a temporary nursing position in different hospitals or clinics around the United States. You can expect to work all shifts, including weekends and holidays with this type of position. This type of nursing is great for those who want to see new places and experience new cultures.

As an LPN travel nurse, you will be required to work with patients of all ages and backgrounds. You will need to be comfortable working independently as well as part of a team. In addition to providing direct patient care, you may also be responsible for recording patient information, ordering and stocking supplies, and cleaning and preparing patient rooms.


Where Does An LPN Travel Nurse Work?


As an LPN travel nurse, you will be working in various settings. Some of these settings include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and school health programs. You may work on a medical or surgical floor, emergency room, or pediatric unit in the hospital setting. You may work in an outpatient clinic or a doctor's office in the clinic setting.

In the nursing home setting, you may work with elderly patients who need assistance with their activities of daily living. And in the school health program setting, you may work with students who need health care services. No matter what setting you work in, as an LPN travel nurse, you will be providing quality nursing care to patients of all ages.


What Are The Typical Working Hours Of An LPN Travel Nurse?


The typical work hours you can expect to be working as an LPN travel nurse are typically 8-12 hours per day spanning all the days of the week. Though there may be some variations depending on the specific assignment you are currently working on. Depending on your travel nurse contract, you will likely have at least one weekend off every month and possibly more. Keep in mind that you may also be asked to work overtime from time to time.

You may also find that you may have to work holidays depending on the environment you are working in as an LPN travel nurse. But most assignments will have at least one guaranteed day off per week. So, if you are looking for a job with some stability and predictable hours, working as an LPN travel nurse may be an excellent option for you.


What Are The Most Important Skills Required To Work As An LPN Travel Nurse?


When you contemplate becoming an LPN travel nurse, it is essential to ensure you have the proper skills to do your job. The most important skills a nurse needs to work as an LPN travel nurse are patience, critical thinking skills, the ability to work independently, good organizational skills, strong communication skills, flexibility, and the ability to handle stress.

Other skills that are important for you to possess in order to excel in your career as an LPN travel nurse are a caring personality, the ability to stay calm under pressure, and a good sense of humor. Nurses who have these skills tend to be successful in this career field.


How Much Does An LPN Travel Nurse Make?


One of the most important aspects of becoming an LPN travel nurse is your earning potential. The average LPN travel nurse salary is $64,676. This annual earning will increase to $31.09 an hour or $5,390 a month.

Now, let’s take a look at how your salary will change based on your experience level. An entry-level salary for an LPN travel nurse will be $45,930 a year. This will be an hourly wage of $22.08 or a monthly income of $3,830. Once you have gained one to four years of experience your hourly wage will increase to $26.11 or a monthly income of $4,530. This increase will have you earning $54,310. When your level of experience has increased to five to nine years of experience, you can expect an annual salary of $63,040. This will break down to an hourly salary of $30.31 or a monthly income of $5,250.

After ten to nineteen years of working as an LPN travel nurse, you will be earning $35.92 an hour or $6,230. This means you can expect to earn $74,710 a year. LPN travel nurses who have been working in the field for 20 or more years can expect to earn an annual income of $84,600. This means that your hourly wage will jump to $40.67 or a monthly earning of $7,050.

Level of Experience HourlyMonthlyAnnual
Entry-Level $22.08$3,830$45,930
1-4 Years of Experience $26.11$4,530$54,310
5-9 Years of Experience $30.31$5,250$63,040
10-19 Years of Experience $35.92$6,230$74,710
20 Years or More Experience $40.67$7,050$84,600
Average Salary$31.09$5,390$64,676


Is There A Demand For LPN Travel Nurses?


Before entering a career, it is essential to know if there is a demand for the job you are expecting to achieve after you have finished your education. Well, rest assured, the career of an LPN travel nurse is in high demand. Licensed practical nurses are always in high demand due to the critical role they play in the health care industry.

One reason LPN travel nurses are in such high demand is the current nursing shortage we are now facing. Many facilities and hospitals around the country are desperate for qualified nurses. Still, these institutions are not able to fill all of the available positions that they have. This is where LPN travel nurses come in – they can fill the gap in staffing and help meet these hospitals' needs.

Another reason why LPN travel nurses are in high demand is that these nurses are able to work in a variety of different settings. LPN travel nurses are not limited to working in just one hospital or facility.

Lastly, LPN travel nurses are in high demand due to their flexibility. They are able to work a variety of different shifts, and they are also able to travel to new places.

So, is there a demand for LPN travel nurses? The answer is definitely yes! Many hospitals and facilities are looking for nurses with experience in travel nursing. If you are an LPN and you are interested in travel nursing, then now is the time to explore your options. There are many different opportunities available. You can be sure that you will find a perfect position for you.


