After investing so much time and money into your training to become a licensed practical nurse, or LPN, you'd probably like to land a job offering the highest compensation possible. Fortunately, LPNs are generally very well compensated. They are paid on average more than two times the national minimum wage, and they usually enjoy nice benefits like 401(k)s, health insurance, paid days off and more. What's even better is that many employers offer sign-on bonuses to attract the best LPNs. Whether you're a newly minted LPN or have been working in the field for a while, there are things that you can do to land a job with a sign-on bonus. Learn more about them by reading on below.
When it comes to sign-on bonuses, some employers offer them liberally and others never offer them at all. The trick to landing a job that includes a nice sign-on bonus is understanding why employers offer them in the first place. As long as you understand those factors, you should be able to zero in on local employers who fill the bill.
Some factors that increase the odds that an employer will offer an LPN sign-on bonus include:
Lack of qualified staff
Understaffing is far and away the top reason that employers offer sign-on bonuses to healthcare workers like LPNs. The sad truth of the matter is that in many areas, employers struggle mightily to attract and retain talented workers. With so many LPN jobs out there in most markets, many employers resort to offering bonuses to stand out better from the crowd. Consider making a few calls to find out which facilities are struggling to attract employees and then go from there.
The vast majority of LPNs work in healthcare facilities like hospitals and assisted living centers. Such environments are overwhelmingly safe, so LPNs aren't exposed to a whole lot of risk. However, LPNs sometimes work in other environments that may involve a bit more risk. For example, some LPNs work in correctional facilities and are therefore put into contact with potentially violent offenders. Others work in mental health facilities where patients may be unruly or even violent from time to time. Oftentimes, LPN jobs in such environments come with sign-on bonuses simply because so few people want to work there.
For one reason or another, some employers have not-so-great reputations among local healthcare workers. Many times, even a fairly generous sign-on bonus is not worth the situation that you may find yourself in, so do plenty of research whenever you see an employer offering a bonus. Make sure that the reason isn't simply because it's a terrible place to work, or you will most likely be back looking for work again before very long.
Finally, even fairly small communities are generally saturated when it comes to healthcare facilities. In some markets, establishing a new healthcare facility can be challenging. Employers may struggle to get staff in quickly enough and may decide to offer very lucrative sign-on bonuses to LPNs who are willing to come on board. With this in mind, keep your eyes peeled for new facilities that may be opening in your area. Attend job fairs in the local area to stay in the loop about new employment opportunities. If a new facility is opening in the area, it's quite likely that they will be offering bonuses.
Things to Keep in Mind
As nice as sign-on bonuses can be, they shouldn't be the only determining factor when looking for LPN jobs. Bonuses are not without their issues, and some LPNs go on to regret taking jobs strictly because of promised bonuses. Before taking the plunge, get the details about the sign-on bonus offer. Many times, certain catches are involved that may make the bonus less attractive for you. Don't assume that you for sure will receive the bonus, as you may not qualify for it for one reason or another.
A few things to keep in mind regarding sign-on bonuses for LPNs include:
- You may not get all of the money at once - Depending on the size of the bonus in question, you may not receive it all at once as a lump sum. Many times, employers instead pay the bonus in portions over the course of several months. Part of the logic for this is to avoid hiring LPNs who take their bonuses and then quit shortly thereafter. If you are relying on receiving a nice sign-on bonus, then, get clarification for when you'll get it and how much you'll receive at once. That way, you can make a more informed decision about taking the job.
- The bonus may include conditions - Most employers don't just offer sign-on bonuses on a free-and-clear basis. The main problem is that they run the risk of paying these bonuses and then having LPNs quit before very long. This is why most employers have stipulations, or conditions, attached to their sign-on bonuses. Most commonly, LPNs must commit to remaining employed with the employer for a certain period of time to receive or keep the bonus. This is sometimes a clue that you'd be dealing with a less-than-optimal workplace, so proceed with caution. Make sure that you are committed to working for whatever period of time before taking the job or the bonus, or you will find yourself in hot water later.
There are lots of factors to consider when looking for LPN jobs. Sign-on bonuses are nice perks, but they aren't always quite what they are cracked up to be. Don't let the promise of a nice bonus blind you to potential problems, and get as much information as you can before committing to anything.