Nurses are important members of healthcare facilities. Some patients would even prefer talking with, and generally being with, nurses instead of doctors. They are often deemed as friendly and understanding. What most people do not know is that there are different career paths available for nurses. One such path is towards being a practical nurse.

Practical nurses, as the name suggests, provide more practical or basic care for patients. They ensure that the patient is comfortable at all times. They are assigned to work with a doctor and/or a registered nurse. They may be assigned to handle laboratory results, take patients' vital signs, and administer treatment courses. Yes, this is one of those roles where you would feel like someone's life is in your hands.

If you have endless patience, you would definitely be a good fit for this role. Of course, you also need to have a stellar performance review in order to succeed.

What Does a Practical Nurse Do

There are certain skills that many practical nurses have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed interpersonal skills, patience and speaking skills.

Learn more about what a Practical Nurse does

How To Become a Practical Nurse

If you're interested in becoming a practical nurse, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 30.1% of practical nurses have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 22.2% of practical nurses have master's degrees. Even though most practical nurses have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Practical Nurse

Practical Nurse Career Paths

Average Salary for a Practical Nurse

Practical Nurses in America make an average salary of $75,363 per year or $36 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $120,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $47,000 per year.
Average Practical Nurse Salary
$75,363 Yearly
$36.23 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Practical Nurse

The role of a practical nurse includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general practical nurse responsibilities:

  • Work with and assist the head nurse, registered nurse
  • Direct the day-to-day functions of the nursing personnel assigned to you in accordance with current rules, regulations,
  • Experience in understanding of/and systematic review

There are several types of practical nurse, including:

Registered Nurse


If you're looking for a job that will provide a lot of opportunities, you've come to the right place. Registered nurses are needed everywhere to provide patient care and educate patients about various health conditions.

All registered nurses need to be licensed, but there are three different ways you can go about it. One is earning a bachelor's degree in nursing. Another is to obtain an associate's degree in nursing. Or receive a diploma from a nursing program.

  • Average Salary: $73,349
  • Degree: Associate Degree

Licensed Practical Nurse


A licensed practical nurse, also known as an LPN, works in a healthcare setting. Their responsibilities range from providing routine care to taking note of patients' health. The LPN is super-important to each patient's visit.

LPNs also serve a critical role in helping doctors and registered nurses when needed. Sometimes, as an LPN, you'll have to explain a lot, including medication, home-based care, and preventative lifestyle changes

While, you'll probably work a full-time schedule, it may look a little wonky. Some days you might work a shift that's longer than 8 hours or you might have to take a weekend or night shift. The schooling it takes to become an LPN isn't that long, in fact, most LPN programs take a year to complete.

  • Average Salary: $52,912
  • Degree: Associate Degree

Staff Nurse


If healthcare is your name and helping patients is your game, then you might consider a career as a staff nurse. Typically, you'll work in a healthcare facility of some sort, whether that be a hospital or a nursing home.

As a staff nurse, you'll be working closely with doctors and other nurses to ensure patients receive the utmost care and treatment for their health conditions. Usually, this line of work seals the deal with crazy hours. But staff nurses tend to be a little different.

It can vary, but you usually won't work over 40 hours a week. In fact, some weeks you may only work 35 hours. This great schedule does come with a price tag - student debt, to be exact. In order to become a staff nurse, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree. I mean, you have to know what you're doing in this job so that much makes sense.

  • Average Salary: $68,342
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Practical Nurse Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active practical nurse jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where practical nurses earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Practical Nurse Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
5New York9,696$77,125
9North Carolina6,529$68,981
16New Jersey4,716$77,197
22South Carolina3,296$64,504
33New Mexico1,704$69,659
35New Hampshire1,490$73,073
37West Virginia1,369$70,004
40South Dakota1,008$57,859
44North Dakota852$58,589
48Rhode Island615$76,407

Practical Nurse Education

Practical Nurse Majors

74.0 %

Practical Nurse Degrees


30.1 %


22.2 %


19.8 %

Top Colleges for Practical Nurses

1. Emory University

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




3. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




4. Maria College of Albany

Albany, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Clarkson College

Omaha, NE • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Inter American University of Puerto Rico Ponce

Mercedita, PR • Private

In-State Tuition




7. SUNY at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Inter American University of Puerto Rico Arecibo

Arecibo, PR • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Inter American University of Puerto Rico Bayamon

Bayamon, PR • Private

In-State Tuition




10. Vermont Technical College

Randolph, VT • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Practical Nurse

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 27.3% of practical nurses listed patients on their resume, but soft skills such as interpersonal skills and patience are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Practical Nurse Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Practical Nurse templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Practical Nurse resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Practical Nurse diversity

Practical Nurse Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among practical nurses, 85.7% of them are women, while 14.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among practical nurses is White, which makes up 60.4% of all practical nurses.

  • The most common foreign language among practical nurses is Spanish at 66.4%.

Online Courses For Practical Nurse That You May Like

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Best States For a Practical Nurse

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a practical nurse. The best states for people in this position are California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Practical nurses make the most in California with an average salary of $86,154. Whereas in Nevada and Oregon, they would average $85,226 and $80,874, respectively. While practical nurses would only make an average of $77,735 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Pennsylvania

Total Practical Nurse Jobs: 10,528
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Nevada

Total Practical Nurse Jobs: 1,279
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. West Virginia

Total Practical Nurse Jobs: 1,369
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Practical Nurses

How Do Practical Nurses Rate Their Jobs?

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Overall Rating*
Career Growth
Work/Life balance

Top Practical Nurse Employers

Most Common Employers For Practical Nurse

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1University Hospitals$129,336$62.1820
2Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center$110,163$52.9620
3Rutgers University$108,107$51.978
4Maxim Healthcare Group$97,150$46.7115
5Aurora Health Care$88,899$42.747
6Planned Parenthood$82,934$39.8723
7St Joseph's Hospital$80,021$38.4710
8HCR ManorCare$79,877$38.4011
10St. Joseph Regional Medical Center$74,835$35.987

Practical Nurse Videos

Becoming a Practical Nurse FAQs

Practical Nurse Vs Rn

A practical nurse typically provides assistance to doctors and registered nurses, while an RN (registered nurse) provides direct care to patients.

A practical nurse is responsible for a range of hands-on patient care and administrative tasks. This includes monitoring a patient's health, such as vital signs and overall health condition. Changing bandages and inserting catheters. They also provide basic patient care, such as daily physical activities. A practical nurse is subordinate to doctors and registered nurses and will assist them in certain medical procedures.

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