LPN vs RN Nurses: Understanding The Key Differences


Are you looking to start a career in the nursing industry? 

Before you proceed, you must know LPN vs RN, or we should say, the difference between them. Also, the demand for both types of nurses is rising continuously. Also, both of the positions are great career options for the nursing industry. However, to choose the one you must opt for, it’s necessary to know the differences. 

Even though they sound similar, LPN and RN have major differences. Having complete knowledge of both nursing profiles makes your career path easy. Both the nurses provide care to the patients. Still, you can see a huge difference between their roles, salary, skills, and education. If you want to know how LPN differs from RN, read this post until the end.

LPN vs RN: An Overview

To understand the major difference between these nurse roles, you should have an overview of LPN and RN.


Licensed Practical Nurse(LPN) have to pass the nursing program. To get the license, nurses have to clear the NCLEX-PN exam. You can easily notice LPN nurses performing roles in nursing homes. Their daily duties include providing care to patients. LPN nurses work under the supervision of doctors.


Registered nurses (RN) have to first complete the nursing diploma. However, they need to complete two years of service to get registered. These nurses also need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Their job is to supervise LPNs. As a leader, these nurses contribute to medical duties.

Difference Between The Role Of LPN And RN

The thing which makes LPNs different from RN is their role or duties. Both nurses work in the medical industry, but their duties vary according to their experience.

Role Of LPN

When it comes to the role of LPNs, these nurses contribute to the patients. Their daily role is to take care of the patient’s basic needs.

The role of licensed practical nurses is to:

  • Manage daily reports.
  • Monitor patient’s health.
  • Check blood pressure and temperature.
  • Change bandages regularly.
  • Share daily reports with RNs.
  • Assist medical staff.
  • Transfer patients from the ward.
  • Communicate with families.
  • Insert urinary catheters.
  • Make treatment plans for patients.

Role Of RN

The registered nurse provides a higher level of care to the patients. They must manage the facilities. RN performs all the duties of LPNs and supervises them.

The additional duties of RN in the medical industry are to:

  • Analyze the patient’s report.
  • Distribute medicines.
  • Perform various tests.
  • Collect blood samples.
  • Educate patients and their families about treatment.
  • Collaborate with doctors and specialists.
  • Determine treatment plans.
  • Supervise LPNs regularly.

Educational Difference Between LPN vs RN

The educational requirements are common for both roles. LPN and RN require at least post-secondary education. Moreover, they need to get a license from the state board of nursing. Also, LPN programs require at least a 12-month diploma in nursing.

The various concepts LPNs should know are as follows:

  • Human development
  • Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychology
  • Nursing care
  • Patient safety
  • Mental health

On the other hand, RNs must complete an associate degree in nursing. Their degree program is of four years. After that, RNs can apply for registration.

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The various concepts of their coursework include:

  • Advance assessment skills
  • Nursing research
  • Computer skills
  • Management and Leadership
  • Biomedical
  • Chemistry
  • Nutrition
  • Emergency care
  • Microbiology

These are basic qualifications required to have the LPN and RN jobs. Moreover, to get the license, you must pass the exams. Practical experience in handling patients is also crucial.

Salary Of LPN And RN 

There is a slight difference between LPN vs RN salary. Registered nurses get higher rates as they opt for a higher job role. According to the study, the average salary of an LPN is $50,000 per year. On the other hand, these nurses receive $23.50 per hour. In this profession, you can expect a hike of 9% in salary every year.

The RNs earn approx $75,000-$80,000 per year. When these nurses work at an hourly rate, they are paid an average of $36.50. If we talk about the salary hike, RNs easily receive a 7% increment annually.

However, the salary in this profession varies according to experience and education level. Nurses with more than five years of practical experience can expect higher salaries.

Difference Between LPN And RN Licensing

The certification and licensing play an important role in deciding the scope of LPN and RN. Both LPN and RN nursing candidates are required to pass the license examination.  

LPN Licensing

First of all, nursing students need to complete a practical nursing program. After that, they need to pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Then, these nurses are eligible to work as licensed practical nurses.

RN Licensing

The RNs also need to complete a state-approved nursing program. After that, they have to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is specifically designed for providing a registered nurse license. Additionally, RNs need to be certified in special areas to get registered. 

Candidates can choose their expertise areas from the emergency department, delivery, and critical care. After working in a department for one year, these nurses are eligible for RN licensing.

Advance Career Options In LPN And RN

There are various advanced career options in both LPN and RN. Both nurses can take certain steps to get into higher positions. 

LPN Career Options

LPNs can apply for supervisor positions after gaining experience. Moreover, these nurses also prepare for the RN exam. As they are familiar with the medical process, it’s easier for them to advance their career. 

Additionally, LPNs also gain specialty in a certain field. Also, there are higher chances of success in the nursing industry when you have expertise.

RN Career Options

The majority of RNs start with staff nurses. With experience and education, these nurses can prepare for management positions. Moreover, they also have an option to become the chief of nursing. After gaining a higher license, RNs can even start their own nursing home.

Which Is Better, LPN vs RN?

When it comes to choosing an LPN or RN career, both of the roles offer great career opportunities. The demand for LPNs and RNs is increasing day by day. We hope that knowing the difference between LPNs and RNs has clarified your mind. 

According to us, as nurses can easily apply for higher positions by passing exams, LPN is the best choice to start a career in the industry. The students who seek jobs after graduation can apply for this role. However, if you want to go for an advanced option, then prepare for an RN job. For this job, you need to pass the higher level exam. Also, to register, you need to have expertise in a particular medical field.


Most aspiring nurses confuse LPN vs RN terms. Knowing the difference between their duties, salary, and licenses is important. Both nurses contribute to the patient’s health. The licensed nurses perform the basic duties, whereas RNs supervise and manage medical staff. Thus, based on their roles, there is a slight difference between the salaries of these nurses. 

An RN earns more money compared to LPN. However, both of these nurses have career advancement options. Also, after gaining experience and expertise, both can apply for higher positions. If you still have doubts about which way to go, you should use our consulting services.

I’Kare Consulting firm offers career options in the medical industry. We are a trusted healthcare staffing agency that simplifies careers. With us, you will find great opportunities in the medical industry. To kickstart your nursing career, contact us now.


What Is The Difference Between LPN And RN?

LPNs provide basic care to the patients. Thus, their duties include assisting the doctors in performing surgeries. However, RN provides advanced facilities to patients. Their role is to manage the medical facilities and supervise LPNs.

How Long Does It Take To Become RN?

If you are working as an LPN currently, then you can start preparing for the NCLEX-RN exam. After passing an exam, you must work in a specialty field for one year. The average time to become RN is 2-4 years.

Should I Become An LPN Or RN?

It must be your personal choice to choose between LPN or RN. Both nursing careers have bright futures. The LPN program length is one year, whereas RN is 2-4 years.

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