CNA vs LPN: Choosing the Right Nursing Path for Your Career (2023)

Are you considering a career in nursing but are unsure as to which path is right for you? Hearing the term LPN vs CNA? To make the best choice, it’s important to understand the distinctions between Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN). With both paths having unique requirements and certifications, we can help guide you through each one so you can determine the right route. In this blog post, we’ll explore common topics including job duties of CNAs vs. LPNs, educational qualifications & licensing exams required, salary differences & expectations; and more. Understanding the difference between these two positions will enable anyone interested in nursing to confidently decide which nurse path best fits their goals. We will also analyze different lpn programs and cna training programs in Connecticut. Ready? Let’s dive into learning how to distinguish between LPN vs CNA roles!

(Video) CNA vs LVN | What's The Difference Between a CNA and LVN/LPN? | CNA Challenging Nursing Boards

Overview of Certified Nursing Assistants and Licensed Practical Nurse career paths

If you’re interested in the healthcare field but don’t want to commit to years of schooling, pursuing a career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) may be a great option for you. As a CNA, you’ll assist patients with activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing, dressing, and eating, while also taking vital signs and documenting patient information. LPNs have a bit more responsibility, in administering medication, performing wound care, and assisting with more complex medical procedures. Both career paths offer a sense of fulfillment from helping patients and working closely with medical professionals, and with the aging population, demand for these roles is only increasing. Plus, it can be a stepping stone to becoming a registered nurse (RN) in the future. Going through a CNA training program, then lpn program, and finally finishing up with a registered nurse program at your local community colleges can be a lifelong goal for many entering into large healthcare system.

(Video) CNA, LPN, RN, ADN, BSN | What’s The Difference? | Nursing Talk 👩🏿‍⚕️

Differences in educational requirements and job responsibilities: LPN VS CNA

In any career, there are always educational requirements and job responsibilities that must be met. Some careers indeed require more education than others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are better or more prestigious. For example, a journeyman electrician may only need a high school diploma and an apprenticeship, while a doctor may need years of medical school and residency training. However, both professions are vital to society and require specific skills and knowledge to perform their respective job responsibilities. It’s important to understand the educational requirements and job responsibilities for any given career, as well as to recognize the value and importance of all professions. Entering a certified nursing assistant program requires you to research local schools like Northeast Medical Institute which offers CNA Training programs offering direct patient care experience in local nursing homes.


Benefits of each career path : LPN VS CNA

Choosing a career path can be a daunting task, but there are many benefits to each one. For those who pursue a healthcare career, the ability to help others and make a positive impact on their health and well-being is a highly rewarding experience. Those who choose a business career have the opportunity to become leaders and make significant contributions to the economy. A career in education provides the chance to shape future generations and help students reach their full potential. Those who pursue a career in the arts can express their creativity and make a difference in society through their work. No matter which path you choose, some unique benefits and opportunities await in each field. Here are 4 benefits of becoming a LPN vs CNA?

(Video) All Nursing Degree Types: LPN/LVN, ADN, BSN, APRN, MSN & NP!

  1. Job Stability and Demand: The healthcare industry is growing rapidly, and the demand for LPNs is expected to increase in the coming years. This provides a stable career path with ample job opportunities.
  2. Shorter Education and Training: Compared to registered nurses (RNs), LPNs complete their education and training in a shorter time frame – typically 12 to 18 months. This allows for quicker entry into the workforce.
  3. Competitive Salary: LPNs generally earn competitive salaries compared to other entry-level healthcare professions, making it an attractive career choice for those looking for financial security.
  4. Flexible Work Settings: LPNs have the opportunity to work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and home healthcare services. This flexibility allows LPNs to choose a work environment that best suits their interests and needs.

Here are 4 benefits of becoming a CNA

(Video) What's Next for CNA's (Go From CNA to Registered Nurse, LPN or Doctor of Physical Therapy)

  1. Quick Entry into the Healthcare Field: CNA training programs are relatively short, typically lasting 4-12 weeks. This allows you to enter the healthcare workforce quickly compared to other nursing roles that require longer education and training.
  2. Affordable Education: CNA programs are generally more affordable than other nursing programs, making it a cost-effective choice for those looking to start a career in healthcare.
  3. Job Stability and Demand: The demand for CNAs is expected to grow in the coming years due to an aging population and the increasing need for long-term care. This provides job stability and ample opportunities for employment.
  4. Flexible Work Settings: CNAs have the opportunity to work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home healthcare services. This allows you to choose a work environment that best suits your interests and needs.

