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Mayuri Kulkarni
What is the difference between LPN and RN? It is a common question asked by students who want to pursue a career in nursing. This story will help you know the exact difference between these two professions.
A nurse is a health care professional who works in conjunction with other health care professionals and ensures quick recovery of a patient. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Registered Nurse (RN) are two commonly confused professions of nursing.

Difference between LPN and RN

An LPN and an RN have altogether different educational requirements and set of duties to perform. Moreover, they also have different career opportunities and their salary range also varies. Both of them have unique job descriptions and requirements, and given below is a comparison of all these factors.

Educational Requirements

The basic difference in the educational requirements is that, a student has to attend one year course to become LPN and a 2 year or 4 years degree in nursing to become RN. Thus, it is clear that the education required to become a registered nurse is vast and lengthy, as compared to that required for licensed practical nurse.
And eventually, RNs have detailed knowledge about nursing than LPNs. To become an RN, a student has to acquire either a 2 years Associate's degree in nursing or a 4 years Bachelor's degree. The one year course required to become an LPN can be the shortest way to enter the field of nursing. Let us take a look at the job description for these professions.

Job Description

The main difference between the two types with respect to job is that, an RN can supervise LPN. Thus, RNs occupy a higher level than the LPNs. RN can take important decision regarding the treatment provided to a patient, however, an LPN is not allowed to do so.
An RN performs independent set of duties that is not supervised, while an LPN has to work under supervision of either a physician or an RN. Some of the basic responsibilities of an RN include, administering medications to the patient, developing and managing nursing plans, taking independent decisions and assisting the physician.
An LPN also has similar set of duties but these are more related to direct patient care and include feeding the patient, helping the patient with bathing and dressing, collecting samples, administering injections, etc.
Thus, we can conclude that an RN has more responsibilities and complex duties as compared to her counterpart and secures a higher place in the hierarchy.

Salary Range

When it comes to comparing the salaries of a freshman LPN and RN, it is observed that a freshman RN earns almost double than an entry-level LPN. The median annual salary of an RN is around $57,280, while that of an LPN is around $40,110.
Moreover, RNs have good advancement opportunities in their careers and can secure positions in management of a hospital or health care institution. Some of them also join universities and nursing schools and guide future nursing professionals.
Such RNs earn good annual salary, which can be anywhere between $70,000 to $90,000. Given below is a table that will give you an idea about the LPN and RN salaries.
Work Experience (in years) - Less than 1 year

LPN Salary (in $) - 27,245 to 39,598

RN Salary (in $) - 38,483 to 53,294
Work Experience (in years) - 1 to 4

LPN Salary (in $) - 28,779 to 40,306

RN Salary (in $) - 40,659 to 59,038
Work Experience (in years) - 5 to 9

LPN Salary (in $) - 30,572 to 45,014

RN Salary (in $) - 46,797 to 65,210

Work Experience (in years) - 10 to 19

LPN Salary (in $) - 32,275 to 46,394

RN Salary (in $) - 49,568 to 70,196

Work Experience (in years) - 20 years or more

LPN Salary (in $) - 33,796 to 47,204

RN Salary (in $) - 50,473 to 72,115
If you are thinking of becoming an LPN or an RN, make sure you conduct a good search of all the requirements for licensed practical nurse and also for the registered nurse.