CNA vs LPN: Difference and Comparison

Diseases are increasing more than the population. Taking care of those patients is vital while they go through tortuous conditions. The Certified Nursing Assistant( CNA) and Licensed Practical Nurse( LPN) are two professions of taking care of patients.

Before choosing nursing as a profession, it is vital to know the difference between CNA and LPN.

Key Takeaways

  1. CNAs provide basic patient care, such as bathing, feeding, and assisting with mobility, while LPNs provide more advanced care, such as administering medication and monitoring patients’ vital signs.
  2. CNAs require less education and training than LPNs, as they complete a short-term certification program, while LPNs require completion of a state-approved nursing program.
  3. CNAs work under the supervision of nurses and physicians, while LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians.


A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a health care professional responsible for providing basic care and daily assistance to patients under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). A CNA will serve as a patient’s primary caregiver in a long-term facility.


A Certified Nursing Assistant can guide a Nurse team with basic qualifications on supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse( RN). One who completes a high school diploma or receives a GED certificate can join in the CNA training.

Places like community colleges and technical schools are offering the CNA course. Even online components are available in some states, but one needs to attain in-person training to get the certificate. The Certified Nursing Assistant can do responding to patient call lights and Serve and feed patients with meals.

A Licensed Practical Nurse can do some additional tasks along with the CNA under the guidance of the Registered Nurse(RN). It is an in-depth formal training program.

Like CNA, The LPN offers in community colleges and technical schools, but they need to complete the course in person. You need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to get the certificate.

The LPN act as a stepping stone in your nursing career to lead to higher positions.

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Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonCNALPN
Course durationThe CNA completed in 4-12 weeksThe LPN completed in 12 months
SalaryCNA has less wage compared to LPNLPN has a high salary compared to CNA
Course detailThe CNA has basic knowledge.The LPN has in-depth medicine dosage, pathology.
CertificationThe CNA completes the state competency.The LPN needs to crack the National Council Licensure Examination.
DutiesThe CNA can do answering patient call lights and Serving and feeding patients meals.The LPN can do medication and collects samples (e.g., blood, urine, etc.)

What is CNA?

The Certified Nursing Assistant(CNA) is a caretaker of patients. They do their needs like offering meals, helping with the bathroom, etc. They may be called essential care providers. They are not nurses but a frontline between medical staff and patients.

If you’re looking for a career in the nursing profession, CNA will enrich your experience. It provides you to work for others. In this job, you can meet a variety of people every day and advance in your career.

The Certified Nursing Assistant can not draw blood from the patients for testing. The cities in California paid the highest salary for CNAs. The physical work demands of CNA. You need to take care of immobile patients also.

The person must be able to tolerate the conditions. It is dedicated work for others. Somewhat it is a stressful job if you won’t work dedicatedly. The CNA is allowed to administer drugs like oral, topical, and eye drops.

Depending on the hospitals and procedures, they clean the dead bodies. It is a demanding and easy career for one who finds a career in the nursing profession.

The Certified Nursing Assistant allows assisting newborn babies if they are working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). CNA-2 are the ones who study additional courses or specializations. They can assist the nursing personnel.


What is LPN?

The Licensed Practical Nurse can do some additional work with CNA. The LPNs get paid more compared to CNAs. They do several jobs like checking blood pressure, administering drugs, etc.

Their vital duty is to caring the patients by dressing the wounds and injecting the medicines. The LPN take care of patients who can do their work by going to their home. The LPN is the one who checks and tests your body before the doctor.

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The Licensed Practical Nurse uses the authority to declare death if the Registered Nurse (RN) is unavailable. The Licensed Practical Nurse can have the option to specialize in the area and become a charge nurse.

Further education will help them to become Registered nurses. The Licensed Practical Nurse(LPN) is the next level of Certified Nursing Assistant(CNA). The Licensed Practical Nurses work in nursing homes and some long-term medical facilities often.

You need to clear the state exam and then apply for a national license to become an LPN. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) offers LPN programs.

With a specialization in certain areas as an LPN, your income will increase.

Pharmacology, long-term care, and IV therapy are the additional courses in LPN. According to a census, 38% of LPNs work in nursing homes.


Main Differences Between CNA and LPN

  1. The CNA course gets completed in 4-12 weeks, and the LPN course gets completed in 12 months.
  2. CNAs has less wage compared to LPN, and LPN has high salary compared to CNAs.
  3. The CNA has basic knowledge, and the LPN has in-depth medicine dosage, and pathology.
  4. The CNA completes the state competency, and the LPN needs to crack the National Council Licensure Examination.
  5. The CNA can do responding to patient call lights, and the LPN can do medication and collects samples (e.g., blood, urine, etc.).
Difference Between CNA and LPN

Last Updated : 17 August, 2023

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29 thoughts on “CNA vs LPN: Difference and Comparison”

  1. A very enlightening article on CNA and LPN duties and qualifications. It provides valuable insights into these professions.

  2. The article provides an incredibly in-depth look into the roles and educational requirements of CNAs and LPNs. This is extremely helpful for those interested in this field.

  3. Very informative article regarding the responsibilities and training requirements for CNAs and LPNs. Well explained.

  4. An excellent overview of the responsibilities and differences between CNAs and LPNs. The clarity of information is commendable.

  5. An extremely informative and enlightening article about both CNA and LPN roles and responsibilities. It provides invaluable insights for those interested in the nursing profession.

    • Indeed, this article is a crucial source of information for anyone considering a career in nursing. It offers comprehensive insights.

  6. This is a great summary of the difference between CNAs and LPNs. It’s important to highlight the distinctions to help people decide which career path to pursue.

  7. Thank you for the detailed breakdown of the roles and differences between CNAs and LPNs. It’s an important resource for individuals considering nursing careers.

  8. This provides a thorough comparison of CNA and LPN roles, it’s critical information for anyone considering entering the healthcare sector.

    • Yes, the role distinctions are outlined effectively in this article, which is essential for individuals who wish to make an informed career choice.

  9. An extremely interesting and detailed comparison between CNA and LPN roles and education requirements. Thank you for this insightful article.

    • I couldn’t agree more. The thoroughness of the information will surely help individuals decide which nursing path to take.

  10. Thank you for providing clear details about the roles and responsibilities of CNAs and LPNs. This will be beneficial for those considering a career in nursing.


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