Areas of specialty for each nursing position

Nursing is a diverse and challenging field that offers a vast range of specialties. Each nursing position has its unique area of expertise, skills, and knowledge required to provide quality healthcare services. For instance, registered nurses (RNs) often specialize in areas such as critical care, medical-surgical, pediatrics, and oncology, among others. On the other hand, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) concentrate on fundamental patient care, such as monitoring vital signs and administering medications. Nursing assistants, also known as certified nursing aides (CNAs), work in long-term care facilities or hospitals, assisting patients with their activities of daily living (ADLs). Regardless of the specialty, nursing is a fulfilling career that demands compassion, resilience, and professionalism.


Factors to consider when making a decision between CNA and LPN careers

When contemplating a career in the healthcare field, two popular options to consider are Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Each profession has its unique set of duties and responsibilities. CNAs primarily focus on providing basic patient care, such as helping with daily activities and monitoring vital signs. On the other hand, LPNs have more advanced training and can perform tasks such as administering medication and assisting with medical procedures. When deciding between CNA and LPN careers, it’s essential to consider education and training requirements, job duties, salary expectations, and future career opportunities. Ultimately, choosing the right career path depends on individual preferences, goals, and aspirations within the healthcare field.

(Video) CNA TRAINING PROGRAM: WHAT TO EXPECT | 10 Steps You Need to Know | College Advice | The JouRNey(Ep2)

The future outlook for CNAs and LPNs in the healthcare industry

Making a decision on which nursing career is right for you can seem complicated at first, but overall it boils down to taking an honest look at yourself and what will best suit your goals. It’s important to consider factors such as the time needed for educational training, the financial implications of each path, any areas of specialty you would like explore and the potential job outlook when coming to a decision. Becoming either a CNA or LPN requires motivation, dedication and hard work – no matter which career path you choose to take, rest assured that your contribution to health care will be greatly appreciated. As this field continues to rapidly expand in scope and demand, now more than ever is the time to jump into the wonderful world of nursing!

(Video) Why RN’s always say don’t become an LPN/LVN.


What is the difference between a CNA and an LPN? ›

The main difference between a CNA and an LPN is the kind of care they give. CNAs help patients eat and bathe, which they would typically do independently. LPNs do basic nursing tasks like giving patients their medicine, updating their medical records, and helping other nurses.

How do I choose a career path in nursing? ›

5 steps to choosing the right nursing career path
  1. Determine why you became a nurse. For many nurses, a personal experience is their entry into the field. ...
  2. Figure out where you want to work. ...
  3. Research the education required for a nursing specialty. ...
  4. Consider work-life balance. ...
  5. Determine what aspects of nursing make you happy.
Sep 28, 2018

What are some of the responsibilities of a RN compared to a LPN or tech CNA? ›

LPNs perform tasks such as processing specimens and preparing patients for surgery or diagnostic tests. Registered nurses create nursing plans of care, and they also administer medications and treatments. Licensed practical nurses and registered nurses work in the same facilities, often closely as a team.

What are the biggest differences between LPN and RN? ›

LPNs usually provide more basic nursing care and are responsible for the comfort of the patient. RNs on the other hand, primarily administer medication, treatments, and offer educational advice to patients and the public. LPNs earn your ADN or BSN degree online in up to 1/2 the time and cost of traditional programs.

What can an RN do that an LPN Cannot? ›

RNs have a more expanded scope of practice than LPNs, in that they can perform diagnostic tests, administer medications, and educate patients on how to manage their health after treatment. RNs also oversee LPNs, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), and home health aides.

What is the difference between a CNA and a RN? ›

When comparing an RN and a CNA, the scope of work varies. RNs have more autonomy to do their jobs compared with CNAs, who are assistants to RNs and other medical providers. CNAs have a more limited scope and work under supervision, but they alleviate the workload of others, allowing for better overall patient care.

