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LPN VS. RN – What are the Key Similarities and Differences?


Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

The American healthcare system relies upon two types of nurses: registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs). In California and Texas, LPNs are known as LVNs (licensed vocational nurses). What are the similarities and differences between LPN vs. RN? LPNs have less education than RNs, so in theory, at least, LPNs have a far more limited scope of practice and thus can perform fewer tasks.

In actuality, however, the essential differences between LPNs and RNs are not task-related. Instead, they have to do with the extent to which LPNs are allowed to exercise nursing judgment to initiate or change the delivery of the care they are under orders to carry out. In many acute healthcare settings, LPNs are being phased out in favor of more highly educated RNs who can perform a wider range of duties. Keep reading to find out the full scoop on the key similarities and differences between LPN vs. RN.


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What Is An LPN?


LPNs are licensed healthcare professionals who deliver basic nursing care. The definition of “basic nursing care” varies from state to state as well as from practice setting to practice setting and employer to employer, but much of it has to do with tasks that are necessary for patient comfort. Thus, LPNs often assist medically fragile patients with tasks like bathing, dressing, eating, and ambulating. LPNs may also administer medications, change wound dressings and check vital signs.

One of the biggest differences between LPN versus RN is that in most states, LPNs are not allowed to perform any function pertaining to the management of healthcare delivery. This means they may not independently deliver nursing care plans, make changes in nursing care plans or do any type of nursing triage, whether in person or over the phone.


What Is An RN?


RNs are licensed healthcare professionals who provide the healthcare services ordered by physicians, physician assistants (PAs), and nurse practitioners (NPs). A key difference between RN and LPN is that RNs are charged with managing as well as delivering healthcare services. Formulating nursing care plans is a major part of the nursing process taught in both Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs. An RN’s specific responsibilities are stipulated by the nurse practice act in the state where he or she is employed but also vary according to practice setting and employer guidelines.



LPN VS. RN: SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON

(The following is a side-by-side comparison of LPN vs. RN.)

What Are The Main Duties Of An LPN?

What Are The Main Duties Of An RN?

The scope of practice for an LPN is broadly defined. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPNs provide for the basic comfort of their patients, administer basic patient care (such as changing bandages and inserting catheters) and report on their patients’ health status to higher-ups in the chain of command at their place of employment.

Every state allows LPNs to draw blood although some states may require them to complete a phlebotomy course first. In every state, LPNs can administer intravenous medications although some states require the completion of a board-approved IV course first while other states only allow IV medication administration under the direction of a supervising RN. Many states restrict the ability of LPNs to administer hemodialysis or push IV drugs.
The main difference between LPN vs. RN job duties has to do with nursing assessments: RNs can do them, and LPNs can’t. The scope of practice for RNs is broadly defined, but most RNs juggle some combination of clinical and administrative duties.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, responsibilities most likely to be assigned to RNs include assessing a patient’s health-related status, recording medical histories, administering medications and health-related treatments, educating patients, and using and monitoring medical equipment. While a large part of an RN’s work consists of providing clinical care to ill, injured, convalescing or disabled patients, RNs are also involved in patient education, and offer emotional and psychological support to patients as needed.

Where Does An LPN Work?

Where Does An RN Work?

LPNs have a versatile skill set, which allows them to work in a range of practice settings, including:

• Nursing homes and nursing care facilities:

Residential care facilities employ 38 percent of all LPNs. In long-term care facilities, LPNs are supervised by RNs.

• Hospitals:

Fourteen percent of LPNs work in medical centers, most frequently on maternity wards, in emergency rooms, and in surgical units. LPNs typically function as part of a multidisciplinary team where they supervise nursing aides and are supervised in turn by RNs.

• Physicians’ offices:

Thirteen percent of LPNs work in physician practices where they’re typically managed by a physician. Physician practices may be one of the best places for LPNs to expand their skill sets because they have the opportunity to perform more sophisticated medical procedures as their employers come to know and trust them.

• Home healthcare agencies:

Home healthcare agencies employ 12 percent of all LPNs. Most home healthcare agencies prefer six months or more experience working in a long-term care facility before they will consider hiring you.

• Outpatient care centers:

LPNs are frequently employed by specialty care centers such as wound care, dialysis, and addiction clinics.
RNs comprise the largest professional segment of the healthcare-related workforce and are employed in a variety of occupational settings, including:

• Hospitals:

Sixty-one percent of all RNs work in medical centers.

• Outpatient care centers:

Ambulatory healthcare services such as emergency rooms, urgent care clinics, community health centers and ambulatory surgery centers employ 18 percent of all registered nurses.

• Nursing homes and nursing care facilities:

Registered nurses who work in residential care facilities account for 6 percent of the RN workforce.

• Government:

Five percent of all RNs work for governmental entities like Medicare, Medicaid, health departments at the state and federal level, and Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospitals.

• Educational system:

Elementary schools, middle schools and high schools employ 3 percent of all RNs.

What Is The Work Environment Like For An LPN?

What Is The Work Environment Like For An RN?

In hospital settings, an LPN’s primary responsibilities are mostly medical and include tasks like passing medications, administering injections, performing treatments such as catheterization and tracheostomy care, cleaning and dressing wounds, and collecting laboratory samples. In hospitals, however, LPN duties are more limited as are professional advancement opportunities.

LPNs in nursing homes tend to do fewer clinical interventions, mostly offering assistance with routine activities of everyday life such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and eating. But they do have more opportunities for career advancement. In 2011, the National League for Nursing reported that newly licensed LPNs in long-term care were almost six times as likely to have administrative responsibilities as their counterparts in hospitals were. LPNs in long-term care facilities have more chances to move up the ranks. They often supervise the nursing assistants who perform basic duties such as bathing and changing bed pans.

Physician practices present LPNs with the best opportunity to expand their clinical skill sets because once physicians get to know and trust an LPN, it’s not uncommon for those physicians to assign LPNs responsibilities that are technically beyond an LPN’s scope of practice. In such instances, the physician may be legally liable for the tasks an LPN performs. LPNs in physicians’ offices may also perform administrative duties such as taking calls and preparing insurance claims in addition to their clinical work.

The type of home care LPNs provide and the number of hours they spend in a patient’s home depends upon what that patient needs.
In hospitals, RNs work as members of a healthcare team. The exact nature of the clinical tasks they perform depends upon the type of facility the RN is employed by as well as the specialty unit. Common RN specialties include ICU nursing, medical/surgical (med/surg) nursing, pediatric nursing, and oncology nursing.

Registered nurses who work in outpatient care clinics help treat large volumes of patients in short periods of time. They typically provide treatments under the supervision of a physician, a PA, or an NP. In addition to assisting with treatments, RNs in this practice setting administer IV medications and monitor patients before and after medical treatments. They may also help with diagnostic tests and provide patient education.

In nursing care facilities, RNs are chiefly employed to supervise LPNs and nursing assistants, and administer certain medications. School nurses chiefly deal with minor injuries and acute ailments, but they also support students with chronic illnesses and disabilities—for example, a school nurse may be charged with giving insulin injections to a diabetic student. LPNs can also work as school nurses in some states so long as they’re under the supervision of a registered nurse.

Home healthcare registered nurses are tasked with providing any follow-up care indicated in a patient’s discharge orders that’s beyond the scope of practice of the LPNs and nursing assistants who also work for the home healthcare agency. Home healthcare RNs may also be responsible for supervising LPNs and nursing assistants.

What Is The Typical Work Schedule For An LPN?

What Is The Typical Work Schedule For An RN?

There isn’t a lot of difference between LPN vs. RN work schedules. Working hours for both types of nurses depend upon the needs of the facilities where they’re employed. LPNs who work in hospitals and nursing facilities are more likely to work eight-hour shifts than 12-hour shifts because the nature of their work means they’re more likely to be on their feet. The workday at hospitals or nursing facilities that employ large numbers of LPNs tend to be divided into a day shift (7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.), a swing shift (3:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.) and a night shift (11:00 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.), and LPNs work all three shifts.

LPNs who work in physician offices or outpatient care clinics work 8-hour shifts as well. Their shifts are staggered during the hours those practices are open, which is usually 9 to 5, on weekdays, some evenings, and possibly on Saturdays. LPNs who do home care through home healthcare agencies work any hours their patients need them.
RNs who work in hospitals are more likely to work 12-hour shifts than LPNs are. Typically, they will work three 12-hour shifts a week. In outpatient care centers, however, RNs will usually work eight-hour shifts unless they’re working in an emergency room that’s affiliated with a medical center where 12-hour shifts for RNs are the norm.

Most nursing care facilities still adhere to the standard of three eight-hour shifts (though a few are shifting to 12-hour shifts). That means if the facility is short-staffed and RNs are asked to do overtime, they will be paid at time and a half per the stipulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

School nurses work school hours, which can vary considerably from school district to school district even within the same state but are usually 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m.

RNs who work at home healthcare agencies generally have great leeway over their work schedules. If they work in a supervisory capacity, they typically keep regular office hours; if they see patients, the time they spend driving between patient homes is compensated as well as the time they spend with patients.

What Are The Most Common Traits Of Successful LPNs?

What Are The Most Common Traits Of Successful RNs?

It takes a special kind of person to be a successful LPN. If you have the following personality traits, you may have what it takes.

1. Patience:

LPNs frequently work more closely with patients than RNs do because LPNs often help patients with intimate activities like bathing and dressing. When people are injured or ill, they often get cranky—and so do their family members. But good LPNs never rise to that bait. A good LPN never says or does anything that may escalate a patient’s stress.

2. Cheerfulness:

LPNs must be able to connect with their patients without being bogged down by emotions like anger, anxiety, fear, or depression. This requires emotional stability and a cheerful disposition.

3. Team player:

LPNs function as part of a healthcare team that also includes nursing assistants, other LPNs, RNs, and physicians. In the end, though, it’s physicians that are the final arbitrators of decisions involving patients. LPNs must accept that without talking behind the physician’s back or lashing out in other ways. That’s an important part of being a professional.

4. Nonjudgmental:

Because of the intimate nature of the work LPNs do with patients, patients will often speak in an unguarded manner around LPNs and may express opinions LPNs don’t agree with. LPNs must never allow their moral judgments to interfere with the care they give.

5. Good communication skills:

LPNs interact on a daily basis with a wide range of patients as well as with family members, RNs, physicians, and ancillary healthcare workers. They need to be able to communicate effectively and hear what is being said to them, especially when it comes to patient orders. Communication courses are a routine part of LPN education.
Many of the character traits found in the ideal RN are also traits found in the ideal LPN. Registered nurses with the following personality qualities will have an easier time navigating the fast-paced and ever-changing world of healthcare.

1. Attention to detail:

Paying attention to details is critically important for RNs because the consequences can be dire if they give an incorrect dose of medication, incorrectly program an IV pump, or commit another type of careless error. Successful nurses make sure the orders they’re given are followed to the letter.

2. Excellent executive functioning:

RNs are frequently charged with juggling 10 different issues at the same time. They must understand how to prioritize these issues and how to apply logic when deciding upon the right solution. This calls for highly developed organizational abilities.

3. Patience:

RNs must avoid losing their cool, no matter how stressful the situation they’re dealing with may be. Patience reduces stressful emotions like anger and frustration and can help registered nurses avoid burnout.

