Difference Between LPN and CNA (With Table)

If you want to make a career in the nursing profession, then you should know about every information related to it. The most important thing which you should know is what different position comes under nursing profession. In the same vein, two important professions related to the nursing profession are the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), between which it is important to know the difference.


The main difference between LPN and CNA is that LPN provides more care to patients which are protected by RNs and have no limits On the other hand, the CNA nursing team has a basic set of care boundaries within which they operate. In addition, an LPN training program period is more than a CNA. CNA training program is shorter and, a CNA has a lower salary and allows candidates to start their CNA career early.

The full form of LPN is Licenced Practical Nurse. They work under the supervision of registered nurses (RN’s)  and doctors, performing basic duties like noting down the vital signs, collecting samples, follow-up with patients on medication, ensuring their comfort, overseeing the CNA, reporting the status of patients to the nurses, etc. The scope of LPN practice is limited and full of guidance.

The full form of CNA is Certified Nursing Assistant. A Certified Nursing Assistant provides all-around care to patients with daily activities in which they might have trouble doing on their own like bathing and getting dressed up. Working CNA must have had physical strength as well as per task and desire to help the lonely patients, struggling with illness diseases, etc.

Comparison Table Between LPN and CNA

Parameters of Comparison LPNCNA
DefinitionThe LPN is a health care team that works under the supervision of RN’s and doctorsA Certified Nursing Assistant provides all-around care to patients under the supervision of a team of LPNs and RNs.
Full formThe full form of LPN is Licenced Practical Nurse.The full form of CNA is Certified Nursing Assistant.
DutiesLPN team has more duties to perform.CNA team has no duties to perform. 
SalaryLPNs get a high salary.CNA gets a low salary.
Training Program LPN training program is larger.CNA training program is shorter.

What is LPN?

A licensed practical nurse is an auxiliary nurse who provides all types of care to sick and disabled patients. The LPN is a health care team that works as a registered nurse and works under the supervision of other supervisors. The scope of his practice is limited and full of guidance.

All the tasks related to patients like giving medicine, collecting all their data, providing care to them in every way come under LPN. The LPN does not decide on the schemes and does not collect any data. Rather, all this work is done with the help of registered nurses.

LPN is a type of accredited program offered in community and vocational schools. The minimum duration of this program is 1 year, but sometimes it can be as long as 2 years in which it is completed. It requires competition for admission, it conducts its examination in which it selects competent candidates. Along with LPN’s classroom reading, it also conducts practical nursing classes, making it easy for its students.

If we talk about salary then the salary of LPN according to U.S. Beaureo of labor statistics on 16 May is around $44,840 which is an annual salary. It completely depends on the education level and the position in this field. 

What is CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant provides all-around care to patients under the supervision of a team of LPNs and RNs. It works as a healthy team with a limited range which is not long. Not everything related to nursing can be put under CNA.

CNAs serve patients in every way, from feeding, bathing, dressing, helping with work. They keep on giving their reports to the LPN and RN teams. The CNA team is also physically strong enough to be able to carry the patient to the bed.

To practice CNA, it is necessary to pass the exam of the selected area, which is easy and also easy to operate. CNA exam requirements vary from state to state, but in general, a high school diploma, completion of an accredited nursing training program, and CNA training are required. Before appearing for the CNA exam, a candidate must have vaccination records, TB test results, and a background check required without which he/she cannot sit for the exam. After qualifying for the exam, that candidate can easily work as a CNA.

According to U.S. Beaureo of labor statistics on 16 May, the annual salary of a CNA is around $26,540. The salary depends on the education level, experience, location, and type of employee. 

Main Differences Between LPN and CNA

  1. LPN provides licensed nurses while CNAs provide only certified nurses.
  2. LPN training program is larger whereas the CNA training program is shorter.
  3. LPN team performs basic duties towards the patient like collecting samples, vitals, administering the medication, etc while the CNA helps out the patient in bathing, cleaning the room, maintaining the hygiene of the room, etc.
  4. LPNs get a high salary while CNAs get low salaries.
  5. LPN works under the supervision of RN’s and doctors while CNA works under the supervision of LPN.


As we can see from the above paragraphs both LPN and CNA are the type of nurses program but their education, training program, basic duties, salary are different from each other. LPN’s are more emotionally connected to the patients and they interact with them daily to monitor their medication whereas CNS can work with the medical technology team. One must decide which program would be best for individuals according to their current studies and their interest in the program. As there is saying one who has good communication skills, listening skills who show affinity with all individuals would thrive in this field.


  1. https://journals.healio.com/doi/abs/10.3928/00989134-20080301-02
  2. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.2202/1548-923X.1588/html
  3. https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/bjcn.2015.20.5.233
2D vs 3D