6 Steps To Becoming An LPN Travel Nurse


1. The first step to becoming an LPN travel nurse is earning your diploma. You will need to earn a diploma in nursing.

2. Second, you will need to take the National Certification Licensure Exam (NCLEX-PN).

3. You may also want to consider obtaining a compact practical nursing license as well.

4. You will need to earn certification in Basic life support (BLS).

5. Next, you will want to gain some experience as a bedside nurse.

6. Then you will have to find a nurse staffing agency in order to start your first travel assignment.



TOP CONS OF BEING AN LPN TRAVEL NURSE


(The following are the top 10 disadvantages of being an LPN Travel Nurse.)

1. Not all healthcare institutions will hire LPNs

One of the biggest disadvantages of being an LPN travel nurse is that you may not be able to find a job in every healthcare institution. While many hospitals and clinics are always on the lookout for talented LPNs, others are not as willing to hire them. This is due to many healthcare institutions prioritizing the hiring of nurses with a bachelor's degree. So, if you are an LPN travel nurse looking for a job, it is essential to do your research and find out which institutions are likely to hire you. By doing this, you will be able to save yourself a lot of time and energy.

2. You will see varying pay rates.

As an LPN travel nurse, you will find that each contract will be for a different pay rate. Having such variations in pay rates may make it challenging to balance your income and bills. This inconsistency can be too much to handle.

3. You will have no paid time off.

One of the top cons of being an LPN travel nurse is that you will not have paid time off. This means that if you get sick or want to take a vacation, you will not receive a salary during that time. For example, if you need a sick day because you are ill, you will not be paid for the day you took off. So, you either try to find another day to work or you will have a short paycheck. Similarly, if you want to take a week-long vacation, you will not receive any payment for that time. I hope you are financially savvy.

4. You will not get the best assignments.

Getting the best assignments as an LPN travel nurse can be tough. The unit you work on may give their core staff better and more manageable cases in comparison to you. You will probably end up with the less-than-stellar cases at times that will require more attention. Your assignment can quickly become overwhelming.

5. You will not get the best work schedule.

One of the disadvantages of being an LPN travel is that you may not get the best work schedule. The job of an LPN travel nurse is not what one would expect. You are only viewed as supplemental staff, and your shifts will vary depending on how much coverage a hospital needs at any given time. Still, often you will find yourself having to work the leftover days that no other nurses want to work because they have already had their fill of prime shift availability!

6. Some people may look down on you.

It can be challenging to be an LPN travel nurse at times. You may feel that people look down on you because you do not have a bachelor's degree in nursing. Although you are a capable nurse and you are able to adequately care for patients, some people may feel that you are not qualified to be a nurse. Some days it may be challenging to keep your head up.

7. You do not have a steady job.

Another one of the cons of being an LPN travel nurse is that you actually do not have a steady job. LPN travel nurses often do not have the same stability in their jobs that a hospital’s core staff does because they only work temporarily at hospitals until their contract ends. The constant search for a new job can be exhausting and stressful. You never know when your next paycheck is coming through after a contract ends.

8. You will always feel like a fish out of water.

One of the cons that LPN travel nurses face is that they are constantly moving around from place to place, and it can be challenging to keep track of everything. There is a new city every few weeks with hospitals in all sorts of places which makes staying settled difficult for these professionals who work hard at their job but do not get to enjoy seeing their family and friends. Travel LPN nurses have long periods without seeing family or friends.

Also, when you are new on the job as an LPN travel nurse, it can be hard to make friends. In fact, as an LPN traveling nurse, you never know anyone at your destination hospital before day one that your contract starts- this could affect how much help you get from your coworkers during the shift.

9. Hope you have a good tax professional

One of the top cons of being an LPN travel nurse is that your taxes will be a nightmare. If you are an LPN travel nurse, filing your taxes can be pretty complicated. You will need to claim income in all of the different places you have worked this year and last - not just at home base! This means MULTIPLE state returns, which leads to mistakes if done incorrectly or missed by accident (which happens!). It costs money for accountants, etc., who do charge periodically based upon their expertise, but remember, their services do not come free...

10. You better have a plan B if your contract gets canceled.

It is always a huge disappointment when your contract with a health institution is not renewed and is canceled. You have done all the hard work, gone through training, and it is just not working out for some reason or another--maybe they feel like there are enough nurses already on staff? It leaves you in between jobs knowing that if this happens again soon, then things will get really complicated again! This will deprive you of an income.