How do you answer why do you choose nursing as a career? ›

I believe in helping people, especially in times of extreme need. When I worked as an EMT I was always the one asked to facilitate information between any involved party. I want to expand this skill and I think nursing is a good fit for me. My interests and experience with medical professionals are good for this job.”

Why did you choose nursing as a career path? ›

Nursing is a good career for a variety of reasons. Some of the top benefits include the ability to make a difference in the lives of others, exciting career advances, and the opportunity to maintain a desirable work-life balance.

What is the easiest path to nursing? ›

ADN and Related Programs

The way to become an RN with the lowest level of education is to go through an associate's degree in nursing or ADN program. Most ADN programs are two years long and are held at community colleges. There are numerous options to choose from, including part-time and full-time programs.

What are the differences and similarities between LPN and RN? ›

The Differences and Similarities Between LPNs and RNs
  • RN Programs Are Longer than LPN Programs. A registered nurse has a Bachelor of Science degree and is a graduate of a four-year nursing program. ...
  • RNs Handle a Wider Range of Issues than LPNs. ...
  • Most RNs Work in Medical Offices, LPNs Work in Nursing Homes.

How can an LPN contribute to a care plan? ›

The LPN contributes to all steps of the nursing process by communicating with the RN or the directing authorized health care provider concerning the patient's status and needs.

What is the difference between LPN and RN assessment? ›

While the Registered Nurse (RN) has a wider scope of practice and is responsible for more comprehensive patient assessments and duties, the LPN/LVN is able to conduct focused assessments to determine the health status of patients.

Is it better to be a LPN first or RN? ›

There are benefits to receiving your LPN credentials before moving forward including: Quick entrance into the workforce: A practical nursing program takes approximately half the time that a complete RN program does. This means you can enter the workforce quickly, building experience in the field early in your career.

What separates an LPN from an RN? ›

A big difference between registered nurses and licensed practical nurses is the amount of education and training they have received. An RN typically has a minimum of a two-year degree. However, most have a bachelor's degree. LPNs usually have earned a certification only.

Is LPN more advanced than RN? ›

LPNs will likely earn lower salaries than RNs. This is because RNs have more advanced training and can carry out more complex types of patient care. Average salaries across both professions depend largely on your education, experience and where you practice and typically do not reflect entry-level positions.

Can LPNs hang blood? ›

An LPN may participate in any phase of blood component administration after satisfactory completion of a training program that includes didactic instruction, supervised clinical experiences that incorporate each phase of the transfusion process for each of the types of components for which the LPN will be authorized to ...

Can an LPN put in an IV? ›

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) may, under the supervision of a registered nurse, administer intravenous medications and fluids provided the LPN has had the appropriate practice and annual documented education.

Can an LPN initiate restraints? ›

(a) Orders for restraint or seclusion must be by a physician, or other licensed practitioner permitted by the State and the facility to order restraint or seclusion and trained in the use of emergency safety interventions.

Is being a nurse harder than being a CNA? ›

In some ways, being an RN is a lot harder than being a CNA. You have more decisions to make and more in the way of judgement calls. In some ways, though, being a CNA can feel harder. The job may be more physical.

Does being a CNA make you a better nurse? ›

Having CNA exposure prior to starting nursing school is a recommendation, not a necessity. However, many can agree that it better prepares you for the reality of nursing, and potentially reduces the fail-out rate.

Is CNA harder than nursing? ›

While both jobs can be very physically demanding, CNA jobs tend to be more physically demanding than nursing jobs.

What are the 6 C's of nursing interview questions? ›

Interviewee: Before your interview, you must ensure you understand the six Cs of nursing, which are: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

What do you believe the core of nursing is and should be? ›

Caring is best demonstrated by a nurse's ability to embody the five core values of professional nursing. Core nursing values essential to baccalaureate education include human dignity, integrity, autonomy, altruism, and social justice.

What do you find most difficult about being a nurse? ›

Here are some of the challenges nurses face in their profession:
  1. Long shifts. Nurses often work 10- or 12-hour shifts. ...
  2. Changing schedules. ...
  3. Emotional involvement. ...
  4. Physical demands. ...
  5. Exposure to illness and chemicals. ...
  6. Lack of nurses. ...
  7. Changing technology. ...
  8. Poor treatment from patients.
Mar 10, 2023

What is the easiest LPN school to get into? ›

  1. University of Arkansas Community College - Morrilton, AR. ...
  2. Annenberg School of Nursing - Reseda, CA. ...
  3. Bolivar Technical College - Bolivar, MO. ...
  4. Athena Career Academy - Toledo, OH. ...
  5. Professional Skills Institute - Maumee, OH. ...
  6. Herzing University - Birmingham, AL.

