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Academics Admissions


What is the difference between a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?

One difference between a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is the type and length of formal education. To become an LPN, you typically need to complete one year of schooling. An RN, on the other hand, must have between two and four years of schooling. To become an RN, you typically need to complete up to an associate degree, and possibly a bachelor’s degree depending on employer requirements.

Once you finish your education to be either an LPN or an RN, you need to pass a licensure exam called the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The licensure exam for an RN is called the NCLEX-RN. The exam for an LPN is called the NCLEX-PN. The exams are different because the education differs between LPN and RN programs.

Another distinguishing factor is the amount of responsibility on the job. Responsibilities can vary by state depending on that states’ Nurse Practice Act, which establishes the level of patient care a nurse can perform in that state. Some states consider an LPN a technical nurse with limited responsibility and an RN is a professional nurse with expanded responsibility. LPNs will often work under the direction of an RN.

There is also usually a salary difference between an LPN and an RN, with the RN typically pulling in a higher salary due to expanded responsibilities and a higher level of education. To learn more about salary and earning information, visit the LPN and RN pages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

UMA does not currently offer a Nursing program, but we do have a Nursing Assistant program at our Clearwater campus, along with other allied healthcare programs through our online campus.

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