TOP PROS OF BEING AN LPN TRAVEL NURSE


(The following are the top 10 advantages of being an LPN Travel Nurse.)

1. You will earn a fantastic salary.

Being an LPN travel nurse has many perks. One of the top pros of being an LPN travel nurse is that you can make a living while enjoying life's finer things, such as having all your bills paid and some money left over to spend on yourself! Playing your cards right can lead you into a contract of employment when staffing needs arise. In that case, employers might be willing to pay more than expected.

2. You will have a tax-free living stipend.

Do you know one of the best parts of being an LPN travel nurse? The money! Not only will you be earning a fantastic salary, but you can expect to receive an allowance for housing and/or uniform costs in the form of a stipend. You can also receive a stipend for moving costs as well. Some states/agencies will offer more generous benefits than others, but it is all gravy at the end of the day.

3. You will always be able to find a job.

As an LPN travel nurse, you can have it all. One of the top pros of being an LPN travel nurse is that you will always be able to find a job. You will never be bored with the same old routine of work! The high demand for these types of nurses means that there is always something available and waiting to happen - turn jobs down if they do not suit your preferences or needs because this career offers flexibility like no other does today.

4. You will get to travel.

There are many unique benefits to being an LPN travel nurse. One of the best parts about this job is that you get an opportunity for exploration and adventure with every contract, not just when you are taking a vacation! The freedom to explore new places is what makes the LPN lifestyle so fulfilling.

5. You will gain valuable experience.

One of the advantages of being an LPN travel nurse is that you get to work at different hospitals and learn all of their unique ways of doing things. You will have the opportunity to try out many specialties, which broadens your resume and makes for some exciting experiences down the road!

6. You will have flexibility in your life.

As an LPN travel nurse, you have the opportunity to plan your own schedule. Unlike other nurses who hold permanent positions and are subject to applying for a vacation to get certain weeks off each year, you can take summers off if that is what works best with family and friends’ obligations or when you just want some time away from nursing scrubs!

7. What will your next adventure look like?

One of the pros of being an LPN travel nurse is that you will get to pick the setting of your next adventure. If New York City is what gets you going, then go ahead and pick up a contract in this bustling metropolis. You could also decide that you want to take a contract near the beach. You can be a beach bum on your days off!

8. You will be able to meet new people who may be a great asset to you down the road.

The million-dollar question is whether you want to settle down in a particular area of the country. As an LPN travel nurse, meeting all sorts of people from different job positions and industries will give your career plenty more opportunities if that is what interests you!

9. You will form bonds with different people.

One of the biggest advantages of being an LPN travel nurse is that you may form some special bonds with other people. As we discussed earlier, you will always be the new guy, but that does not mean you will not be making new friends. Some of these friendships may last a lifetime. You could be making friends all around the country, which will enable you to visit some of these fantastic places that you have been to before.

10. You will make people’s lives better.

As an LPN travel nurse, you will have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of your patients. Many nurses are quick to pass judgment on travelers, but the truth is that they are the backbone of the nursing profession. LPN travel nurses take on assignments in areas where nurses are desperately needed, and they work hard to provide quality care for patients. You help the patients during their most vulnerable times, and your work is invaluable.



BREAKING DOWN THE SALARY OF AN LPN TRAVEL NURSE


What Is The Starting Salary Of An LPN Travel Nurse?


The starting salary of an LPN travel nurse is $45,930 a year. This means that your wage will be $883.00 a week or a monthly earning of $3,830. You will essentially be earning $22.08 an hour.

Hourly$22.08
Weekly $883
Monthly$3,830
Annual$45,930


What Is The Average Salary Of An LPN Travel Nurse?


The average LPN travel nurse salary is $64,676. This means you will be earning $31.09 an hour or $1,244 a week, to put this more in perspective. Your monthly salary will be $5,390.

Hourly$31.09
Weekly $1,244
Monthly$5,390
Annual$64,676
(Source: Ziprecruiter.com)


LPN Travel Nurse Salary By State


Health care is a pretty unique field regarding salary. Salary in health care is not uniform across every state. Each state will have you earning a different salary for performing the same job. For example, in California, you will be earning an annual salary of $82,750 as an LPN travel nurse. In Alabama, you will be earning a salary that is around $30,000 less for performing the same job. In Alabama, you will be earning $52,530. So, my advice to you is that if you plan to enter the world of LPN travel nursing, you should aim to work in a state that will have you earning the highest salary.

