The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that employment of Registered Nurses will grow 19% through 2022.

There are some significant differences between Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs), as RNs have more extensive educational training. While an LPN helps with patient care and assisting nurses and physicians, RNs hold more responsibilities, including:

  • Helping to perform diagnostic tests
  • Creating plans for patient care
  • Administering treatments and/or medicine
  • Consulting with patients on illness management and home treatment
  • Operating medical equipment
  • Recording symptoms and medical histories
  • Administering blood products and IVs
  • Collaboration with all members of the health care team
  • Supervising LPNs and unlicensed personnel

In addition, RNs tend to hold more management positions, and are able to obtain additional certifications so they may specialize in areas such as critical care, emergency care, clinical care, pain management, medical-surgical, gerontology, midwifery, and neonatal.

In the future, if you’re thinking about progressing from Licensed Practical Nursing to becoming a Registered Nurse, there are two ways to go about it.

LPN to RN Programs

To become a Registered Nurse, you must get either an associate’s degree (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree (BSN). Graduates from both of these programs become RNs once they graduate and pass the NCLEX exam, but there are differences between these two degrees.

In general, BSN programs take approximately four years to complete; ADN programs can be completed in approximately 18-24 months. In some cases, nurses choose to take the ADN route to get themselves in the work force sooner, then go back to complete their BSN. Others who may already have a bachelor’s degree but develop an interest in nursing may obtain a BSN more quickly than four years.

Both programs have the core courses needed to teach nursing competencies, as well as the necessary clinical hours that provide hands-on learning experience. The biggest difference between the two programs when it comes to course work is that the BSN includes more classes that provide further scope into the nursing profession, such as management and leadership, social and physical sciences, research, and public health. The BSN includes these courses to bolster students’ understanding of patient care issues as well as their professional development.

Career opportunities and salaries for ADN vs. BSN Registered Nurses may or may not be significant. Like other positions, these differences depend on your state, city, and place of employment.

Opportunities: While both ADN and BSN RNs do most of the same tasks, RNs with their BSN may be given greater responsibility; because of the additional courses, BSN nurses may also be presented with more opportunities for management and leadership roles. Some specialties, such as nurse education and public health, require a BSN. The most common title for nurses with their BSN or ADN is Registered Nurse, however, these nurses may also go by the titles of Staff Nurse or Home Health Registered Nurse. Titles like Nurse Manager or Case Manager tend to be offered to nurses with a BSN, as they have likely taken courses that further their understanding of these professions.

Salary: In 2015, Registered Nurses (both ADN and BSN) reported a median annual salary of $67,490. The nursing field is expected to grow 16% through the year 2024, so job outlook for RNs is great.

While salary may not differ greatly between BSN and ADN RNs, BSN nurses do tend to have more job opportunities, which may lead to higher salaries overall.

If you’d like to learn more about LPN to ADN or LPN to BSN courses, read on.