4. Empathy:

There’s more to patients than their medical status. Empathy is one of the most important qualities that RNs can possess because it’s essential in helping registered nurses maintain dialogues with their patients. Empathy promotes higher rates of patient compliance with medical orders and is correlated with improved patient outcomes.

5. Good communication skills:

Every aspect of an RN’s job from taking orders to charting depends upon strong verbal and written communication skills. Good communication skills ensure the continuity of patient care throughout all parts of the healthcare system, and this, in turn, improves patient outcomes.

What Are The Most Important Skills Required To Work As An LPN?

What Are The Most Important Skills Required To Work As An RN?

Skills are the specific competencies you’ll need to fulfill the operational tasks your job calls for. At minimum, successful LPNs must be able to demonstrate the following five skills:

1. Motor coordination:

An LPN’s work is very physical. An LPN’s motor coordination needs to be up to performing the basic nursing functions the job entails such as lifting and positioning patients, transporting patients, assisting with ambulation, administering injections, and inserting catheters.

2. Clinical expertise:

LPNs need to be able to anticipate issues their patients may be facing, using indicators like skin color, respiratory rate, pulse, and blood pressure.

3. Computer skills:

The days of written nursing notes are gone forever. These days, all patient records—including nursing notes—are compiled electronically. In every state, an LPN’s scope of practice allows him or her to make entries in a patient’s electronic health record (EHR) although some hospitals and other employers may put some restrictions on the recording process. In any event, LPNs must be comfortable enough using computers to be able to write digital nursing notes.

4. Time management:

LPNs with solid time management skills take better care of their patients and are better at avoiding burnout. Strong time management skills will help you prioritize and delegate more effectively, anticipate your patients’ needs and juggle your own life/work balance more competently.

5. Knowledge of medical terminology:

Medical terminology is incorporated into the questions on the NCLEX-PN exam, so you will have difficulties passing this exam without a strong working knowledge of medical terminology. More importantly, though, an understanding of medical terminology helps LPNs communicate more productively with physicians, RNs, and other healthcare professionals.
RNs acquire the skills they need to shine in the workplace through a combination of education and occupational experience. Here are five vital competencies that every registered nurse should be able to demonstrate:

1. Assessment:

An important difference between LPN vs. RN scope of practice is that LPNs are not allowed to do clinical assessments (although they may contribute to an RN’s clinical assessment.) A nursing assessment is quite distinct from a medical diagnosis: Diagnoses deal with medical conditions; nursing assessments deal with a patient’s response to a medical condition. Accurate patient assessments are one of the most important tasks that registered nurses are called upon to perform.

2. Clinical know-how:

RNs must have all the clinical skills that LPNs have and then some. Nursing programs teach registered nurses the fundamentals of working with IVs, phlebotomy, dressing changes, telemetry and peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC line) care, but most registered nurses gain their actual expertise on the job.

3. Case management:

RNs work with many patients on a daily basis. They must develop skills that allow them to juggle multiple patient care plans and sets of physician orders at the same time. Additionally, they must monitor their patients to help ensure all patient needs are met. This is an informal example of case management.

4. Writing a care plan:

The nursing care plan is a formal document that describes the types of nursing interventions a patient needs. Nursing care plans help ensure the consistency of patient care when more than one care provider is involved—as is almost always the case in most healthcare practice settings. Nursing care plans also provide a basis for communication among members of the healthcare team.

5. Life-saving protocols:

Both LPNs and RNs need to know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but RNs are also required to have basic and advanced training in life-saving protocols such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) so that they can participate effectively in Code Blue situations.

What Is The Scope Of Practice For An LPN?

What Is The Scope Of Practice For An RN?

The scope of practice for a licensed practical nurse varies from state to state, but in most states, the key difference between LPN vs. RN scope of practice is that registered nurses are authorized to do nursing assessments while LPNs are not. Since a nursing assessment initiates the data collection process that’s the first step in writing a nursing care plan, this limitation on an LPN’s scope of practice essentially mean that LPNs cannot write nursing care plans—though they can contribute to care plans if an RN or a physician signs off on their contribution. In most states, the scope of practice for registered nurses is legally defined in the same nurse practice act and administered by the same board of nursing that oversees the scope of practice for licensed practical nurses. (These boards of nursing also oversee licensing requirements.) RNs have a broader scope of practice than LPNs, which reflects their more extensive education. But an employer may restrict an RN’s scope of practice or require specialty certifications before an RN can practice to the full extent of his or her training.

Does The Scope Of Practice For An LPN Differ From State To State?

Does The Scope Of Practice For An RN Differ From State To State?

An LPN’s scope of practice varies depending upon the state in which he or she is practicing. Nurse practice acts in most states contain at least a cursory description of an LPN’s scope of practice, but there are no specific laws defining LPN scope of practice in Hawaii, Indiana, Oregon and Vermont, from which it can be inferred that LPNs in those states can perform the functions they were trained to do and that the facility that employs them allows them to do.Similarly, the services that registered nurses are deemed competent to undertake vary from state to state, but that variation is greatest and has the most significant impact on actual practice when it comes to advanced practice RNs. RNs who live in any of the 34 Nurse Licensure Compact states share the same scope of practice, or their licenses would not be reciprocal.

What Types Of Educational Options Are There To Become An LPN?

What Types Of Educational Options Are There To Become An RN?

To become an LPN, you must complete a diploma in practical nursing through an accredited educational program. (Unaccredited programs do exist, but your state board of nursing may choose not to let you take the NCLEX-PN if you graduate from one.) Accredited LPN programs are offered at community colleges, trade schools, and technical schools. Acceptance requires a high school diploma or a GED.

Most LPN diploma programs take a year to complete, but a few can be as short as seven months or as long as 24 months. The curricula include classroom coursework, skills labs, and clinical rotations. Online programs are available, but clinical rotations always require your physical presence.
All three of the educational avenues open to individuals who want to become registered nurses require a high school diploma or a GED.

• Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN):

ADN programs can be pursued at local community colleges or through online programs associated with colleges and universities. Required coursework varies by school but usually involves the completion of approximately 70 credits that include a liberal arts core curriculum, classes that focus on nursing skills, and clinical rotations.

• Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN):

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) believes the BSN prepares RNs for professional careers more thoroughly than the ADN or the nursing diploma. BSN programs can be pursued at colleges and universities through traditional campus classes or through online options. BSN coursework typically requires the completion of 120 credits. In addition to the coursework offered in ADN programs, BSN students also take courses on nursing theory, nurse leadership, public health, pharmacology, and ethics.

• Nursing diploma or certificate:

Diploma nursing students take classes and receive clinical training at nursing schools that are affiliated with hospitals or other medical facilities. Their coursework focuses on the practical aspects of nursing care but still prepares them to take the NCLEX-RN. Through the 1960s, most RNs in the U.S. graduated from hospital diploma programs, but fewer than 100 such programs remain today.

What Is The Minimum Education Required To Become An LPN?

What Is The Minimum Education Required To Become An RN?

The minimum requirement to become an LPN is a GED or high school diploma plus graduation from a one-year LPN diploma program. LPN diploma programs combine classroom study and supervised clinical practice that typically entails several hundred hours of practice under the oversight of a licensed RN.The minimum requirement to become an RN is a GED or high school diploma plus graduation from an ADN program. ADN programs typically require one to two years to complete. The ADN curriculum encompasses both coursework and clinical rotations in medical facilities that use licensed RNs as preceptors.

What Are The Licensure Requirements To Become An LPN?

What Are The Licensure Requirements To Become An RN?

LPN licensing requirements vary from state to state, but they typically involve graduating from an accredited diploma program and passing the NCLEX-PN. (Note that a few states will license LPNs who have received their nursing training through the military rather than by completing an accredited course of study.) The fee for taking the NCLEX-PN is $200, and the exam utilizes computerized adaptive testing.

You will need your state board of nursing’s permission to sit for the NCLEX-PN, which means you’ll have to turn in your licensing application before the exam takes place. A few states issue temporary licenses that allow LPNs who are waiting to take the exam to work; if they fail to pass the exam, their temporary license is revoked. Most states also do criminal background checks on LPN candidates before issuing licenses.
Different states have different licensing requirements for registered nurses. These unique requirements are detailed in each state’s Nurse Practice Act. License application fees, the length of the application process and the circumstances under which temporary permits are awarded vary from location to location.

In all 50 states, however, you must prove that you’ve graduated from a nursing education program that meets your state board of nursing’s standards before that board of nursing will permit you to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. The NCLEX-RN feel is $200, and like the NCLEX-PN, it utilizes computerized adaptive testing. Most states also require you to pass a criminal background check before they will issue you a registered nurse license.

How Much Does It Cost To Become An LPN?

How Much Does It Cost To Become An RN?

Becoming an LPN can cost you anywhere between $6,000 and $32,000. Tuition is likely to be your largest expense. The tuition for an LPN diploma program ranges from $4,000 to $30,000, depending upon the program you choose. Books, stethoscopes, uniforms and other nursing supplies can easily cost an additional $1,000; the NCLEX-PN, a solid prep course and licensing fees are likely to cost you an additional $1,000. Becoming an RN can cost you anywhere between $8,000 and $140,000. Once again, the highest expense will be tuition. A significant difference between LPN vs. RN is that RN nursing programs—even the economical ADN degree—are far more expensive than LPN educational programs. You can expect to spend $6,000 if you pursue an ADN through a public community college and up to $30,000 if you pursue an ADN through a vocational school.

Attaining a four-year BSN degree costs considerably more. According to U.S. News & World Report, tuition for four years at a public university will set you back as much as $40,000, while tuition at a private college or university will set you back as much as $135,000. Incidentals such as books, uniforms, nursing supplies, the NCLEX (and a prep class) and your state’s licensing fees are likely to cost another $5,000.

How Long Does It Take To Become An LPN?

How Long Does It Take To Become An RN?

Becoming a licensed practical nurse is likely to take you between 18 months and two years. It will take you a year of formal education to earn your LPN certificate diploma. Following that, you’ll spend approximately six months studying for and passing your LPN-PN. Then the board of nursing in the state where you’re applying for licensure may take as long as six months to approve your license application.Depending upon the length of the nursing program you enroll in, it can take anywhere between two years and five years to become a registered nurse. You can complete an ADN program in as little as 18 months but a BSN program typically takes four years to complete. You’ll need give yourself another six months to study for and pass the NCLEX-RN. (You may not need that long, but the NCLEX-RN is a difficult test, so it’s best to err on the long side here.) And your state board of nursing may take as long as six months to approve your nursing license application.

How Long Does It Take To Become An LPN?

How Long Does It Take To Become An RN?

Becoming a licensed practical nurse is likely to take you between 18 months and two years. It will take you a year of formal education to earn your LPN certificate diploma. Following that, you’ll spend approximately six months studying for and passing your LPN-PN. Then the board of nursing in the state where you’re applying for licensure may take as long as six months to approve your license application.Depending upon the length of the nursing program you enroll in, it can take anywhere between two years and five years to become a registered nurse. You can complete an ADN program in as little as 18 months but a BSN program typically takes four years to complete. You’ll need give yourself another six months to study for and pass the NCLEX-RN. (You may not need that long, but the NCLEX-RN is a difficult test, so it’s best to err on the long side here.) And your state board of nursing may take as long as six months to approve your nursing license application.