State Hourly Monthly Annual
Alabama $25.25 $4,380 $52,530
Alaska $41.98 $7,280 $87,310
Arizona $34.65 $6,010 $72,070
Arkansas $25.92 $4,490 $53,920
California $39.78 $6,900 $82,750
Colorado $33.71 $5,840 $70,120
Connecticut $36.27 $6,290 $75,440
Delaware $33.47 $5,800 $69,620
Florida $29.00 $5,030 $60,310
Georgia $27.74 $4,810 $57,700
Hawaii $33.62 $5,830 $69,930
Idaho $30.19 $5,230 $62,800
Illinois $33.88 $5,870 $70,470
Indiana $29.73 $5,150 $61,840
Iowa $28.47 $4,930 $59,210
Kansas $27.97 $4,850 $58,170
Kentucky $27.41 $4,750 $57,020
Louisiana $26.02 $4,510 $54,130
Maine $30.04 $5,210 $62,480
Maryland $34.90 $6,050 $72,590
Massachusetts $37.50 $6,500 $77,990
Michigan $32.42 $5,620 $67,430
Minnesota $30.94 $5,360 $64,350
Mississippi $25.04 $4,340 $52,090
Missouri $27.62 $4,790 $57,450
Montana $28.56 $4,950 $59,410
Nebraska $28.38 $4,920 $59,020
Nevada $37.06 $6,420 $77,080
New Hampshire $35.01 $6,070 $72,820
New Jersey $35.75 $6,200 $74,360
New Mexico $31.34 $5,430 $65,180
New York $31.85 $5,520 $66,240
North Carolina $29.25 $5,070 $60,840
North Dakota $29.83 $5,170 $62,050
Ohio $28.92 $5,010 $60,160
Oklahoma $26.85 $4,650 $55,840
Oregon $35.58 $6,170 $74,010
Pennsylvania $31.19 $5,410 $64,880
Rhode Island $36.68 $6,360 $76,300
South Carolina $27.08 $4,690 $56,330
South Dakota $24.47 $4,240 $50,900
Tennessee $26.28 $4,560 $54,660
Texas $30.03 $5,210 $62,470
Utah $29.52 $5,120 $61,400
Vermont $31.81 $5,510 $66,160
Virginia $29.43 $5,100 $61,220
Washington $37.11 $6,430 $77,190
West Virginia $24.17 $4,190 $50,280
Wisconsin $29.84 $5,170 $62,070
Wyoming $30.40 $5,270 $63,240



HIGHEST PAID LPN TRAVEL NURSES


What Are The 10 Highest Paying States For LPN Travel Nurses?


Now, let’s take a look at the highest paying states for LPN travel nurses. Alaska and California will have you earning salaries in the $80,000 range. Massachusetts, Washington, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Connecticut will have you earning wages in the mid to high $70,000 range. You will be earning a salary in the lower $70,000 range in New Jersey, Oregon, and New Hampshire. Overall, you will be earning quite a lucrative salary in any of the ten states.

Rank State Average
Annual Salary
1 Alaska $87,310
2 California $82,750
3 Massachusetts $77,990
4 Washington $77,190
5 Nevada $77,080
6 Rhode Island $76,300
7 Connecticut $75,440
8 New Jersey $74,360
9 Oregon $74,010
10 New Hampshire $72,820


What Are The 10 Highest Paying Metros For LPN Travel Nurses?


Although Alaska is the highest paying state for LPN travel nurses, Alaska actually only has one of the highest paying metros for LPN nurses. In Anchorage, Alaska, you will earn $90,370. The rest of the highest paying metros are located in California. The highest overall paying metro in California is San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara. Here you will be earning a salary of $98,070 a year. That is fantastic!

Rank Metro Average
Annual Salary
1 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $98,070
2 Santa Rosa, CA $96,610
3 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $96,220
4 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $93,420
5 Anchorage, AK $90,370
6 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA $85,090
7 Hanford-Corcoran, CA $84,330
8 Napa, CA $84,150
9 Madera, CA $83,980
10 Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA $83,910



Top Organizations And Associations For LPN Travel Nurses


The National Association of Licensed Practical/Licensed Vocational Nurses (NALPN): The National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses is an organization for LPNs and LVNs. This organization offers information on continuing education, certifications, scholarships, guidance and professional advice, and member support and networking.


My Final Thoughts


So, there you have it, the top 10 pros and cons of being an LPN travel nurse. The decision to become a travel nurse is not one to be taken lightly – it is essential to weigh all of the pros and cons before making a final decision. The pros of being an LPN travel nurse are many. Still, there are also cons to consider before becoming an LPN travel nurse. Weighing the pros and cons is important in order to make the best decision for your career. The pros and cons of being an LPN travel nurse that I have presented to you will definitely help you determine if this is your career.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


1. Is LPN Travel Nursing A Good Career?

Yes, LPN travel nursing is a great career choice. Not only will you make a lucrative salary, but you will also be able to see the country while earning money. This will provide you with a plethora of experiences to last a lifetime.