Is nursing a good career path? ›

Many senior-level nurses make an average salary of well over $100,000 and have the sought-after luxury of terrific job security, which can't be undervalued in this day and age. Depending on which nursing field you pursue, you can make even more, according to a recent article featured on

Can I get into nursing school with a 2.5 GPA? ›

Yes, it is possible to get into a nursing program with a 2.5 GPA. Many programs accept students with a lower GPA. It may take some extra work from you, though, especially if you are applying to a school that typically requires a higher GPA.

What is equivalent to an LPN? ›

Licensed vocational nurses (LVN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN) are similar positions. Both LVNs and LPNs provide basic care to nursing patients and work under nurses with more advanced titles, like a registered nurse (RN). The main difference is where the entry-level licensed nurse works.

What is the scope of practice for a LPN? ›

Administer basic patient care, including changing bandages and inserting catheters. Provide for the basic comfort of patients, such as helping them bathe or dress. Discuss the care they are providing with patients and listen to their concerns. Report patients' status and concerns to registered nurses and doctors.

Can LPNs remove staples? ›

b) Surgical sutures, clips and/or staples can be removed by RNs and LPNs only with written or verbal order by the surgeon.

Can an LPN give a nursing diagnosis? ›

WAC 246-840-700 Standards of Nursing Conduct or Practice clarifies that only the RN is permitted to make a nursing diagnosis. The LPN may provide data to assist in the development of a nursing diagnosis. The LPN may document symptoms or other findings and may document using a nursing diagnosis already made by the RN.

What is the primary role of the LPN in using the nursing process? ›

The basic function of an LPN is to provide routine care for sick, injured, or disabled patients. Typically, LPNs coordinate with and assist physicians and registered nurses (RNs). The most common duties that LPNs perform involve: Monitoring patients, such as charting vital signs.

Can LPN do shift assessments? ›

The hospital standards are specific to only a Registered Nurse (RN) performing the nursing assessment within 24 hours after admission. It may be possible for an LPN to collect the data and then have an RN review the data and complete the assessment to determine the patient's needs and developing the plan of care.

What are 3 questions nurses consider before delegating a task? ›

(2) Before delegating, the LPN or RN should consider the five rights of delegation: the right task, the right person to whom the delegation is made, the right circumstances, the right direction and communication by the LPN or RN, and the right supervision and evaluation.

Can LPNs teach patients? ›

Patient Education Topics

Working one-on-one with patients, an LPN may be asked to teach patients about pre- and post-care instructions, medication safety, disease processes, and preventative medicine.

Is LPN even worth it? ›

Is LPN a Good Career? We could say that any career that involves helping people is a good one, and caring for the well-being of others on a daily basis is especially gratifying. Although LPNs work under the supervision of RNs, which means they earn less, it doesn't make them any less essential to the healthcare system.

What is the hardest part of LPN school? ›

The Critical Thinking Questions

Learning how to answer NCLEX-style questions is probably one of the most challenging parts of nursing school. Unlike most test questions you've probably answered up till now, finding the answer is not straightforward.

What is the difference between a CNA and a LPN? ›

The main difference between a CNA and an LPN is the kind of care they give. CNAs help patients eat and bathe, which they would typically do independently. LPNs do basic nursing tasks like giving patients their medicine, updating their medical records, and helping other nurses.

Can a LPN call herself a nurse? ›

The answer is yes. LPN stands for Licensed Practical NURSE. They are nurses.

Why do LPNs call themselves nurses? ›

Without question, LPNs like Becky Rhodes and Sharon Blackmon embody the title of a nurse because they provide incomparable nursing care and convey unparalleled professionalism. Nevertheless, some registered nurses deem that LPNs should not hold the title since they have less clinical training and education.