What Are The Continuing Education Requirements For An LPN?

What Are The Continuing Education Requirements For An RN?

LPNs must renew their nursing licenses every two years. In 12 states—Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin—LPN license renewal has no continuing education requirement. The continuing education requirement in the other 38 states varies between 15 and 30 continuing education units (CEUs).Boards of nursing in all states except Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin require registered nurses to complete a certain number of CEUs whenever they want to renew their nursing licenses. The actual number of CEUs varies from state to state. Additionally, some states stipulate a particular type of CEU: In Delaware, for example, RNs must complete at least three contact hours in the area of substance abuse, while Nevada imposes a one-time bio-terrorism course requirement on both RNs and LPNs.

What Types Of Specialization Options Are There For An LPN?

What Types Of Specialization Options Are There For An RN?

Another difference between LPN vs. RN is that LPNs have fewer specialization options open to them. LPN specialty certifications require licensed practical nurses to complete additional coursework, do fieldwork and pass a qualifying examination. Twenty-two specialty certifications exist for licensed practical nurses, but this is only approximately one-sixth of the number of specialty certification options open to registered nurses. The most popular specialty certifications open to LPNs include:

• IV therapy:

Most states require this certification before LPNs will be allowed to start intravenous lines or administer IV therapies.

• Wound care:

LPNs with three years of clinical experience are eligible to take the national wound care certification examination.

• Hospice and palliative care:

This certification gives LPNs additional tools to help people and families who are facing the end of life.

• Long-term care:

The majority of LPNs work in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, so this is an extremely useful certification for licensed practical nurses.

• Nephrology:

Even when they are IV-certified, LPNs are not allowed to participate in hemodialysis procedures without a nephrology certification.
As noted above, a significant RN vs. LPN distinction is that RNs have 138 certification specializations available to them, while LPNs have just 22. Certifications indicate that a registered nurse has an advanced level of competency in a specific healthcare area. Some of the most popular certifications for registered nurses include:

• Critical care registered nurse (CCRN):

The CCRN certification indicates to prospective employers that a registered nurse has the specialized skill set that will allow him or her to practice safely in an intensive care units.

• Oncology certified nurse (OCN):

The OCN certification validates an RN’s commitment to superior standards of care when dealing with patients who have cancer.

• Certified emergency nurse (CEN):

Nearly 40,000 RNs possess the CEN certification. The CEN validates mastery of a complex body of knowledge and clinical competence across the emergency nursing spectrum.

• Certified plastic surgery nurse (CPSN):

This is one of the top certifications available for registered nurses who want to specialize in aesthetic or cosmetic services.

• Legal nurse consultant certified (LNCC):

Legal nurse consultants analyze issues related to healthcare delivery that arise during the practice of law.

What Types Of Career Advancement Opportunities Are There For An LPN?

What Types Of Career Advancement Opportunities Are There For An RN?

The most popular avenue for career advancement among licensed practical nurses is the pursuit of an RN license. Though demand for LPN services continues to be strong in long-term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, hospice and home health agencies, many hospitals and medical centers are moving away from hiring LPNs, so becoming an RN offers LPNs many more employment opportunities.

Attaining an RN license involves completing a registered nursing education program and successfully passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Customized programs exist that specialize in helping LPNs attain their RN licenses. Most licensed practical nurses who go this route pursue BSN programs.
Similarly, registered nurses looking for ways to advance their careers often choose to go back to school to earn their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees. Both degrees allow RNs to become advanced practice RNs (APRN) with an expanded scope of practice. RNs can choose to specialize in clinical care to become nurse practitioners, or they can focus on leadership studies that train them to take on executive healthcare roles.

RNs don’t need to be APRNs in order to climb the executive ladder, though. Many RNs with BSNs are hired as nursing directors, assistant nursing directors and chief nursing officers at medical centers and long-term nursing care facilities.

What Types Of Professional Organizations Are There For LPNs?

What Types Of Professional Organizations Are There For RNs?

National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses (NALPN):

NALPN is a professional organization for licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses with chapters in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The organization was founded in 1949. NALPN offers members access to CEUs and specialty certifications, professional guidance, and networking opportunities. It also offers scholarship opportunities for LPN students. Fees are $100 annually for active members and $65 annually for retired members.

National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service (NAPNES):

NAPNES offers four types of memberships for LPNs and LVNs, LPN/LVN educators, LPN/LVN students and agencies that work with LPNs and LVNs. It’s essentially an advocacy group that represents LPNs at national conferences, regulatory meetings and high-level hearings where nursing policy is made. Additionally, the organization does original research into issues that affect LPNs and offers discounts on continuing education classes, certification renewals, and professional conferences. Individual memberships are $75 a year while educator memberships are $50 a year.

American Society of Registered Nurses (ASRN):

ASRN publishes four prestigious nursing journals: The Journal of Nursing, The Journal of Advanced Practical Nursing, Nursing Today, and The Chronicle of Nursing. The association has eight levels of membership: full membership, associate membership, student membership, retired membership, disabled membership, international membership, affiliate membership, and organizational membership. All individual membership fees are $50 a year; affiliate memberships are $75 annually while organizational memberships are $300 annually. ASRN sponsors a National Honor Society for nurses and also offers grants, fellowships and scholarships for undergraduate and graduate nursing students.

American Nurses Association (ANA):

With more than 163,000 active members, ANA is the premier professional organization for registered nurses in the U.S. ANA advocates on health care issues that affect registered nurses and the general public, and publishes two professional journals: American Nurse Today and The American Nurse. Membership benefits include discounts on continuing education classes, certifications and various types of insurance; networking opportunities; and career development opportunities that vary by state. Individual memberships cost $180 annually.

National Student Nurses Association (NSNA):

As its name suggests, NSNA represents the professional interests of more than 60,000 nursing students. It sponsors an annual convention every spring that features keynote speakers, a poster exhibit hall, networking opportunities, and a mini-NCLEX-RN review session. NSNA also sponsors a midyear conference that focuses on career development workshops as well as a summer leadership conference. Dues are $30 a year.

How Many LPNs Are Currently Employed In The U.S?

How Many RNs Are Currently Employed In The U.S?

Some 641,240 licensed practical nurses are currently employed in the U.S. Nursing homes and other residential care facilities are the largest employers with more than 243,000 LPNs on their payrolls. Hospitals are the second-largest employers with nearly 90,000 LPN employees.

641,240
(Source: U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics)
A noteworthy difference between LPN versus RN is the distinction between the number of LPN employees and RN employees: 3,047,530 registered nurses are currently employed in the U.S., making RNs the largest group of healthcare professionals in the nation.

3,047,530
(Source: U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics)

How Many Annual Job Openings Are There For LPNs?

How Many Annual Job Openings Are There For RNs?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 60,700 jobs for licensed practical nurses open up every year. Only 6,380 of those jobs, however, are newly created positions. Some 54,320 of those job openings represent employment vacancies created when LPNs retired, moved away, or quit for some other reason.

New JobsReplacement
Jobs
Annual Job Openings
(New + Replacement)
6,38054,32060,700
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The nursing shortage in the U.S. was greatly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some 194,500 new employment opportunities for RNs open up every year. Of these, 166,820 vacancies represent replacement positions, and 27,680 vacancies represent newly created jobs.

New JobsReplacement
Jobs
Annual Job Openings
(New + Replacement)
27,680166,820194,500
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

What Is The 10-Year Job Outlook For An LPN?

What Is The 10-Year Job Outlook For An RN?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for LPN services will grow by slightly more than 9 percent over the next decade. The growth in LPN employment opportunities is still slower than the estimated growth of the over-65 population, which is projected to be 31 percent. This is significant because the highest demand for LPN services will be in extended nursing care facilities designed to care for the aging population.

Employment
in 2020
Projected Employment
in 2030
Employment Growth
(2020-2030)
Number %
688,100 751,900 +63,800 +9.27%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Employment opportunities for RNs will grow by 9 percent over the next decade. The demand for RN services will be driven by the high number of retiring RNs and an aging population that will be utilizing higher levels of medical care.

Employment
in 2020
Projected Employment
in 2030
Employment Growth
(2020-2030)
Number %
3,080,1003,356,800 +276,800+8.99%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

What Is The Starting Salary Of An LPN?

What Is The Starting Salary Of An RN?

The starting salary of an LPN is $17.86 an hour, $714 a week, $3,100 a month, or $37,150 a year. The difference between LPN vs. RN starting salaries is one of the factors most evident when you’re trying to decide which career path is the right one for you. Entry-level LPNs make 38 percent less than entry-level RNs.

Hourly$17.86
Weekly$714
Monthly$3,100
Annual$37,150
(Source: U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics)
The starting salary of an RN is $28.58 an hour, $1,143 a week, $4,950 a month, or $59,450 a year. The average entry-level RN salary is 28 percent less than the average RN salary. Hiring and training a new RN can cost anywhere between $22,000 and $64,000, and this salary differential is the employer’s way of trying to recoup some of these onboarding expenses.

Hourly$28.58
Weekly$1,143
Monthly$4,950
Annual$59,450
(Source: U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics)

What Is The Average Salary Of An LPN?

What Is The Average Salary Of An RN?

The average salary of a licensed practical nurse is $24.93 an hour, $997 a week, $4,320 a month, or $51,850 a year. LPNs typically reach this milestone around their 10th year of employment. The average LPN salary is 8 percent less than $56,310, which—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—is the average salary for all occupations throughout the U.S.

Hourly$24.93
Weekly$997
Monthly$4,320
Annual$51,850
(Source: U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics)
The average salary of an RN is $39.78 an hour, $1,591 a week, $6,900 a month, and $82,750 a year. The average RN salary is 60 percent higher than the average LPN salary because registered nurses have much broader scopes of practice than LPNs, which means they’re far more versatile than RNs in terms of substituting for other types of employees.

Hourly$39.78
Weekly$1,591
Monthly$6,900
Annual$82,750
(Source: U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics)

How Much Will The LPN Salary Grow With Experience?

How Much Will The RN Salary Grow With Experience?

LPNs with one to four years of experience earn $46,420 annually, which is 25 percent more than what entry-level LPNs earn. LPNs with five to nine years of experience earn $48,410 annually, which is 29 percent more than what entry-level LPNs earn. LPNs with 20 or more years of experience can expect to earn $63,790 annually; while this is 72 percent higher than the average entry-level LPN salary, it is still 23 percent less than the average RN salary.

Level of Experience Hourly Weekly Monthly Annual
Entry-Level $17.86 $714 $3,100 $37,150
1-4 Years of Experience $22.31 $893 $3,870 $46,410
5-9 Years of Experience $23.11 $924 $4,010 $48,070
10-19 Years of Experience $28.74 $1,149 $4,980 $59,770
20 Years or More Experience $30.67 $1,227 $5,320 $63,790
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Registered nurses with one to four years of experience can expect to take home $59,450 a year on average. With five to nine years of experience, an RN’s salary increases to $61,790 a year on average. Registered nurses with two decades or more of experience make more than twice as much as entry-level RNs; this can be viewed as an incentive employers are offering to delay retirement. The average age of retirement among RNs is 58 years old, but experienced RNs have a lot to contribute, and there are good reasons why employers would prefer to keep them in the workforce.

