LPN vs RN: Difference and Comparison

Treating a patient is the most crucial job in the world, as one mistake can result in loss of life sometimes, that is the worst thing that can happen to anyone, but saving someone is also the greatest thing any person can do.

The professions engaged in such jobs or, in simpler terms, engaged in medical fields are doctors, nurses, physician assistants, etc., doctors are the main profession that performs major surgeries and other medical tests.

But nowadays, another most preferred career in the medical field is the nurse. It is because they also engage in the betterment of the patient and require less educational qualification than a doctor.

Now, there are many choices in the field of the nurse as well, the most famous are LPN and RN.

Key Takeaways

  1. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) complete a one-year program, while Registered Nurses (RNs) have a two- to a four-year education.
  2. RNs have a broader scope of practice and can perform more complex procedures than LPNs.
  3. RNs have higher salaries and more career advancement opportunities than LPNs.

LPN vs RN 

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) offer basic health care services under the guidance of a professional or a doctor. These nurses must have a qualified degree and a license to treat patients. Registered Nurse (RN) is a nursing profession that offers full health care services without the guidance of a professional. They are in high demand within schools, clinics and hospitals.


LPN is a profession or type of Nurse. It is a profession that needs to work under the guidance of a doctor or other advanced professional.

They are not allowed to work independently. They have to perform basic functions, such as providing care to stable patients, checking their test reports, telling them the precautions, and measuring the need for fast recovery. Etc.

They are paid a good amount of salary, but when compared to others, their salary is less.

RN is also a type of nurse that requires advanced educational qualifications. They can be a part of the doctor’s team and can also work independently.

They have to perform major or serious functions; for example, they can be part of major surgeries, they can prescribe medications, etc., and they can hire assistance to help.

They are in high demand and are paid a good amount of salary that is higher than the other professions/nurses, such as LPNs.

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLPNRN
Minimum educationOne year of degreeAdvanced education
LicenseMandatoryNot mandatory
Independently workingCannot workCan work
DemandLess demand More demand
SalaryLess salary More salary

What is LPN?

Licensed Practical Nurse is a profession associated with the medical field. It requires less time to become a nurse, and the following are the duties of an LPN:

  • They have to feed and bathe patients.
  • They have to keep a check on the blood pressure and temperature of the patient.
  • They have to change the bandages and clean the wounds.
  • They have to keep the records of the patients.
  • They have to communicate with the patient about how they feel and what precautions measures have to be taken.

 LPN has to earn a qualified degree in diploma, which covers the following topics:

  • Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychology
  • Human Development

Also sometimes they should have experience of working as an assistant. However, each state and place has different rules for qualifying an LPN.

They are qualified to treat the patient directly and prescribe medications for them. They can only see a stable patient. They can be easily seen as assistants of doctors and RNs in pharmacies, clinics, etc.

For work, it is necessary they should have a license.


What is RN?

Registered Nurse is a profession under nursing. They provide most of the care to the patient and have to check the work of the assistants. The following are the duties of a Registered Nurse:

  • They have to administer medications and check the drip along with the drawing of blood.
  • They have operated and monitored all the medical equipment.
  • They are responsible for taking the necessary tests and collecting samples from the labs.
  • Communicate with patients to take necessary precautions after the treatment.
  • They have to administer the senior doctors to improve the care and treatment.

They get a good amount of salary annually as they are required at most of the health care institutes. They require having a degree and advanced education qualification, which includes the following topics:

  • Advanced health assessment skills.
  • Courses focused on mental health, community nursing, and gerontological.
  • Nursing-based research.
  • Management and leadership.

There are different rules for a Registered Nurse in terms of having a license. Some might not consider it a necessity. Some might not.


Main Differences Between LPN and RN 

  1. LPNs and RNs differ in terms of the basic job description. LPNs are mainly responsible for assisting RNs and doctors mainly, they look after providing care to stable patients, they do not engage with any critical patients, while RNs have to look after the LPNs whether they are performing their tasks responsibly or not, they are part of main teams of a doctor.
  2. Both of them work in different environment, LPNs works in the physician’s office, home healthcare agencies, nursing homes, etc., whereas RNs works in schools, private clinics, hospitals, etc.
  3. LPNs provide basic health care and other administrative duties under the doctors, whereas RNs provide full care to the patients, take necessary tests, and engage with more crucial work.
  4. Education requirement for both of them is different, LPN is required to have a one-year degree in a diploma or nursing course, while to practice as RNs more advanced qualification is required along with the degree, they have to be experienced in working with patients.
  5. Lastly, they also differ when it comes to the demands of the profession. LPNs are less demanding as their work is minor and can be performed by any other medical profession, they don’t have any special work or engage with difficult patients, while RN is a more demanding profession due to the work they perform, they are engaged directly in treating their patients.
Difference Between LPN and RN
  1. https://journals.lww.com/nurseeducatoronline/Abstract/1987/07000/EDUCATIONAL_MOBILITY_IN_NURSING__LPN_TO_RN.10.aspx
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1557308710000235
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2155825615301733
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Last Updated : 23 August, 2023

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16 thoughts on “LPN vs RN: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The most important work in the world is done by doctors and nurses. They perform a crucial job in treating patients and saving lives. However, the nurse profession has become more popular due to requiring less educational qualification than doctors but still contributing towards betterment of the patient.

    • Doctors and nurses indeed perform the most crucial job in the world. Their roles are equally important in providing care and treatment to patients.

  2. The LPN and RN comparison table is a useful tool for anyone interested in entering the nursing profession. It succinctly presents the differences in education, licensing, and responsibilities.

  3. The article provides a comprehensive understanding of the LPN and RN roles, highlighting the distinctions in the demands, salaries, and responsibilities for these nursing professions.

    • The detailed examination of LPN and RN duties and qualifications offered by the article is highly beneficial for those seeking a career in nursing.

  4. The article effectively outlines the main differences between LPN and RN, helping readers understand the varying responsibilities and educational requirements for these nursing professions.

    • Indeed, the comparison between LPN and RN is valuable for individuals considering a career in nursing. It provides detailed insights into the roles and qualifications of each profession.

  5. It’s great to see the comparison of LPN and RN highlighted. This helps understand the roles of the medical professionals better. RNs have more advanced skills and qualifications, and thus the demand and salary are also higher.

    • The demand and salary differences clearly show the value of advanced nursing qualifications. It’s an important factor to consider when choosing a career in nursing.

    • That’s true, the comparison really makes it clear that RNs require advanced education and can perform more complex procedures than LPNs.

  6. The duties of LPNs and RNs are clearly explained, showing the importance of educational qualifications and the scope of practice for each role. This can guide individuals in choosing which nursing career path to pursue.

    • Agreed, the article presents an informative comparison between LPN and RN, providing insights into the responsibilities and qualifications required for each nursing role.

  7. The article does a good job of explaining the key differences between LPN and RN. This can help aspiring nurses to make informed decisions about their career paths.

  8. LPNs and RNs have different roles in the medical field, and this article effectively highlights the key differences. It’s crucial to understand these differences when considering a career in nursing.

    • Absolutely, understanding the scope of practice and differences in responsibilities is essential for anyone pursuing a career in nursing.

    • The comparison table provided really simplifies the disparities between LPN and RN. It’s a valuable resource for those interested in the nursing profession.


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