Are you interested in a career in nursing? The demand for nurses of all types is greater than ever, especially among the two most common nursing professions: Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs). If you're looking into different nursing career paths, you may be wondering which is right for you. What's the difference between an LPN and an RN?
In this blog post, we'll compare LPNs and RNs in terms of salary, duties, advancement opportunities, and educational requirements. While both career paths play an essential role in healthcare, understanding the key differences of each is important when deciding your future in the industry.
LPN vs. RN: Education
No matter which career you choose, becoming an RN or an LPN requires post-secondary education and licensure by your state board of nursing.
RN: To become an RN, you need to hold an associate's degree or a diploma from an approved nursing program. These degrees, called ADNs, typically take two years to complete. If you want to get into more advanced nursing specialties, you would need a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), which often takes four years to finish. BSN and ADN programs revolve around behavioral and physical sciences while providing you with hands-on clinical experiences.
LPN: Education for an LPN is a lot more straightforward. First, you have to start with a high school diploma or GED. And then, you must enroll and complete an accredited LPN program. Usually, this type of program takes about a year to complete. If you're interested in completing a practical nursing program, you can find most programs at a technical or community college. LPN courses typically cover topics on biology and pharmacology and may include supervised clinical experiences.
LPN vs. RN: Nursing Job Duties
LPN: An LPNs typical job duties include providing routine, basic care to patients, like monitoring vitals and checking blood pressure. Not only that, a big part of what LPNs do focuses on making sure that the patient is comfortable. Providing comfort in care as an LPN means that you'd be helping patients to their rooms, assisting them with bathing and clothing themselves, and also helping your patient manage day-to-day activities. LPNs need to build relationships with their patients. Getting to know your patients will help you observe and understand their physical and mental state and provide them with the support they need.
RN: The duties of an RN are far more prescriptive. RN duties include operating medical equipment, administering medication and injections, and performing diagnostic tests. RNs also help with patient rehabilitation, ensuring that patients know how to manage their condition after being treated. RNs also act as supervisors. They help manage nursing assistants and home care aides.
LPN vs. RN: Salary
Everyone gets into nursing for different reasons, but money is always a significant consideration when choosing a career path. While higher pay isn't an end-all when choosing an entry-level nursing position, it's still an essential factor when making your decision.
RN: The average salary for an RN median salary is between $68,000 to $90,000 per year. RNs earn a higher salary by gaining more experience, getting promotions, or pursuing a nursing specialization.
LPN: An LPN earns between $43,000 to $45,000 a year. With experience, promotion, or advanced certifications, LPNs can make earn an even higher salary.
LPN vs. RN: Career Advancement Opportunities
LPN: With time and experience, you can move on to a supervisory role as an LPN. There are also more opportunities for advancement with specialized certifications in long-term care and hospice care.
RN: There are even more available paths to advancement as an RN. With the right education and experience, you can be an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) or even move on to the healthcare industry's business or tech side.
Get Started on Your Nursing Career with Achieve Test Prep
Are you an LPN thinking of taking the next step in your career? Achieve Test Prep has helped thousands of LPNs work towards earning their ADN or BSN. Our nursing bridge program makes achieving your RN faster and more affordable than ever. Not only do we work with you to make sure your previous college credits and work experience count toward your advanced degree, but we also help you test out of nursing prerequisites to earn your degree faster.
For more information on LPN to RN bridge programs or additional nursing programs, contact Achieve Test Prep.