Level of Experience Hourly Weekly Monthly Annual
Entry-Level $28.58 $1,143$4,950 $59,450
1-4 Years of Experience $29.71 $1,188$5,150 $61,790
5-9 Years of Experience $37.31 $1,492$6,470 $77,600
10-19 Years of Experience $46.91 $1,877$8,130 $97,580
20 Years or More Experience $57.81 $2,313$10,020 $120,250
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

How Many LPNs Are Currently Employed In Your State

How Many RNs Are Currently Employed In Your State?

Texas, California and Ohio are the three states that have the highest numbers of nursing homes. It’s not surprising, then, that they are among the states with the highest rates of LPN employment since LPNs are primarily employed in long-term care facilities. Alaska is the state where the smallest number of LPNs are employed, and it’s also the state that has the fewest long-term care facilities.

State Employment
Alabama 10,400
Alaska 480
Arizona 6,270
Arkansas 10,480
California 72,180
Colorado 4,690
Connecticut 8,350
Delaware 2,170
Florida 37,740
Georgia 21,380
Hawaii 980
Idaho 2,160
Illinois 16,820
Indiana 13,630
Iowa 5,790
Kansas 6,470
Kentucky 9,320
Louisiana 18,120
Maine 1,120
Maryland 8,730
Massachusetts 15,500
Michigan 10,680
Minnesota 14,020
Mississippi 8,730
Missouri 13,620
Montana 1,710
Nebraska 5,150
Nevada 3,610
New Hampshire 2,080
New Jersey 17,200
New Mexico 1,800
New York 40,470
North Carolina 15,540
North Dakota 2,680
Ohio 36,480
Oklahoma 12,150
Oregon 3,520
Pennsylvania 36,810
Rhode Island 1,100
South Carolina 9,270
South Dakota 2,040
Tennessee 22,780
Texas 64,680
Utah 1,140
Vermont 910
Virginia 18,910
Washington 7,110
West Virginia 6,190
Wisconsin 6,480
Wyoming 600
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Although California contains the highest number of professionally active RNs in the U.S., the Golden State actually ranks 50th in the nation in the number of RNs per 100,000 population. Florida historically has been a popular retirement destination, which is why the Sunshine State has such a high number of professionally active RNs. Wyoming is the state where the smallest number of RNs are employed; more than 25 hospitals in the Cowboy State have reported a critical RN staffing shortage.

State Employment
Alabama 49,780
Alaska 6,060
Arizona 57,260
Arkansas 26,320
California 324,400
Colorado 51,680
Connecticut 34,320
Delaware 11,760
Florida 187,920
Georgia 78,290
Hawaii 11,110
Idaho 14,400
Illinois 129,260
Indiana 66,800
Iowa 32,650
Kansas 28,980
Kentucky 43,540
Louisiana 42,870
Maine 14,380
Maryland 51,550
Massachusetts 88,270
Michigan 102,480
Minnesota 69,000
Mississippi 29,140
Missouri 69,240
Montana 9,640
Nebraska 20,660
Nevada 24,590
New Hampshire 12,890
New Jersey 77,980
New Mexico 17,030
New York 188,300
North Carolina 104,810
North Dakota 11,810
Ohio 129,270
Oklahoma 31,510
Oregon 37,780
Pennsylvania 149,270
Rhode Island 10,860
South Carolina 46,160
South Dakota 14,140
Tennessee 62,250
Texas 217,630
Utah 23,760
Vermont 7,210
Virginia 66,980
Washington 62,470
West Virginia 19,800
Wisconsin 62,860
Wyoming 4,890
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

How Many Annual Job Openings Are There For LPNs In Your State

How Many Annual Job Openings Are There For RNs In Your State?

California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania are the five states that have the highest number of annual job openings for licensed practical nurses. As noted above, these employment vacancies are likely correlated with the high number of long-term care facilities in these states.

State Annual Job
Openings
Alabama 1,060
Alaska 50
Arizona 390
Arkansas 1,130
California 7,440
Colorado 600
Connecticut 890
Delaware 220
Florida 4,570
Georgia 2,250
Hawaii 120
Idaho 50
Illinois 1,550
Indiana 1,400
Iowa 680
Kansas 610
Kentucky 870
Louisiana 170
Maine 90
Maryland 1,280
Massachusetts 1,450
Michigan 1,150
Minnesota 1,580
Mississippi 90
Missouri 1,360
Montana 210
Nebraska 540
Nevada 80
New Hampshire 180
New Jersey 1,550
New Mexico 200
New York 5,250
North Carolina 1,550
North Dakota 230
Ohio 3,510
Oklahoma 1,070
Oregon 360
Pennsylvania 3,690
Rhode Island 80
South Carolina 990
South Dakota 160
Tennessee 2,460
Texas 6,770
Utah 220
Vermont 100
Virginia 2,000
Washington 790
West Virginia 520
Wisconsin 580
Wyoming 50
(Source: Careeronestop.org)
California, New York, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania are the five states with the highest number of RN vacancies. They are also states where the nursing shortage is felt most keenly. Two factors are contributing to the RN shortage: the large number of RNs who are hitting retirement age and the greying of the U.S. population (since elderly patients are the highest utilizers of healthcare services.)

State Annual Job
Openings
Alabama 3,500
Alaska 360
Arizona 2,110
Arkansas 1,850
California 23,850
Colorado 4,810
Connecticut 2,450
Delaware 950
Florida 14,000
Georgia 6,340
Hawaii 800
Idaho 280
Illinois 9,260
Indiana 4,750
Iowa 2,490
Kansas 1,970
Kentucky 3,280
Louisiana N/A
Maine 920
Maryland 5,150
Massachusetts 5,720
Michigan 6,620
Minnesota 4,900
Mississippi 200
Missouri 5,530
Montana 700
Nebraska 1,790
Nevada 540
New Hampshire 960
New Jersey 5,780
New Mexico 1,240
New York 16,910
North Carolina 7,020
North Dakota 730
Ohio 8,360
Oklahoma 2,310
Oregon 3,010
Pennsylvania 10,510
Rhode Island 760
South Carolina 2,930
South Dakota 910
Tennessee 4,290
Texas 16,130
Utah 2,090
Vermont 430
Virginia 4,500
Washington 5,820
West Virginia 1,550
Wisconsin 3,600
Wyoming 380
(Source: Careeronestop.org)

What Is The 10-Year Job Outlook LPNs In Your State?

What Is The 10-Year Job Outlook RNs In Your State?

The 10-year job outlook for LPNs is most positive in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New York, and Nevada. In Arizona, for example, the demand for LPNs is projected to grow at more than three times the rate of demand for LPNs throughout the U.S. as a whole. This likely has to do with the popularity of the Grand Canyon State as a retirement destination and the high number of long-term nursing facilities in the state.

State Job Outlook
Alabama +5.28%
Alaska +9.62%
Arizona +28.96%
Arkansas +10.72%
California +15.14%
Colorado +20.95%
Connecticut +7.68%
Delaware +12.77%
Florida +11.94%
Georgia +11.89%
Hawaii +12.90%
Idaho +20.39%
Illinois -0.97%
Indiana +9.61%
Iowa +14.55%
Kansas +0.25%
Kentucky +7.16%
Louisiana +8.46%
Maine -0.83%
Maryland +16.24%
Massachusetts +2.30%
Michigan -0.79%
Minnesota +12.82%
Mississippi +8.43%
Missouri +6.64%
Montana +9.21%
Nebraska +11.90%
Nevada +16.88%
New Hampshire +9.50%
New Jersey +7.25%
New Mexico +8.30%
New York +19.58%
North Carolina +5.44%
North Dakota +8.37%
Ohio +6.61%
Oklahoma +5.71%
Oregon +11.89%
Pennsylvania +12.30%
Rhode Island 0.00%
South Carolina +10.17%
South Dakota +4.69%
Tennessee +14.22%
Texas +10.69%
Utah +16.74%
Vermont +3.10%
Virginia +11.77%
Washington +8.42%
West Virginia +6.61%
Wisconsin +0.66%
Wyoming +6.67%
(Source: Careeronestop.org)
The job outlook for registered nurses is particularly strong in Colorado, Utah, New York, Georgia, and Maryland. Projected RN growth is high in states like New York with growing numbers of senior citizens. But it’s also high in states like Utah that have burgeoning populations of young adults because as those young adults enter the workforce and begin to raise families, they will consume more and more of the primary care and preventative services that RNs help provide.

State Job Outlook
Alabama +10.21%
Alaska +6.83%
Arizona +35.01%
Arkansas +13.51%
California +16.70%
Colorado +29.49%
Connecticut +7.33%
Delaware +20.02%
Florida +16.08%
Georgia +22.49%
Hawaii +12.22%
Idaho +19.87%
Illinois +12.44%
Indiana +12.43%
Iowa +15.11%
Kansas +8.06%
Kentucky +13.11%
Louisiana N/A
Maine +6.53%
Maryland +21.66%
Massachusetts +8.20%
Michigan +9.82%
Minnesota +12.40%
Mississippi +6.12%
Missouri +16.24%
Montana +10.40%
Nebraska +11.12%
Nevada +22.29%
New Hampshire +12.65%
New Jersey +11.26%
New Mexico +11.35%
New York +24.63%
North Carolina +10.77%
North Dakota +16.53%
Ohio +9.61%
Oklahoma +9.10%
Oregon +15.21%
Pennsylvania +12.50%
Rhode Island +4.00%
South Carolina +9.39%
South Dakota +13.14%
Tennessee +12.27%
Texas +16.75%
Utah +28.15%
Vermont +7.96%
Virginia +11.74%
Washington +20.48%
West Virginia +14.89%
Wisconsin +7.76%
Wyoming +16.17%
(Source: Careeronestop.org)

What Is The Starting Salary For LPNs In Your State?

What Is The Starting Salary For RNs In Your State?

The states where entry-level LPNs earn the highest salaries are clustered in the northeast like Massachusetts ($47,940), Connecticut ($47,260) and New Jersey ($47,270), or on the Pacific coast like California ($47,750), Oregon ($47,670) and Washington ($47,949). Starting salaries for LPNs are lowest in Deep South states like Alabama ($29,390), Mississippi ($35,310), and Louisiana ($36,130).

