What Is the Difference Between LPN and RN?

Nurses have the opportunity to help people every day and truly make a difference in the lives of their patients. Many people dream of a career in nursing, and maybe you are one of them. Nursing is an exciting career field to choose from, with many different healthcare areas you could work in. The nursing field is growing, which makes it an excellent career choice now and in the future. Today, we’re going to tell you all about the differences between two types of nurses, a Licensed Practical Nurse and a Registered Nurse.

Career Outlook

Registered nurses enjoy a promising career outlook here in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the growth rate for registered nurses will be 7% from 2019 to 2029, which is more than the 4% average growth for all occupations combined. Because of the increased growth rate, there will be a higher need for qualified registered nurses in the future, and employers will need trained professionals for these positions.

According to the BLS, the projected growth rate for licensed practical nurses in the United States is 9% from 2019 to 2029. This is also more than the 4% average growth rate, so employers will need an increased number of qualified and trained licensed practical nurses.

Skills Needed

Registered nurses have numerous responsibilities to provide patient care, educate patients, give advice, and provide emotional support. Some of the duties that registered nurses typically perform include assessing a patient’s condition, administering medicine and treatment, operating medical equipment, and helping perform diagnostic tests.

At East Ohio, students training to become registered nurses will have the opportunity to practice their direct patient skills in a real-world healthcare setting during their clinicals. Students can potentially complete their clinicals at Akron Children’s Hospital, East Liverpool City Hospital, and Heritage Valley Health System.

Licensed practical nurses focus more on providing basic medical care and work under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors. Some of the responsibilities of licensed practical nurses include monitoring patients’ health, providing basic patient care, reporting patients’ status and concerns, and keeping patient health records.

Training Required

To become a Registered Nurse, you will need to complete specialized training that prepares you for this career field. Typically, students who become nurses complete a bachelor’s degree or associate degree, with courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, psychology, and more. Bachelor’s degrees typically take four or more years to complete, and associate degrees are usually completed in two years. Registered nurses are required to be licensed in the state they are working in and must pass the NCLEX-RN* exam.

Our Nursing program at East Ohio College trains students to become registered nurses in only 24 months. Students complete comprehensive NCLEX-RN* training while preparing to excel in the nursing field.

To start a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse, students must complete a state-approved program typically completed in one year and includes training in areas like nursing, biology, and pharmacology. After completing a program, students must pass the NCLEX-PN** exam to work as a Licensed Practical Nurse in their state.

Work Environment

According to BLS data, registered nurses are most likely to work in hospitals, with 60% employed in this setting in 2019. Registered nurses’ next most common employers are physicians’ offices, home healthcare, outpatient care, nursing and residential care facilities, government, and education. Nurses can work in specialized healthcare areas such as critical care, neonatal, rehabilitation, and public health. Nurses spend a lot of time on their feet and must follow strict guidelines to create a sterile environment and guard against diseases.

According to BLS, licensed practical nurses are most likely to work in nursing and residential care facilities, with 38% employed there. After that, the most common employers for licensed practical nurses are hospitals, physician’s offices, home health care services, and the government. LPNs are on their feet for much of their workday and must be able to lift patients who have trouble caring for themselves. Many licensed practical nurses are required to work nights, weekends, and holidays, and shifts that last longer than 8 hours.

Get Started

Now that you know the difference between registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, you can make an informed decision on the best career choice for you. If becoming a registered nurse is your dream, East Ohio is here to help!

In our Nursing program, you receive dedicated support from experienced instructors as you earn your nursing degree. We also offer an LPN to RN Bridge program for those already an LPN that want to take their nursing career to the next level.

With hands-on training, real-world clinical experiences, and career services, we are here to set you up for career success! Contact us at 330-385-1070 or request information today to get started on your path to your dream nursing career!


*Passing the NCLEX – RN exam is required to become a Registered Nurse.

**Passing the NCLEX – PN exam is required to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.