Health Care Nurses: How Are Licensed Practical Nurses And Certified Nurse Assistants Different?


Certified Nurse Assistants (LNA) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) are necessary healthcare providers. There is an enormous overlap between the two healthcare nursing roles, but there are also a variety of prime differences. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) play vital roles in nursing care. The difference between Certified Nursing Assistant and Licensed Practical Nurse roles is often in the care they offer. Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs) support patients with their routine functions, such as bathing and eating. Licensed Practical Nurses do their basic nursing tasks, such as updating patient health records, monitoring medication, and assisting staff nurses. While both LPNs and CNAs are required to clear the certification examinations, only LPNs are licensed nurses.

If you are a medical aspirant and making efforts to choose between a CNA vs LPN, this complete guide will help you understand both nursing roles and the distinctions between them. So, let’s get started with the CNA vs LPN difference.

LPN Vs. CNA Salary Differences

Due to the more large-scale education and training, Licensed Practical Nurses earn more dollars than Certified Nurses Assistants. The average CNA income is lower than the U.S. average salary of $41,950, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In contrast, the U.S. median Licensed Practical Nursing salary is good enough. Salaries may vary depending on experience, kind of workplace, geographic region, and demand. 

LPN Vs. CNA Core Differences

Most Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) distinctions involve the scope of practice and training—the roles they are educated in and anticipated competent to perform.

Whereas hospitals and nursing homes are the most general workplaces for both kinds of healthcare nursing professionals; Licensed Practical Nurse work settings typically include physician cabins, unlike Certified Nursing Assistants. The table below maps out other differences, which describe much of the Certified Nursing Assistants’ and Licensed Practical Nurses’ salary distinctions. Here you will also learn about the LPN vs CNA tasks and many more substantial differences between both roles.

Kindly note that each city or region varies by demand.

Core Differences Between  Requirements To Become (Training, Coursework, Etc.) License/Certifications Scope Of Practical Duties & Responsibilities Work Environment
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Minimum one-year NCLEX-PN Limited and directed The LPN vs CNA duties is to  perform a few medical tasks

They are responsible for taking necessary signs

Administering medications

Helping physicians and other nurses 

Updating medical records

Nursing homes


Assisted living and other nursing facilities

Home healthcare

Physicians offices

Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Minimum four weeks State certification examination Assisting with daily living Include a few medical tasks

Take significant signs

Administer medications

Assist nurses and physicians

Updating patients’ medical records

Nursing homes


Helping to live 

Home healthcare

Government facilities

Whose Salary Is Higher, CNAs or LPNs?

Licensed Practical Nurses get paid more than Certified Nurse Assistants. Let’s figure out the CNA vs LPN salary. The average annual income of a Licensed Practical Nurse is $48,820, which is more than that of a CNA. CNAs earn $32,050 annually. The experience, facility type, local demand, and regional settings make a huge difference. The highest-paid Certified Nursing Assistants can earn more than a few Licensed Practical Nurses. Are you still wondering about the comparative difference between LPN vs. CNA salaries? Well, LPNs generally earn more.

Are Both LPN & CNA The Same?

An LPN is more similar to a CNA since they function in most nursing homes and healthcare settings and do a few basic healthcare duties. Even though a Licensed Practical Nurse concentrates on assisting physicians and nurses, most of their work is related to medical tasks. Whereas a Certified Nurse Assistant concentrates on helping physically or mentally ill patients with their daily life activities, such as bathing, eating, and dressing.


How much does an LPN make an hour?

The median LPN hourly salary is $23.00. The compensation you would expect to earn as an LPN will depend on experience, local cost of living, and your workplace.

Are Certified Nurses Assistants Considered Nurses?

CNAs or Certified Nurse Assistants are not considered nurses. The word nurse refers to a person who possesses a nursing license, either a licensed practical nurse (LPN),  registered nurse (RN), APRN, or advanced practice registered nurse. Several Certified Nurse Assistants become healthcare nurses by clearing the certification examination, taking auxiliary training, and becoming licensed.

LPN is an abbreviation of Licensed Practical Nurse, and CNA is a term that refers to Certified Nursing Assistants or Aides. Several scholars pursuing a nursing degree may find the distinction between these two terms slightly confusing. Well, the elucidation themselves tells a  lot of major differences. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are licensed nurses, while CNAs are merely certified nurses.

One of the prime differences between a CNA and an LPN is nursing service.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) have more duties than Certified Nursing Assistants. A Certified Nursing Assistant generally takes care of the daily life needs of a patient. Their fundamental responsibilities include serving food, dressing, bathing, cleaning up beds, and checking temperatures. A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) dresses wounds, monitors medications, takes pressure, checks catheters, and updates medical charts.

A Licensed Practical Nurse can perform the tasks of a Certified Nurse Assistant. On the other hand, a Certified Nurse Assistant cannot complete the job tasks of a Licensed Practical Nurse. However, LPNs have more direct exposure to patients than Certified Nurse Assistants.

There is also a difference in degrees in education between a CNA and an LPA. An aspirant willing to become an LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse will need to go through a one-year training and learning process that contains both theory and clinical practice. In contrast, a candidate can become a certified nurse assistant after taking a few weeks of training lessons. They need to simply learn some personal care skills, and nothing as difficult as a person who pursues a Licensed Practical Nursing exam.

To earn a nursing practice license, a Licensed Practical Nurse has to clear a state licensing test. On the other hand, a person is eligible for a CNA certification only after completing the training.

Some more minor differences can be observed between a Certified Nursing Assistant and a Licensed Practical Nurse, their handsome salary package. 

  • A Licensed Practical Nurse receives a better salary than a Certified Nurse Assistant.
  • LPNs are licensed nurses. On the other hand, CNAs are just certified nurses.
  • Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are supposed to perform more duties than Certified Nursing Assistants.
  • An LPN can manage the roles and responsibilities of a Certified Nurse Assistant. On the other hand, CNAs cannot perform the tasks and duties of a Licensed Practical Nurse.
  • Licensed Practical Nurses have more direct exposure to sick people than Certified Nurse Assistants.
  • A nursing aspirant willing to become a Licensed Practical Nurse must undergo a one-year course that contains both theory and clinical applications. In comparison, anybody can become a Certified Nurse Assistant after pursuing a few weeks of lessons.

If you have cleared the exam of LPN or have completed the course of certified nursing, you must be looking to get hired for the best possible facility in the USA. To get assigned the duties of a CNA or an LPN, visit the official website of I’Kare Consulting Firm and get hired at a handsome salary package. Read our eligibility criteria for more relevant positions. We have many lucrative job opportunities in the nursing field.

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