State Average
Annual Salary
Alabama $29,390
Alaska $46,520
Arizona $46,930
Arkansas $36,300
California $47,750
Colorado $45,820
Connecticut $47,260
Delaware $45,360
Florida $36,930
Georgia $36,620
Hawaii $45,930
Idaho $37,110
Illinois $45,200
Indiana $39,070
Iowa $37,120
Kansas $36,750
Kentucky $36,770
Louisiana $36,130
Maine $37,030
Maryland $46,810
Massachusetts $47,940
Michigan $46,180
Minnesota $45,180
Mississippi $35,310
Missouri $36,640
Montana $36,800
Nebraska $37,300
Nevada $46,640
New Hampshire $46,950
New Jersey $47,270
New Mexico $37,670
New York $38,830
North Carolina $37,450
North Dakota $37,850
Ohio $37,090
Oklahoma $36,620
Oregon $47,670
Pennsylvania $38,470
Rhode Island $47,250
South Carolina $36,400
South Dakota $36,310
Tennessee $36,360
Texas $37,310
Utah $37,170
Vermont $46,480
Virginia $36,930
Washington $47,940
West Virginia $32,880
Wisconsin $37,850
Wyoming $37,990
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The nursing shortage is a serious crisis throughout most of the U.S., so in most states, entry-level RNs tend to make salaries that are above the average salary for all occupations throughout the U.S. Starting salaries for RNs are highest in Alaska ($77,450), California ($78,070) and Hawaii ($75,380), and lowest in Alabama ($47,390), Mississippi ($47,210), and West Virginia ($47,450).

State Average
Annual Salary
Alabama $47,390
Alaska $77,450
Arizona $60,750
Arkansas $47,510
California $78,070
Colorado $60,550
Connecticut $61,470
Delaware $59,900
Florida $49,680
Georgia $58,400
Hawaii $75,380
Idaho $59,640
Illinois $59,640
Indiana $48,400
Iowa $48,290
Kansas $47,630
Kentucky $48,000
Louisiana $48,920
Maine $59,640
Maryland $60,420
Massachusetts $61,180
Michigan $60,120
Minnesota $60,850
Mississippi $47,210
Missouri $47,350
Montana $60,320
Nebraska $55,040
Nevada $61,790
New Hampshire $59,900
New Jersey $70,920
New Mexico $60,320
New York $61,260
North Carolina $51,420
North Dakota $59,810
Ohio $59,540
Oklahoma $47,960
Oregon $76,180
Pennsylvania $59,640
Rhode Island $61,340
South Carolina $47,860
South Dakota $47,470
Tennessee $48,190
Texas $59,780
Utah $59,640
Vermont $59,640
Virginia $59,170
Washington $74,070
West Virginia $47,450
Wisconsin $60,060
Wyoming $59,650
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

What Is The Average Salary For LPNs In Your State?

What Is The Average Salary For RNs In Your State?

LPNs earn their highest average salaries in western states like California ($65,140), Oregon ($60,090), and Washington ($63,250). Employers in Alaska also offer LPNs comparatively high salaries ($63,650), probably as an incentive to make up for the absence of lifestyle amenities in the Last Frontier State. The states where LPNs earn the lowest salaries on average include Alabama ($41,540), Mississippi ($41,530), and West Virginia ($41,310).

State Average Annual
Salary
Alabama $41,540
Alaska $63,650
Arizona $57,800
Arkansas $43,040
California $65,140
Colorado $55,360
Connecticut $59,440
Delaware $53,040
Florida $47,860
Georgia $47,370
Hawaii $53,320
Idaho $49,440
Illinois $54,080
Indiana $51,500
Iowa $48,010
Kansas $46,550
Kentucky $47,140
Louisiana $43,900
Maine $50,790
Maryland $56,380
Massachusetts $61,820
Michigan $54,090
Minnesota $51,160
Mississippi $41,530
Missouri $46,010
Montana $48,300
Nebraska $48,040
Nevada $60,490
New Hampshire $59,140
New Jersey $58,590
New Mexico $56,040
New York $53,750
North Carolina $49,210
North Dakota $50,130
Ohio $48,030
Oklahoma $44,910
Oregon $60,090
Pennsylvania $51,090
Rhode Island $59,800
South Carolina $46,470
South Dakota $41,830
Tennessee $43,620
Texas $50,220
Utah $50,740
Vermont $54,180
Virginia $48,430
Washington $63,250
West Virginia $41,310
Wisconsin $49,850
Wyoming $50,970
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Salary is another area where differences between LPN vs. RN are most obvious. California, where the nursing shortage is expected to continue being most acute, tops the list of states where RNs receive the highest average compensation ($124,000). RN salaries are also high in Alaska ($97,230), which is projected to have one of the highest RN vacancy rates. Average RN salaries are lowest in Alabama ($61,920), South Dakota ($60,540), and Mississippi ($63,130).

State Average Annual
Salary
Alabama $61,920
Alaska $97,230
Arizona $81,600
Arkansas $65,810
California $124,000
Colorado $80,670
Connecticut $88,530
Delaware $77,760
Florida $72,000
Georgia $75,380
Hawaii $106,530
Idaho $73,640
Illinois $78,260
Indiana $68,890
Iowa $64,990
Kansas $66,560
Kentucky $67,260
Louisiana $70,380
Maine $73,630
Maryland $82,660
Massachusetts $96,630
Michigan $75,930
Minnesota $84,030
Mississippi $63,130
Missouri $67,790
Montana $73,610
Nebraska $69,850
Nevada $88,800
New Hampshire $78,270
New Jersey $89,690
New Mexico $77,590
New York $93,320
North Carolina $71,200
North Dakota $71,200
Ohio $71,640
Oklahoma $68,180
Oregon $98,630
Pennsylvania $76,000
Rhode Island $85,270
South Carolina $69,580
South Dakota $60,540
Tennessee $66,680
Texas $79,120
Utah $72,790
Vermont $75,160
Virginia $76,680
Washington $95,350
West Virginia $67,640
Wisconsin $76,850
Wyoming $73,130
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)




LPN VS. RN – WHAT ARE THE KEY SIMILARITIES?

(The following are the 15 key similarities between LPN and RN.)

Similarity #1 : High Demand

An important similarity when comparing RN vs. LPN is that both types of nurses can expect robust employment opportunities throughout the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for both types of nurses will increase by 9 percent between 2020 and 2030.

Similarity#2 : Practice Settings

LPNs and RNs have employment opportunities in many of the same practice settings. These practice settings include hospitals, nursing homes, physician practices, outpatient care clinics, and home healthcare agencies.

Similarity #3 : Non-Salaried Employees

In most healthcare facilities, LPNs and RNs tend to be hourly rather than salaried employees. This means that they typically are not able to earn perks like bonuses. Their employment is subject to the stipulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, however, and that means they are able to earn overtime.

Similarity #4 : Hours

Neither LPNs nor RNs work standard business hours (8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.) Instead, they work the hours of the shifts to which they are assigned at the medical facility at which they are employed.

Similarity #5 : License

LPNs and RNs must both be licensed by the boards of nursing of the states in which they work.

Similarity #6 : How the Scope of Practice is Determined

In all but five states, the scope of practice for both LPNs and RNs is determined by a single board of nursing in the state or states where they are licensed. Five states, however, have two boards of nursing—one for registered nurses and one for licensed practical nurses. Those five states are California, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and West Virginia.

Similarity #7 : Direct Patient Care

One of the key similarities when comparing LPN vs. RN is that both types of nurses work directly with patients. Direct patient care involves hands-on activities such as taking vital signs, performing patient assessments, administering medications and other treatments, and engaging in patient education.

Similarity #8 : Medication

LPNs and RNs can both administer oral and IV medications. Note, however, that LPNs are required to obtain an IV certification before they will be allowed to place an intravenous (IV) line or provide select antibiotics, electrolytes, or fluid replacement through an IV line.

Similarity #9 : Physically Demanding

LPNs and RNs both have jobs that are extremely physically demanding. A 2006 study published in the professional journal Medsurg Nursing found that registered nurses will walk four to five miles in a single shift, burning off 1,200 calories. There’s no reason to suppose that LPNs walk any less than that.

Similarity #10 : Neither Requires a Four-Year Degree

A four-year degree is not a requirement either to become an LPN or an RN. Accredited licensed practical nursing programs generally take one to two years to complete, depending upon whether you attend full-time or part-time. An RN can earn an ADN degree in 18 to 24 months.

Similarity #11 : National Exam for Licensure

Another important similarity when thinking about LPN vs. RN is that both types of nurses must demonstrate their competency by passing an exam developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing before they can be licensed. LPNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN,) while RNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Similarity #12 : Predominantly Female

Another interesting similarity when looking at RN vs. LPN is that the two nursing occupations are largely female. Women account for 89 percent of all licensed practical nurses and 88 percent of all registered nurses.

Similarity #13 : Predominantly White

The most common ethnicity for both LPNs and RNs is white. Sixty-three percent of all LPNs in the U.S. are white while 69 percent of all RNs in the U.S. are white.

Similarity #14 : Average Age

Rounding out the demographic similarities between LPNs and RNs is their age range. The average age of all registered nurses in the U.S. is 44 years old while the average age of all licensed practical nurses in the U.S. is 45 years old.

Similarity #15 : Rewarding Career

Both LPN and RN can be incredibly rewarding career paths for individuals with a genuine concern for others who are looking for ways to work in the healthcare industry.




LPN VS. RN – WHAT ARE THE KEY DIFFERENCES?

(The following are the 15 key differences between LPN and RN.)

Difference #1 : Nurse Hierarchy

Within the hierarchical U.S. healthcare system, nurses are ranked by their level of education, their licensure, and their experience. RNs have more education than LPNs, and their licenses allow them to take on a more complex range of duties, so RNs and LPNs are at different levels of the nursing hierarchy. RNs outrank LPNs.

Difference #2 : Scope of Practice

Scope of practice defines the specific tasks that RNs and LPNs are both trained to perform and allowed to perform. The RN scope of practice covers more complex and potentially dangerous tasks, such as titrating or adjusting medication dosages when a patient’s condition warrants that; certain invasive procedures, such as inserting a central venous catheter; and administering potentially dangerous medications such as narcotics or intravenous chemotherapy. RNs can also initiate patient care through the medium of the nursing care plan.An LPN’s scope of practice is far more limited. LPNs are not permitted to administer potentially risky medications or treatments. Neither can LPNs initiate patient care; they can only assist RNs, PAs, NPs and physicians with patient care. The exact parameters of the differences in LPN vs. RN scope of practice are defined by the board of nursing in the state in which these professionals work.

Difference #3 : Autonomy

Another key difference between LPN and RN roles is that RNs are taught how to think critically as part of their educational training. An LPN is not. This gives RNs some flexibility when it comes to making decisions and taking actions that are related to patient care. LPNs cannot make independent medical decisions regarding the care of a patient. RNs have more autonomy.

Difference #4 : Responsibilities

LPN vs. RN job responsibilities overlap to some degree. But since an RN has a broader scope of practice, RNs typically perform more complex tasks. An LPN’s duties typically consist of collecting vital signs, administering medications, collecting specimens, changing wound dressings, collecting specimens, performing treatments such as Foley catheter insertions, assisting patients with eating, dressing, ambulating and other routine activities of daily life. RNs can do all those things as well, but they can also develop nursing care plans, perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results.

Difference #5 : Supervisory Functions

Licensed practical nurses usually work under the supervision of registered nurses. In hospitals, and physician practices, this may be an informal arrangement where LPNs function as support staff. In these practice settings, RNs delegate a portion of their work assignment to LPNs. Thus, when an RN is assigned the care of a patient who’s recovering from a stroke, the RN will do the patient assessment, administer medications and write the nursing notes, while the LPN will bathe and dress the patient and help the patient ambulate in the halls. In long-term care facilities like nursing homes, the arrangement is more formal. RNs will actually make patient assignments, and LPNs will report to RNs at the end of the shift.