How old are most LPNs? ›

Licensed Practical Nurse Age
Licensed Practical Nurse YearsPercentages
40+ years66%
30-40 years23%
20-30 years10%
Sep 9, 2022

What does an LPN do? ›

Licensed practical nurses are responsible for a range of hands-on patient care and administrative tasks, including: Monitoring patient health such as vital signs and overall health condition. Changing bandages and inserting catheters. Providing basic patient care, such as daily activities.

Can a LPN be a charge nurse? ›

A Charge Nurse can be either an RN or an LPN. LPNs are more commonly hired in this role at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, however, there may be other settings depending on the state or area you reside. LPN Charge Nurses can supervise and delegate certain tasks to Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).

What does LPN mean in nursing? ›

A licensed practical nurse (LPN), also known as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) in some states, works under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses. The duties of an LPN include taking vitals, collecting samples, administering medications, and ensuring patient comfort.

What are 3 duties of an LPN? ›

What Duties Do All LPNs Have?
  • Monitoring patients, such as charting vital signs.
  • Changing bandages and catheters.
  • Keeping detailed records of patients' health.
  • Collecting samples for blood tests, urinalysis, and more.
  • Communicating treatment and health information to patients, doctors, and nurses.
Dec 8, 2020

What are the pros and cons of being a LPN? ›

Pros and Cons of Being an LPN – Summary Table
Pros of Being an LPNCons of Being an LPN
Shorter Training Period Than for RNsNot as Much Earning Power
Decent Salary For Education and ExperienceNot as Much Authority
More Authority Than CNAsNon-Geriatric Positions Are Competitive
Increased PrestigePossible Burnout
3 more rows
Feb 3, 2022

Is an LPN really a nurse? ›

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a nurse that provides basic patient care. LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs), doctors and other providers. LPNs work with patients to give basic medical care. But they're also a direct link between a patient, their family and their doctor and other providers.

What is the lowest type of nurse? ›

As the name suggests, CNAs assist nurses with patient admittance and vitals. It is the lowest-level credential related to the nursing field and the quickest point of entry.

What is the hardest level in nursing? ›

Hardest Nursing School Classes
  • Pathophysiology. In this course, students learn how different anatomical systems work and how diseases or injuries affect these systems. ...
  • Pharmacology. ...
  • Medical Surgical 1 (also known as Adult Health 1) ...
  • Evidence-Based Practice.

Can an LPN write up an RN? ›

Tasks LPNs Can Perform

However, LPNs may supervise other LPNs, medical assistants and nurse aides. An LPN cannot supervise an RN because of the difference in scope of practice, as explained by the North Carolina Board of Nursing in its LPN Scope of Practice Position Statement.

What is above an RN? ›

There are five levels of nursing: Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Registered Nurse (RN), Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Each level has different requirements, educational qualifications, and salary rates.

What is the difference between LPN and LPN? ›

When it comes to the nursing field, there is no difference. LVN's and LPN's perform the same role. The only difference is that they refer to the position as a Licensed Vocational Nurse in California and Texas. In contrast, the rest of the country refers to them as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

What is an ADN? ›

An associate degree in Nursing (ADN) is the standard pathway taken to become a Registered Nurse. An ADN is also the minimum degree required to become a licensed RN. Those who complete an associate degree in Nursing are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN, a board examination that grants licensure to RNs in the United States.


(Fatima Francesa)
2. CNA TRAINING PROGRAM: WHAT TO EXPECT | 10 Steps You Need to Know | College Advice | The JouRNey(Ep2)
(Mymy Tran)
3. Why RN’s always say don’t become an LPN/LVN.
(Chris The dude nurse)
4. CNAs and LPNS at it again! Are LPNS really nurses ??
(Nurse Amy Academy Networks)
5. Six Nursing Degrees and Certificates
6. CNA vs LPN Paycheck | Talks with Tele
(Talks with Tele)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Annamae Dooley

Last Updated: 01/09/2023

Views: 5993

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Annamae Dooley

Birthday: 2001-07-26

Address: 9687 Tambra Meadow, Bradleyhaven, TN 53219

Phone: +9316045904039

Job: Future Coordinator

Hobby: Archery, Couponing, Poi, Kite flying, Knitting, Rappelling, Baseball

Introduction: My name is Annamae Dooley, I am a witty, quaint, lovely, clever, rich, sparkling, powerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.