The Difference Between A LPN And A RN

LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse is very different from a RN or Registered Nurse.  In terms of educational background, a LPN needs to complete a year of LPN course while a RN must finish at least two years of associate degree or four years of bachelor’s degree.  This may mean that the LPN can get a job faster than the RN but RN has a higher educational background than the LPN.  Both courses will require a licensure exam before getting a job. These are NCLEX-PN exam for the LPN and NCLEX-RN exam for the RN.  The RN licensure exam is the more difficult of the two exams as RNs have additional training in critical thinking, communication and leadership during their associate or bachelor’s degree.

In the job responsibilities, there is also a significant difference of both nursing courses.  Licensed practical nurses are involved in performing the basic patient care duties while the registered nurses supervise the work of the LPNs.  This means that RNs are the one making sure that LPNs are doing their jobs properly.  For LPNs they are doing the general nursing job while RNs can go into specialization such as pediatrics or obstetrics.  RNs can take up master’s degree of their choice while LPNs need additional training if they want to become RNs.

In terms of job opportunities, the RNs are seen to have higher job opportunities than the LPNs.  But both nursing professions can expect increase in demand as there is also a rise in the aging population.  LPNs have relatively lower salary than RNs where average salary of LPN is at $37,000 while RNs annual income is at $58,500.  It is because LPNs work under the RNs that make up for the difference in the salary range.  In addition, the educational background is a factor in the potential earning of both professions.

So in essence, a registered nurse degree is the better option in starting a nursing career.  However, for most that want to work earlier, they can take the license practical nurse first.  After they have obtained their license as LPN, they can work part time then pursue the RN degree.  This option is better especially if you want to already work but learn at the same time.  It may seem to be a slower course to a more lucrative nursing job but it is better than not doing it at all because you think you are constraint financially.  If you want to be a nurse, there are ways to do it and this is one practical route to achieving such career.

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