The Differences between an LPN and RN Licensure :: Jersey College
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The Differences between an LPN and RN Licensure

The Differences Between an LPN and RN Licensure

By: Rachel Nall, RN, BSN


The field of nursing has many degree and licensure paths. Two such options offered at Jersey College are the licensed practical nurse (LPN) and registered nurse (RN) certifications. While both share the word "nurse" in their titles, they each have different scopes of practice and sometimes career paths. Some of the key differences include:


School Duration

An LPN program will take less time to complete than an RN program. While the hours can vary from state to state, typical LPN programs would last anywhere from 12 to 14 months.


An RN program takes longer to complete. Students must take general education courses in addition to core nursing courses. This can take anywhere from one to two years. Then, they will apply for a nursing program.  Most nursing programs take between 2 to 2.5 years depending on the schedule of coursework a student takes. Because the RN licensure and degree is considered a professional degree, nurses take additional courses in community health and leadership/administration. At Jersey College, students graduate with an Associated Degree in Nursing.


Remember, once you complete the coursework required for either degree, you must still sit for your licensure exam to practice as an LPN or RN.



When LPNs and RNs pass their licensure exam, they are limited by their scope of practice. These are the laws in each state that explain what nurses can and cannot do. An RN's scope of practice tends to be broader than an LPN's. While both RNs and LPNs provide patient care, can administer medications and chart patient information, LPNs may not be able to administer a blood transfusion. Additionally, An LPN is considered to work under the supervision of an RN while nurses work more independently.



With added responsibilities there is generally difference in salaries? While the salaries can vary by state and facility, RNs typically make roughly 30 percent more than LPNs. For example, an LPN makes an average of $41,540 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). An RN makes an average of $65,470, according to the BLS.


Projected Growth

Both the RN and LPN paths are projected for growth between the years of 2012 and 2022, according to the BLS. The number of RNs is expected to grow by 25 percent until 2022 while the number of LPNs is projected to grow by 19 percent. Both options represent growing, thriving careers for those looking to enter the healthcare career field.


You have many considerations to make when choosing between the RN and LPN degrees. Many students find it appealing to complete their LPN degree in a short time. Some, nursing Schools, including Jersey College, offer a bridge program from LPN to RN that allows you to earn your professional nursing degree after you have gained experience and started a career as an LPN


Jersey College is proud to offer both LPN and RN degree programs. Click on "Nursing Programs" to find out more about each.


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