LPN or RN: Which Is Right for Me?

NursingJanuary 17, 2020

Nursing can be a rewarding career for those considering getting the education to become a nurse. For many, it’s a lifelong calling to be a nurse. But which type of nurse do you want to be? You’re probably familiar with the titles of Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Registered Nurse (RN), but do you know the difference? Both roles can be fulfilling, but they have distinct differences you need to understand to know which is right for you.


LPNs provide basic care for patients, such as monitoring vitals, changing bandages and helping them bathe. RNs, however, have a broader scope of responsibilities. In addition to the duties LPNs perform, RNs can administer medication and treatments as well as educate and support patients and their family members. And, in many cases, RNs are responsible for supervising LPNs. 


Becoming an RN can take one of three paths: earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Programs normally can take 18 to 36 months, depending on the degree obtained. Becoming an LPN requires that you earn a practical nursing degree or diploma, which usually takes at least 12 months to complete. In some states it will take longer than 12 months.  Both types of nurses must pass a licensing exam before they’re able to secure employment in the field.


The depth and difference in training is reflected in the average salaries for the different credentials and, as you might expect, experienced RNs earn more than experienced LPNs. You can click this link to compare the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the salary statistics for RNs and LPNs. {HOT LINK HERE}

Career Outlook 

Trends show that demand for healthcare services is increasing.  This growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventive care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population, as they live longer and more active lives.  Therefore the job outlook for both types of nurses continues to be promising.  BLS projects that employment for LPNs will grow at a much faster rate than the average for all other occupations over the next 10 years. 

Which Is Right for You?

Deciding whether to become an LPN or RN will largely depend on your individual career goals. If you want a quick way to enter the nursing field, a LPN program should get you there faster. If you’re looking for more opportunities in the future, it could be worth it to take the extra time and effort to become an RN. 

Whichever path you decide is right for you, Fortis offers nursing programs that help you prepare for a career in this rewarding field. Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 436-7847 and speak to one of our career counselors.