LVN vs RN: Difference and Comparison

RN and LVN are the most common healthcare occupations in the United States of America because of their critical role in Patient care. Even though some of their tasks overlap, they are two distinct professions that most people find difficult to understand.

The nature of the work, educational background, and pay are all rather different.

Key Takeaways

  1. LVN stands for Licensed Vocational Nurse and requires less education than RN.
  2. RN stands for Registered Nurse and can perform more advanced procedures than LVN.
  3. RNs earn a higher salary than LVNs and have more job opportunities.


LVNs have completed a practical nursing program that takes about a year to complete, and they are licensed to provide basic nursing care under the supervision of an RN or physician. RN requires more extensive education and training. RNs have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).


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Licensed Vocational Nurses are abbreviated to LVN. Licensed vocational nurses, sometimes known as LVNs, are crucial to have. A licenced vocational nurse, or LVN, can expect to make roughly $42,000 per year.

A licenced vocational nurse, or LVN, cannot work on their own. Because LVNs have fewer skills, their job opportunities are limited. Registered nurses are abbreviated as RNs. Licensure is not required for registered nurses.

It is, nonetheless, critical. A registered nurse, also known as an RN, earns around $69000 per year. A registered nurse, or RN, can work independently and has permission to do so. Registered nurses have superior abilities and, as a result, a broader scope of practice.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLVNRN
AcronymLicensed Vocational Nurses.Registered nurses.
EducationMinimal/basic education of 12 months approx.Advanced education of 2-4 years.
LicensureLicensure is important.Licensure is important, but not mandatory.
Independent workCan work independently. Can not work independently.
Scope and skillsLesser skills, the limited scope of work. Better skills, the better scope of work.

What is LVN?

Licensed Vocational Nurses are abbreviated as LVN. To be eligible for the licenced vocational nurse’s degree, or LVN, one must first complete a basic education programme, which takes about a year.

Licensed vocational nurses, or LVNs, are essential to have. A licenced vocational nurse, known as an LVN, earns roughly $42,000 per year. An LVN, or licenced vocational nurse, is unable to work alone.

LVNs have lesser expertise and, thus, a smaller scope of employment. The LVN is a licenced vocational nurse with less schooling, lower pay, and a narrower area of practice than the RN.

To become an LVN, one must first complete an accredited nursing programme, which takes at least a year full-time and roughly 18 months part-time. Nursing subjects such as pharmacology, biology, physiology, anatomy, and, last but not least, clinical practice under the supervision of a supervisor are strictly followed here.

After completing the programme, students must take the NCLEX-PN tests to become a licenced vocational or licenced practical nurse, which is recognised in all states.


What is RN?

Registered nurses are designated by the abbreviation RN. To become an RN or registered nurse, one must complete a post-secondary school programme that takes two to four years to complete.

Licensure is optional for registered nurses. It is crucial, however. A registered nurse, known as an RN, earns approximately $69000 per year. A registered nurse (RN) can work autonomously and has permission to do so.

Registered nurses have more advanced abilities and, as a result, a broader scope of practice. The registered nurse (RN) is a professional nurse who is licenced in every state.

Registered nurses must also pass the NCLEX-RN examinations, which are more difficult than the NCLEX-PN exams, in addition to completing their studies. These tests look at how registered nurses make decisions and think critically.

To practise as a Registered Nurse, you’ll need extra education. A diploma in nursing science, ASN or a BSN are the three options available. The first two programmes take at least two years to finish, while the BSN programme takes four years.


Main Differences Between LVN and RN

  1. LVN is the acronym fit for Licensed Vocational Nurses. On the other hand, RN is the acronym fit for Registered nurses.
  2. To become qualified for the licensed vocational nurse’s degree or LVN, one must at least complete a minimal education which takes approximately twelve months. On the other hand, to be qualified for RN or registered nurse, one must complete an advanced education which requires around two to four years of study.
  3. Licensed vocational nurses or LVN are important to be licensed. On the other hand, for registered nurses, licensure is not mandatory. However, it is important.
  4. It is not possible for an LVN or licensed vocational nurse to work independently. On the other hand, a registered nurse or RN has the potential and authority to work independently.
  5. LVNs possess lesser skills and hence have a limited scope of work. On the other hand, registered nurses possess better skills and hence better scope of work.
Difference Between LVN and RN

Last Updated : 07 August, 2023

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