LPN vs. RN and How to Go from LPN to RN

There are many paths towards a nursing license; both have things in common such as written classwork and clinical practice. Students have required completion of prerequisite classwork, and they also need a position of basic requirements of mobility, health and a good reader. Depending on the program, LPN studies are usually faster than RN programs by at least 1 year. Please note that an accelerated program is for those who already have a Bachelor’s degree.

Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

  • Certificate 12 months
  • Associate Applied Science 2 years

Registered Nurse (RN)

  • Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) 21/2 years
  • Diploma 3 years
  • Baccalaureate Degree (BSN) 4 years
  • Accelerated Nursing Programs 1 year

After finishing an accredited nursing program, students who meet licensure goals are ready for the National Council Licensure Examination for their license.

woman taking notes

LPN VS RN Licensure Requirements

  • Screening Process
  • Background Check
  • Fingerprints

Certifications are credentials earned by either experience and written test in special areas. The Licensed practical nurse licenses don’t have any certifications. RN’s have hundreds of certifications in areas such as pediatrics, adult, and geriatric.

LPN VS RN Advanced Certifications

  • RN Certification few listed below
  • Certified Nephrology Nurse CNN
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist CNS-BC
  • Certified Pediatrics Emergency Nurse CPEN
  • Oncology Certified Nurse OCN
  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist AGCNS-BC
  • Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist PMHCNS-BC
  • Cardiac-Vascular Nursing RN-BC
  • Informatics Nursing RN-BC

The nursing professional requires that learning is an important part of its practice which continues for decades by continuing educations and advanced degrees if desired. Nursing pay is based on the level of education, so many nurses want higher degrees.

LPN VS RN Advanced Degrees

Licensed Practical Nurse

  • Registered Nurse (ADN)either or(BSN)

Registered Nurse

  • Masters Clinical
  • Master Midwife
  • Masters Nurse Practitioner
  • Master Research
  • Master Anesthetist
  • Masters Nursing Education
  • Doctorate Nursing Education

LPN to RN Bridge Programs

Some community colleges and technical schools offer LPN to RN bridge programs that use nurse experience and complete goals for the NCLEX-RN usually in 12-18 months. Most requirement includes 1 year LPN License in good standing along with 1 year of full-time employment. Some programs also require a letter of reference from current employer or supervisor.

LPN to ADN Program

  • NCLEX-RN Eligible
  • 2 Years
  • Limited Career Opportunities
  • Associates Degree

LPN to BSN Programs

  • NCLEX-RN Eligible
  • Better Job Options
  • Higher Degree Options

LPN to RN Benefits

  • Faster than Tradition RN programs
  • Less Expensive Than 4 Year Programs
  • Current Employer Tuition Reimbursement

Career Opportunities

Nurses have many job choices based on experience, location and city size which can affect jobs choices. Most LPNs get work in LTCF and have chances for promotion toward manager positions. Now, most RN’s find jobs in hospitals with many chances for better jobs in the hospital.

Licensed Practical Nurse

  • Long-Term Care Facility (LTCF) 49%
  • Hospitals 20%
  • Physician Practices 15%
  • Home Health Agency
  • Dialysis Facilities

Registered Nurse

  • Hospitals 50%
  • Nursing Homes 30%
  • Doctors
  • Dialysis Clinics
  • Home Health companies
  • County Health Department
  • State Public Health Departments
  • Prisons
  • Health Insurance Companies
  • Clinical Research Organization
  • Drugs Companies
  • Companies Employee Health programs
  • School Health Programs
  • Managers

Job duties

At first, it is hard determining big differences between the two in the medical setting unless you understand their basic duties. They both care for patients, give drugs and meet patient needs.

The basic difference is LPN are taught nursing tasks, but RN is taught nursing tasks along with the development of critical thinking skills. Please note that LPNs working in the Long Term Care Facility mostly will have more duties than others in the hospital.

LPN Role and Duties

  • Basic Nursing Task
  • Vitals
  • Bathing
  • Wound Care
  • Give Food Trays
  • Place Naso Gastric Feeding Tubes
  • Watches Patients
  • Plan of Care
  • Reports RN and or MD
  • Remind Medical Instructions
  • Performs Basic CPR

RN Role and Duties

  • Basic Nursing Tasks
  • Creates Plan of Care
  • Nursing Assessments
  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Supervises LPN and CNA
  • Analyze Patient Labs Values
  • Instruct Patients Managing Care
  • Monitor treatment Post Illness
  • Monitors Documentation
  • Reports to MD
  • Performs Basic Life Support
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support

LPN vs. RN Average Salary

The Bureau Labor Statistic reports, the average salary for Licensed Practical Nurse and Registered Nurse in 2010. Please note these are averages based on experience, employer, and location which can affect nurses pay.

  • Licensed Practical Nurse $40,000 Average Salary
  • Registered Nurse $65,000 Average Salary

LPN VS. RN Projected Job Growth 2025

  • LPN Job Outlook 23% Expected Growth
  • RN Job Outlook 28% Expected Growth

In summary, the profession of nursing has enjoyed being well thought of because of their caring for ill patients in a time of need. In the United State, there are 3.2 million active RN’s, and 800,000 thousand LPN active in the US.

There are many pathways for nursing licensure with some being faster than others, but leaving students with more choices for jobs and job promotions. Each future nurse should think about their job goals in order choose which pathway suits their personal situation. Please note in most hospitals throughout the country, nurses need a BSN degree or enrollment in an accredited program.

Each nurse license requires students complete written and hands-on practice and successfully passed a licensure exam. In addition, a licensee is required to complete continuing education units within a time frame depending on State Residency. The nursing profession is an excellent career option with many job choices that are expected growth for years to come.