2. On Average, How Much Does An LPN Travel Nurse Make Per Hour?

The average LPN travel nurse salary per hour is $31.09. You will be earning more as an LPN travel nurse than the national average hourly wage. The national average hourly wage in the United States is $29.81.

$31.09


3. How Many Hours Does An LPN Travel Nurse Work?

The number of work hours that an LPN travel nurse works will depend on a couple of factors. The first factor to consider is the type of environment the LPN travel nurse works in. If you work in an inpatient hospital-based setting, you will work anywhere from eight to ten hours. If you are working in an office-based setting, you will typically work four 10-hour days or five eight-hour days.

The second factor in determining how many hours you are working is the type of contract you have agreed to. Some contracts will be for a 37.5-hour work week, and others will be well over that threshold. This may be a ten-week contract or a thirteen-week contract.


4. Is Being An LPN Travel Nurse Stressful?

Yes, at times, being an LPN travel nurse can be stressful. I think that any type of career in the medical community can be stressful at times. This is clearly linked to the fact that you are caring for a living human being who, at times, depends on you to keep them alive. That is a lot of pressure.


5. Do I Need To Be Certified To Work As An LPN Travel Nurse?

You do not need to be certified to work as an LPN travel nurse. Having certification will make you more marketable, but you will still be able to find a job without certification.


6. What Certifications Are Required Or Recommended For An LPN Travel Nurse?

There is no required certification for an LPN travel nurse. Some recommended certificates to boost your career as an LPN travel nurse are IV therapy, wound care certification (WCC), certified hemodialysis nurse (CHN), certified peritoneal dialysis nurse (CPDN), and pharmacology (NCP). Any of these certifications will make you look pretty good on paper.


7. How Long Does It Take To Become An LPN Travel Nurse?

In order to become an LPN travel nurse, you are probably looking at about four years. This will take you around one to two years to earn your nursing diploma. Then you will need at least another two years to gain relevant bedside experience as a nurse before starting your traveling adventure.


8. How Much Does It Cost To Become An LPN Travel Nurse?

The cost of becoming an LPN travel nurse will depend on the type of educational institution you attend. You will need to earn either your nursing diploma or nursing certificate. The average LPN program cost is estimated to be between $10,000 to $25,000 in fees. Schools with accelerated LPN programs and universities tend to have the highest cost of LPN programs. Community colleges tend to be more affordable. The average LPN program cost in community colleges is set to $4,000 to $5,000 a year.


9. What Kind Of Career Advancement Opportunities Are There For LPN Travel Nurses?

If you want to advance your career as an LPN travel nurse, you can start by advancing your education. You can do this by earning your associate's degree in nursing, followed by your bachelor's degree in nursing, your master's degree in nursing, and finally, your doctorate degree in nursing. Advancing your education will open many doors for you in the advancement of your career. It will also increase your salary.


10. Can LPNs Travel Internationally?

Yes, LPN travel nurses can travel internationally. The first step to doing this is that you must satisfy all of the requirements to be a nurse in your home country. Next, you will need to meet the requirements to be a nurse in the country you wish to travel to. You will find jobs through nurse travel agencies.


11. Where Are The Highest Paying LPN Travel Nurse Jobs?

The highest paying LPN travel nurse jobs can be located in Alaska. This is followed by California. So I guess if you are somebody who likes the cold, there is an option for you, and if you are somebody who loves the heat, well, there is an option for you.


12. Where Are LPN Travel Nurses Most Needed?

This is an easy question to answer. LPN travel nurses are needed all over the country. The nursing shortage that we face as a country has led to many vacant jobs within the healthcare workforce. These holes have left an open job market for LPN travel nurses.


13. What Are The Best LPN Travel Nurse Agencies?

There are many travel nurse agencies out there that you can choose some. Some of the top travel nurse agencies for LPNs are RNNetwork, AYA, Aureus Medical Group, Jackson Nursing, Trustaff, Nightingale Nursing, Melania Medical Staffing, Sagent, and Trinity Healthcare Staffing Group.


14. Is It Hard To Find LPN Travel Nurse Jobs?

No, it is not difficult to find an LPN travel nurse. There are many jobs out that can be filled by LPNs due to many vacancies in the healthcare workforce.


Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN
Jennifer Schlette is a registered nurse in pediatric critical care in New York City. She is the former Director of Undergraduate Nursing at a college located in New York. After obtaining her BSN from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, she went on to complete her MSN.