If you’re thinking about becoming an LPN, you’ve probably thought some about other options too, such as becoming an RN. So what are the differences between a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Registered Nurse (RN)? Let’s take a look!
First of all, an LPN program generally takes less time to go though than RN program, although this may depend specifically on the school and a variety of other things too. RN programs generally take two years at a minimum, and at least four years in order to get a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). Some people may prefer to become an LPN first to see if they actually like nursing as a profession, and possibly so they can work to earn money while they are in school obtaining their RN or BSN. However, regardless of which path a person chooses, LPNs, RNs, and people who get a BSN all still have to take the NCLEX nursing exam test in order to become licensed.
That said, there are some significant differences between LPNs and RNs. One of the main differences aside from education length may be the difference in salary. According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPNs made, on average, $41,540 per year while RNs made, on average, $65,470 annually. These statistics from the BLS show that RNs make an average of $23,930 or 45% more per year, which is quite a significant difference.
In terms of job growth between 2012 and 2022, the BLS states that LPN jobs are predicted to grow at a rate of 25% which they classify as “much faster than average” while RN jobs are predicted to grow at a rate of 19% which they state is “faster than average.” However, the job growth rate doesn’t tell the entire tale, because there may be a wider range of jobs available for RNs than LPNs because there are simply more specialties. LPNs work under the supervision of RNs and typically perform the same set of skills, where RNs may be surgical nurses, hospital nurses, recovery room nurses, and work in variety of other special situations that LPNs can’t work in, which means it’s possible (but not guaranteed) that they may have an easier time finding a job.
As previously mentioned, because LPNs work under the supervision of RNs in many situations, they may not have a much freedom when it comes to the tasks that they do, which may mean that being an RN might be more enjoyable to some people as well due to the wider range of duties and responsibilities. An RN can pretty much work anywhere where a medical team is needed, and provide more care to patients on their own than an LPN can, so that’s something to consider if you’re thinking about both professions. After taking the time to read this page, hopefully you have got a more solid idea of the differences between LPNs and RNs.
Thinking about becoming a Registered Nurse? See our LPN to RN guide here.