Difference #6 : Nursing Care Plans

One of the most essential differences between RN and LPN is that only RNs can develop and update nursing care plans. Nursing care plans describe what’s necessary for the daily care of a patient. The assessment skills necessary for care planning require the ability to analyze and integrate health information; these critical thinking skills are taught in nursing programs but aren’t a part of the LPN curriculum. LPNs can contribute suggestions to care plans, but in most practice settings, they cannot write them. Note, however, that in some long-term nursing facilities, LPNs are allowed to draft nursing care plans, subject to their supervising RN’s approval.

Difference #7 : Emergency Response

RNs can lead emergency response codes; an LPN’s role is far more limited. RNs use principles learned during Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Cardiac Support (PALS) classes, which LPNs are not qualified to take. While LPNs may initiate CPR per Basic Life Support guidelines, they cannot administer IV medications during a Code Blue situation.

Difference #8 : Education

Another significant difference between LPN and RN is the educational training required to fill each role. LPNs do not have to obtain degrees. State-approved certificate programs for LPNs typically take 12 to 18 months to complete. LPN curricula don’t include nursing leadership classes or courses comparing the health status of different demographic groups. Accredited RN nursing programs, on the other hand, are associated with either an ADN or a BSN degree, and take between two and four years to complete. In addition to the anatomy, physiology and basic nursing courses LPNs take, future RNs take classes in statistics, pathophysiology, ethics, epidemiology, health assessment, health policy, and nursing leadership.

Difference #9 : Path to Licensure

LPNs and RNs must pass different tests to qualify for licensure. The NCLEX exam is offered at both the RN and PN levels, but the NCLEX-PN is considered the easier exam. While both tests assess knowledge and decision-making appropriate to a particular job role, the NCLEX-RN exam requires far more critical thinking.

Difference #10 : Workplaces

While LPNs and RNs have employment opportunities in many of the same practice settings, LPNs are most likely to work in long-term nursing facilities such as nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation facilities, and RNs are most likely to work in hospitals. More licensed practical nurses work in long-term care than in any other setting.

Difference #11 : Salary

Since their scope of practice is greater, and their training and education more intensive, it’s not surprising that a registered nurse earns substantially more than a licensed practical nurse. This is the difference between licensed practical nurse vs. registered nurse that may stand out the most if you’re trying to determine which career track to pursue. The average starting salary of an LVN is $37,150 a year, which is 38 percent less than the average starting salary of an RN ($59,450 a year). The average salary of an LVN is $51,850 a year, which is 60 percent less than the average salary of an RN ($82,750). Of course, LPN and RN salaries—and the difference between them—vary greatly from state to state.

Difference #12 : Certification Opportunities

Another noticeable LPN vs. RN difference is obvious when you look at prospects for specialization. Nursing certifications demonstrate to potential employers that you value professional development enough to have mastered a specific nursing specialty. One hundred and thirty-eight certification opportunities are available to registered nurses, including well-known RN certifications such as CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse), OCN (Oncology Certified Nurse), and CEN (Certified Emergency Nurse). In contrast, only 22 certification opportunities are available to LPNs. One of these, IV therapy certification, is imperative for any LPN who wants to do more than offer patient comfort measures.

Difference #13 : Career Advancement Opportunities

RNs have the option of pursuing educational options such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. These degrees allow RNs to expand their scope of practice by becoming advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). As an APRN, you can opt to pursue a clinical specialty by becoming a nurse practitioner, a nurse-midwife, or a nurse anesthetist. Some APRN programs focus on nurse and industry leadership, which will prepare you for administrative and executive positions such as director of nursing or chief nursing officer.Most LPNs see becoming a registered nurse as the chief career advancement opportunity open to them. A few LPNs may also pursue certification to show advanced competency in a particular clinical specialty such as wound care if they’re interested in advancing their careers but don’t want to stop being LPNs.

Difference #14 : Job Security

While LPNs remain sought-after employees in long-term nursing care facilities, many hospitals and medical centers are actively phasing them out in favor of more highly educated RNs who can take on a wider range of duties. For now, because of the nursing shortage, LPNs will continue to find work, but LPN employment opportunities will likely diminish over time.

Difference #15 : Numbers

One obvious difference between LPN vs. RN is that there are far more RNs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3,080,100 registered nurses are employed throughout the U.S. but only 688,100 licensed practical nurses. RNs outnumber LPNs by a factor of approximately 4.5 to 1.




LPN VS. RN: 7 Factors To Consider When Deciding Which Career Path Is Right For You?


While “licensed practical nurse” and “registered nurse” are both important caregiver roles within the healthcare sector, there are significant differences between LPN vs. RN that you should mull over when you’re trying to decide which one is your best career choice. Keep in mind, too, that LPN vs. RN is not necessarily an either/or situation: Many licensed practical nurses go on to get their RN licenses after they spend a few years as an LPN. Here are seven questions to ask yourself:

1. How long do you want to go to school?

Even the shortest ADN programs are six months longer than the one-year certification program you will have to complete to become a licensed practical nurse. If school is not your bag, or if you want to start earning a real salary as quickly as possible, then this may make becoming an LPN the more attractive option.

2. How much money do you want to spend on your education?

Another key LPN vs. RN distinction is that LPN educational programs are far less expensive than RN programs. If you’re on a tight budget, or you’re not willing to take out educational loans, enrolling in an LPN program may be the right choice.

3. How much money will you need to afford the lifestyle you want?

A prime difference between RN vs. LPN is that the average RN salary is approximately 60 percent higher than the average LPN salary. If the quality of life you want for yourself is based on the amount of income you’ll have at your disposal, becoming an RN is a better way to meet your goal.

4. Would you rather work in a hospital or a nursing home?

RNs and LPNs work in both acute care practice settings and long-term care practice settings, true. But far fewer LPNs work in hospitals, and the ones that do are typically delegated to basic medical tasks like taking vital signs and changing wound dressings. For the most part, LPNs work in long-term care facilities while RNs work in hospitals.

5. Are you more attracted to hands-on care or to medical interventions?

One way of looking at LPN vs. RN scopes of practice is that LPNs perform a more traditional nursing role in which caring for a patient’s physical needs are emphasized. LPNs bathe patients, help them get dressed, help them eat and help them walk. RNs, on the other hand, help dispense the medical treatments that physicians prescribe. If physically caring for a patient is what attracts you to nursing, then you should consider becoming a licensed practical nurse.

6. Do you want a job that involves responsibilities?

Because they have a broader scope of practice, RNs typically take on more workplace responsibilities. If you thrive with that level of autonomy, becoming an RN is a more sensible option.

7. Do you want to climb the career ladder?

RNs have far more career advancement opportunities available to them than LPNs have. An LPN’s primary career advancement option is to become an RN. If you’re planning a career trajectory, you’ll have a harder time doing that as an LPN.


My Final Thoughts


What are the similarities and differences between LPN vs. RN roles? Though the two types of nursing roles have a great deal of overlap, the difference between practical nurse vs. RN scope of practice and related job responsibilities is quite distinct and has implications that affect every aspect of professional work life from practice setting to salary to opportunities for advancement. Keep in mind, however, that the key similarities and differences between LPN vs. RN roles do not necessarily make either one an objectively better choice for a career. In the end, it all comes down to what you want from your job—and whether being an LPN or an RN is the most effective means of helping you achieve that.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


1. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Has Easier Duties?

“Easy” is a relative term. LPNs are responsible for patient comfort and provide more basic nursing care than RNs do. In that sense, LPNs have easier jobs than RNs. Since RNs have more advanced training, they carry out more complex types of patient care such as physical assessments and the development of nursing care plans. Keep in mind, however, that assisting others with the routine activities of daily life can be an extremely difficult task, so posing this as an RN vs. LPN distinction may be a bit like comparing apples to oranges.


2. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Requires You To Be More Skilled?

Registered nurses are required to have a more sophisticated set of clinical skills than LPNs. For example, both LPNs and RNs must know how to check and monitor a patient’s heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and temperature, but RNs must also understand how to interpret that information to determine if that patient is experiencing a medical issue. RNs know how to implement treatment protocols and track how those treatments are working. LPNs are only responsible for reporting vital signs.


3. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Offers A Safer Work Environment?

LPNs primarily work in long-term nursing facilities while RNs primarily work in hospitals. Hospitals contain a number of hazards such as exposure to infectious diseases and toxic chemicals that aren’t commonly found in long-term nursing facilities; in that sense, they are a less safe place to work in. However, LPNs working in long-term nursing facilities frequently injure themselves lifting and moving patients. So, both LPNs and RNs face potential workplace dangers. They’re just different workplace dangers.


4. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Has A More Flexible Work Schedule?

LPNs and RNs are both primarily shift workers. Neither has a particularly flexible schedule when they’re working for facilities like hospitals or nursing homes. When they’re working for home healthcare agencies, however, they have more control over the hours they work.


5. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Is Less Stressful?

LPNs and RNs both have stressful jobs that predispose them to burnout. The nature of the stressors can be different, however.

LPNs work more closely with patients and are more susceptible to the types of strains that arise when you must deal with people who may be anxious or hostile. The nature of an LPN’s work is often far more physical, too, as they have to lift patients and equipment, which predisposes them to back injuries.

RNs, on the other hand, deal with issues like inadequate staffing and a high-paced environment, which makes them feel as though they can never perform their job responsibilities adequately.


6. LPN VS. RN: Who Has A Broader Scope Of Practice?

Scope of practice is one of the most obvious differences between LPN vs. RN roles: RNs have a far broader scope of practice. LPNs practice in a dependent role when it comes to carrying out medical regimens, meaning they can only administer drugs, medications, treatments, tests and injections under the direction and supervision of an RN or another authorized healthcare practitioner. RNs practices nursing independently and do not require supervision by another RN or another health care practitioner in order to carry their nursing responsibilities although they do carry out orders that are issued by physicians.


7. LPN VS. RN: Who Can Practice In Multiple States?

The Nurse Licensure Compact gives LPNs and RNs the ability to practice in other states if the state where these nurses hold their original license is a Compact member. As of February 2022, 34 states have licensure reciprocity through the Compact: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Pennsylvania and Ohio have enacted the Nurse License Compact but are still in the process of implementing it.


8. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Offers More Autonomy?

It’s clear when you analyze RN vs. LPN differences that registered nursing offers more autonomy than licensed practical nursing. LPNs can only perform medical regimens under the supervision of an RN or some other authorized healthcare staff member. But RNs require no supervision when they implement medical regimens—although they cannot initiate such regimens on their own.


9. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Is Less Physically Demanding?

Licensed practical nursing and registered nursing are both physically demanding occupations. LPNs typically do more lifting of patients and equipment, so in that sense, it may be the more strenuous of the two occupations.


10. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Offers A Better Work-Life Balance?

One of the characteristics of all jobs that involve some degree of leadership is that the people occupying those positions tend to take their work home with them. While RNs and LPNs are both shift workers who are likely on the job an equivalent number of hours, RNs may tend to think more about what’s going on with their jobs when they’re not physically at their workplaces. In that sense, LPNs may have a better work/life balance. This is certainly something to ponder when you’re weighing LPN vs. RN differences.


11. LPN VS. RN: Who Is More Satisfied With Their Job?

Licensed practical nurses and registered nurses are equally satisfied with their jobs. According to Medscape's Nurse Career Satisfaction Report 2018, LPNs and RNs have job satisfaction rates ranging from 94 to 96 percent.


12. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Is More Respectful?

Healthcare facilities are structured hierarchically, and RNs outrank LPNs. So, it’s fair to say that RNs garner more respect.


13. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Has Less Competition?

The nursing shortage is more acute for RNs than for LPNs because nursing assistants and medical assistants perform many of the same functions as licensed practical nurses and therefore function effectively as LPN substitutes. Thus, RNs will experience less competition when applying for employment.


14. LPN VS. RN: Who Has Easier Minimum Education Requirements?

RNs enrolled in BSN programs have more difficult educational requirements than LPNs. In addition to taking the same classes in basic nursing techniques, anatomy, physiology and nutrition that LPNs take, they also have to take classes in nursing theory, nurse leadership, public health, pharmacology, and ethics.


15. LPN VS. RN: What Costs Lesser Amount Of Money To Become?

On the whole, it costs considerably less money to become an LPN than it does to become an RN. This may be a deciding factor for many who are weighing LPN vs. RN career trajectories. Future LPNs can anticipate spending between $6,000 and $32,000 on their professional education while future RNs can anticipate spending between $8,000 and $140,000.


16. LPN VS. RN: What Takes Lesser Amount Of Time To Become?

One of the more obvious differences between LPN and RN roles is the educational requirement: Licensed practical nurses only have to attend a one-year diploma program to be licensed while the minimum educational requirement for an RN is an 18-to-24-month ADN program.


17. LPN VS. RN: Who Has Easier Licensure Requirements?

LPNs have easier licensure requirements. LPNs and RNs must pass NCLEX examinations as a condition of licensure. Both exams are difficult. But since an RN’s education is more extensive than an LPN’s education, the NCLEX-RN is more difficult than the NCLEX-PN.


18. LPN VS. RN: Who Has Easier Continuing Education Requirements?

RNs and LPNs have comparable continuing education requirements in the states where CEUs are a condition of license renewal. Continuing education requirements for both types of nurses vary by state but generally range between 15 and 30 CEUs within a two-year period.


19. LPN VS. RN: Who Has A Wider Range Of Specialization Options?

Another significant difference between RN and LPN career trajectories is that RNs have a far wider range of specialization options. RNs can pursue certification in 138 specialties, including critical care, oncology, and emergency nursing. LPNs can only pursue certification in 22 specialties, including IV therapy, wound care, and hospice care.


20. LPN VS. RN: Who Has Better Career Advancement Opportunities?

When you’re comparing the main differences between RN vs. LPN roles, you’ll also find that registered nurses have far more career advancement opportunities. The most common advancement avenue for LPNs involves the pursuit of a BSN, which will allow them to become licensed as a registered nurse. But RNs can pursue graduate degrees that will allow them to become nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, or executive leaders. RNs can also pursue leadership positions like director of nursing or chief nursing officer within a healthcare organization’s executive hierarchy.


21. LPN VS. RN: Who Is More In Numbers?

The RN workforce far outnumbers the LPN workforce. Some 3,047,530 registered nurses are employed throughout the U.S. but only 641,240 licensed practical nurses.

LPN RN Difference
Number %
641,240 3,047,530 -2,406,290 -78.96%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


22. LPN VS. RN: Who Has More Annual Job Openings?

More annual job openings exist for RNs than for LPNs. There are 194,500 annual job openings for RNs but only 60,700 annual job openings for LPNs.

LPN RN Difference
Number %
60,700194,500 -133,800 -68.79%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


23. LPN VS. RN: Who Has A Better Job Outlook?

Job outlook is one of the areas where the difference between LPN vs. RN prospects is minimal. The demand for both LPN and RN services is expected to grow by approximately 9 percent within the next 10 years.

LPN RN Difference
9.27%8.99%+0.28%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


24. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Has Better Job Security?

Many medical centers and other healthcare systems when reviewing LPN vs. RN differences have concluded that LPNs are not cost-effective employees since research shows that patient outcomes are better when BSN-prepared registered nurses are employed. Many analysts believe that the LPN profession is being phased out. In the long run, this means that RNs have more job security.


25. LPN VS. RN: Who Earns A Higher Hourly Pay?

The hourly pay for RNs is 37 percent higher than the hourly pay for LPNs on average. RNs earn $39.78 per hour while LPNs earn $24.93 per hour.

Hourly Salary Difference
LPN RN Number %
$24.93 $39.78 -$14.85-37.33%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


26. LPN VS. RN: Who Earns A Higher Starting Salary?

The difference between starting LPN vs. RN salary is approximately 38 percent. Entry-level LPNs earn $37,150 an hour while entry-level RNs earn $59,450 an hour.

Starting Salary Difference
LPN RN Number %
$37,150 $59,450 -$22,300-37.51%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


27. LPN VS. RN: Who Earns A Higher Average Salary?

The difference between average LPN vs. RN salary is 37 percent. On average, LPNs earn $51,850 annually while RNs earn $82,750 annually.

Average Salary Difference
LPN RN Number %
$51,850 $82,750 -$30,900-37.34%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


28. LPN VS. RN: Who Earns A Higher Salary With Experience?

RNs with two decades or more of experience earn nearly twice as much as LPNs with two decades or more of experience. Registered nurses with 20 years of experience earn $120,250 a year while LPNs with 20 years of experience earn $63,790 a year.

Level of Experience Average Annual Salary Difference
LPN RN Number %
Entry-Level $37,150 $59,450 -$22,300 -37.51%
1-4 Years of Experience $46,410 $61,790 -$15,380 -24.89%
5-9 Years of Experience $48,070 $77,600 -$29,530 -38.05%
10-19 Years of Experience $59,770 $97,580 -$37,810 -38.75%
20 Years or More Experience $63,790 $120,250 -$56,460 -46.95%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


29. LPN VS. RN: Which Job Offers Better Benefits And Perks?

When you’re analyzing RN vs. LPN differences, employment benefits are an issue that may tilt the balance toward becoming a registered nurse. RNs get much better employment benefits. For example, only 74 percent of LPNs get health insurance, compared with 88% of RNs.


30. LPN VS. RN: Who Is More In Numbers In Your State?

The difference between LPN and RN numbers demonstrates a consistent trend throughout all states. The number of registered nurses is consistently larger than the number of LPNs.

State Employment Difference
LPN RN Number %
Alabama 10,400 49,780 -39,380 -79.11%
Alaska 480 6,060 -5,580 -92.08%
Arizona 6,270 57,260 -50,990 -89.05%
Arkansas 10,480 26,320 -15,840 -60.18%
California 72,180 324,400 -252,220 -77.75%
Colorado 4,690 51,680 -46,990 -90.92%
Connecticut 8,350 34,320 -25,970 -75.67%
Delaware 2,170 11,760 -9,590 -81.55%
Florida 37,740 187,920 -150,180 -79.92%
Georgia 21,380 78,290 -56,910 -72.69%
Hawaii 980 11,110 -10,130 -91.18%
Idaho 2,160 14,400 -12,240 -85.00%
Illinois 16,820 129,260 -112,440 -86.99%
Indiana 13,630 66,800 -53,170 -79.60%
Iowa 5,790 32,650 -26,860 -82.27%
Kansas 6,470 28,980 -22,510 -77.67%
Kentucky 9,320 43,540 -34,220 -78.59%
Louisiana 18,120 42,870 -24,750 -57.73%
Maine 1,120 14,380 -13,260 -92.21%
Maryland 8,730 51,550 -42,820 -83.06%
Massachusetts 15,500 88,270 -72,770 -82.44%
Michigan 10,680 102,480 -91,800 -89.58%
Minnesota 14,020 69,000 -54,980 -79.68%
Mississippi 8,730 29,140 -20,410 -70.04%
Missouri 13,620 69,240 -55,620 -80.33%
Montana 1,710 9,640 -7,930 -82.26%
Nebraska 5,150 20,660 -15,510 -75.07%
Nevada 3,610 24,590 -20,980 -85.32%
New Hampshire 2,080 12,890 -10,810 -83.86%
New Jersey 17,200 77,980 -60,780 -77.94%
New Mexico 1,800 17,030 -15,230 -89.43%
New York 40,470 188,300 -147,830 -78.51%
North Carolina 15,540 104,810 -89,270 -85.17%
North Dakota 2,680 11,810 -9,130 -77.31%
Ohio 36,480 129,270 -92,790 -71.78%
Oklahoma 12,150 31,510 -19,360 -61.44%
Oregon 3,520 37,780 -34,260 -90.68%
Pennsylvania 36,810 149,270 -112,460 -75.34%
Rhode Island 1,100 10,860 -9,760 -89.87%
South Carolina 9,270 46,160 -36,890 -79.92%
South Dakota 2,040 14,140 -12,100 -85.57%
Tennessee 22,780 62,250 -39,470 -63.41%
Texas 64,680 217,630 -152,950 -70.28%
Utah 1,140 23,760 -22,620 -95.20%
Vermont 910 7,210 -6,300 -87.38%
Virginia 18,910 66,980 -48,070 -71.77%
Washington 7,110 62,470 -55,360 -88.62%
West Virginia 6,190 19,800 -13,610 -68.74%
Wisconsin 6,480 62,860 -56,380 -89.69%
Wyoming 600 4,890 -4,290 -87.73%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


31. LPN VS. RN: Who Has More Annual Job Openings In Your State?

The difference between LPN and RN job openings demonstrates a consistent trend throughout all states. The number of annual job openings for registered nurses is consistently larger than the number of annual job openings for LPNs.

State Annual Job Openings Difference
LPN RN Number %
Alabama 1,060 3,500 -2,440 -69.71%
Alaska 50 360 -310 -86.11%
Arizona 390 2,110 -1,720 -81.52%
Arkansas 1,130 1,850 -720 -38.92%
California 7,440 23,850 -16,410 -68.81%
Colorado 600 4,810 -4,210 -87.53%
Connecticut 890 2,450 -1,560 -63.67%
Delaware 220 950 -730 -76.84%
Florida 4,570 14,000 -9,430 -67.36%
Georgia 2,250 6,340 -4,090 -64.51%
Hawaii 120 800 -680 -85.00%
Idaho 50 280 -230 -82.14%
Illinois 1,550 9,260 -7,710 -83.26%
Indiana 1,400 4,750 -3,350 -70.53%
Iowa 680 2,490 -1,810 -72.69%
Kansas 610 1,970 -1,360 -69.04%
Kentucky 870 3,280 -2,410 -73.48%
Louisiana 170 N/A N/A N/A
Maine 90 920 -830 -90.22%
Maryland 1,280 5,150 -3,870 -75.15%
Massachusetts 1,450 5,720 -4,270 -74.65%
Michigan 1,150 6,620 -5,470 -82.63%
Minnesota 1,580 4,900 -3,320 -67.76%
Mississippi 90 200 -110 -55.00%
Missouri 1,360 5,530 -4,170 -75.41%
Montana 210 700 -490 -70.00%
Nebraska 540 1,790 -1,250 -69.83%
Nevada 80 540 -460 -85.19%
New Hampshire 180 960 -780 -81.25%
New Jersey 1,550 5,780 -4,230 -73.18%
New Mexico 200 1,240 -1,040 -83.87%
New York 5,250 16,910 -11,660 -68.95%
North Carolina 1,550 7,020 -5,470 -77.92%
North Dakota 230 730 -500 -68.49%
Ohio 3,510 8,360 -4,850 -58.01%
Oklahoma 1,070 2,310 -1,240 -53.68%
Oregon 360 3,010 -2,650 -88.04%
Pennsylvania 3,690 10,510 -6,820 -64.89%
Rhode Island 80 760 -680 -89.47%
South Carolina 990 2,930 -1,940 -66.21%
South Dakota 160 910 -750 -82.42%
Tennessee 2,460 4,290 -1,830 -42.66%
Texas 6,770 16,130 -9,360 -58.03%
Utah 220 2,090 -1,870 -89.47%
Vermont 100 430 -330 -76.74%
Virginia 2,000 4,500 -2,500 -55.56%
Washington 790 5,820 -5,030 -86.43%
West Virginia 520 1,550 -1,030 -66.45%
Wisconsin 580 3,600 -3,020 -83.89%
Wyoming 50 380 -330 -86.84%
(Source: Careeronestop.org)


32. LPN VS. RN: Who Has A Better Job Outlook In Your State?

In 41 states, job prospects are better for RNs than they are for LPNs. The states for which LPN job prospects are better than RN job prospects are Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

State Job Outlook Difference
LPN RN
Alabama +5.28% +10.21% -4.93%
Alaska +9.62% +6.83% +2.79%
Arizona +28.96% +35.01% -6.05%
Arkansas +10.72% +13.51% -2.79%
California +15.14% +16.70% -1.56%
Colorado +20.95% +29.49% -8.54%
Connecticut +7.68% +7.33% +0.35%
Delaware +12.77% +20.02% -7.25%
Florida +11.94% +16.08% -4.14%
Georgia +11.89% +22.49% -10.60%
Hawaii +12.90% +12.22% +0.68%
Idaho +20.39% +19.87% +0.52%
Illinois -0.97% +12.44% -13.41%
Indiana +9.61% +12.43% -2.82%
Iowa +14.55% +15.11% -0.56%
Kansas +0.25% +8.06% -7.81%
Kentucky +7.16% +13.11% -5.95%
Louisiana +8.46% N/A N/A
Maine -0.83% +6.53% -7.36%
Maryland +16.24% +21.66% -5.42%
Massachusetts +2.30% +8.20% -5.90%
Michigan -0.79% +9.82% -10.61%
Minnesota +12.82% +12.40% +0.42%
Mississippi +8.43% +6.12% +2.31%
Missouri +6.64% +16.24% -9.60%
Montana +9.21% +10.40% -1.19%
Nebraska +11.90% +11.12% +0.78%
Nevada +16.88% +22.29% -5.41%
New Hampshire +9.50% +12.65% -3.15%
New Jersey +7.25% +11.26% -4.01%
New Mexico +8.30% +11.35% -3.05%
New York +19.58% +24.63% -5.05%
North Carolina +5.44% +10.77% -5.33%
North Dakota +8.37% +16.53% -8.16%
Ohio +6.61% +9.61% -3.00%
Oklahoma +5.71% +9.10% -3.39%
Oregon +11.89% +15.21% -3.32%
Pennsylvania +12.30% +12.50% -0.20%
Rhode Island 0.00% +4.00% -4.00%
South Carolina +10.17% +9.39% +0.78%
South Dakota +4.69% +13.14% -8.45%
Tennessee +14.22% +12.27% +1.95%
Texas +10.69% +16.75% -6.06%
Utah +16.74% +28.15% -11.41%
Vermont +3.10% +7.96% -4.86%
Virginia +11.77% +11.74% +0.03%
Washington +8.42% +20.48% -12.06%
West Virginia +6.61% +14.89% -8.28%
Wisconsin +0.66% +7.76% -7.10%
Wyoming +6.67% +16.17% -9.50%
(Source: Careeronestop.org)


33. LPN VS. RN: Who Earns A Higher Starting Salary In Your State?

In every one of the 50 states, registered nurses earn higher starting salaries than licensed practical nurses.

State Starting Salary Difference
LPN RN Number %
Alabama $29,390 $47,390 -$18,000 -37.98%
Alaska $46,520 $77,450 -$30,930 -39.94%
Arizona $46,930 $60,750 -$13,820 -22.75%
Arkansas $36,300 $47,510 -$11,210 -23.60%
California $47,750 $78,070 -$30,320 -38.84%
Colorado $45,820 $60,550 -$14,730 -24.33%
Connecticut $47,260 $61,470 -$14,210 -23.12%
Delaware $45,360 $59,900 -$14,540 -24.27%
Florida $36,930 $49,680 -$12,750 -25.66%
Georgia $36,620 $58,400 -$21,780 -37.29%
Hawaii $45,930 $75,380 -$29,450 -39.07%
Idaho $37,110 $59,640 -$22,530 -37.78%
Illinois $45,200 $59,640 -$14,440 -24.21%
Indiana $39,070 $48,400 -$9,330 -19.28%
Iowa $37,120 $48,290 -$11,170 -23.13%
Kansas $36,750 $47,630 -$10,880 -22.84%
Kentucky $36,770 $48,000 -$11,230 -23.40%
Louisiana $36,130 $48,920 -$12,790 -26.14%
Maine $37,030 $59,640 -$22,610 -37.91%
Maryland $46,810 $60,420 -$13,610 -22.53%
Massachusetts $47,940 $61,180 -$13,240 -21.64%
Michigan $46,180 $60,120 -$13,940 -23.19%
Minnesota $45,180 $60,850 -$15,670 -25.75%
Mississippi $35,310 $47,210 -$11,900 -25.21%
Missouri $36,640 $47,350 -$10,710 -22.62%
Montana $36,800 $60,320 -$23,520 -38.99%
Nebraska $37,300 $55,040 -$17,740 -32.23%
Nevada $46,640 $61,790 -$15,150 -24.52%
New Hampshire $46,950 $59,900 -$12,950 -21.62%
New Jersey $47,270 $70,920 -$23,650 -33.35%
New Mexico $37,670 $60,320 -$22,650 -37.55%
New York $38,830 $61,260 -$22,430 -36.61%
North Carolina $37,450 $51,420 -$13,970 -27.17%
North Dakota $37,850 $59,810 -$21,960 -36.72%
Ohio $37,090 $59,540 -$22,450 -37.71%
Oklahoma $36,620 $47,960 -$11,340 -23.64%
Oregon $47,670 $76,180 -$28,510 -37.42%
Pennsylvania $38,470 $59,640 -$21,170 -35.50%
Rhode Island $47,250 $61,340 -$14,090 -22.97%
South Carolina $36,400 $47,860 -$11,460 -23.94%
South Dakota $36,310 $47,470 -$11,160 -23.51%
Tennessee $36,360 $48,190 -$11,830 -24.55%
Texas $37,310 $59,780 -$22,470 -37.59%
Utah $37,170 $59,640 -$22,470 -37.68%
Vermont $46,480 $59,640 -$13,160 -22.07%
Virginia $36,930 $59,170 -$22,240 -37.59%
Washington $47,940 $74,070 -$26,130 -35.28%
West Virginia $32,880 $47,450 -$14,570 -30.71%
Wisconsin $37,850 $60,060 -$22,210 -36.98%
Wyoming $37,990 $59,650 -$21,660 -36.31%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


34. LPN VS. RN: Who Earns A Higher Average Salary In Your State?

Possibly the most noteworthy difference between LPN and RN jobs from a practitioner’s point of view is in the area of salary. In every one of the 50 states, registered nurses earn higher average salaries than licensed practical nurses.

State Average Annual Salary Difference
LPN RN Number %
Alabama $41,540 $61,920 -$20,380 -32.91%
Alaska $63,650 $97,230 -$33,580 -34.54%
Arizona $57,800 $81,600 -$23,800 -29.17%
Arkansas $43,040 $65,810 -$22,770 -34.60%
California $65,140 $124,000 -$58,860 -47.47%
Colorado $55,360 $80,670 -$25,310 -31.37%
Connecticut $59,440 $88,530 -$29,090 -32.86%
Delaware $53,040 $77,760 -$24,720 -31.79%
Florida $47,860 $72,000 -$24,140 -33.53%
Georgia $47,370 $75,380 -$28,010 -37.16%
Hawaii $53,320 $106,530 -$53,210 -49.95%
Idaho $49,440 $73,640 -$24,200 -32.86%
Illinois $54,080 $78,260 -$24,180 -30.90%
Indiana $51,500 $68,890 -$17,390 -25.24%
Iowa $48,010 $64,990 -$16,980 -26.13%
Kansas $46,550 $66,560 -$20,010 -30.06%
Kentucky $47,140 $67,260 -$20,120 -29.91%
Louisiana $43,900 $70,380 -$26,480 -37.62%
Maine $50,790 $73,630 -$22,840 -31.02%
Maryland $56,380 $82,660 -$26,280 -31.79%
Massachusetts $61,820 $96,630 -$34,810 -36.02%
Michigan $54,090 $75,930 -$21,840 -28.76%
Minnesota $51,160 $84,030 -$32,870 -39.12%
Mississippi $41,530 $63,130 -$21,600 -34.22%
Missouri $46,010 $67,790 -$21,780 -32.13%
Montana $48,300 $73,610 -$25,310 -34.38%
Nebraska $48,040 $69,850 -$21,810 -31.22%
Nevada $60,490 $88,800 -$28,310 -31.88%
New Hampshire $59,140 $78,270 -$19,130 -24.44%
New Jersey $58,590 $89,690 -$31,100 -34.67%
New Mexico $56,040 $77,590 -$21,550 -27.77%
New York $53,750 $93,320 -$39,570 -42.40%
North Carolina $49,210 $71,200 -$21,990 -30.88%
North Dakota $50,130 $71,200 -$21,070 -29.59%
Ohio $48,030 $71,640 -$23,610 -32.96%
Oklahoma $44,910 $68,180 -$23,270 -34.13%
Oregon $60,090 $98,630 -$38,540 -39.08%
Pennsylvania $51,090 $76,000 -$24,910 -32.78%
Rhode Island $59,800 $85,270 -$25,470 -29.87%
South Carolina $46,470 $69,580 -$23,110 -33.21%
South Dakota $41,830 $60,540 -$18,710 -30.91%
Tennessee $43,620 $66,680 -$23,060 -34.58%
Texas $50,220 $79,120 -$28,900 -36.53%
Utah $50,740 $72,790 -$22,050 -30.29%
Vermont $54,180 $75,160 -$20,980 -27.91%
Virginia $48,430 $76,680 -$28,250 -36.84%
Washington $63,250 $95,350 -$32,100 -33.67%
West Virginia $41,310 $67,640 -$26,330 -38.93%
Wisconsin $49,850 $76,850 -$27,000 -35.13%
Wyoming $50,970 $73,130 -$22,160 -30.30%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)