Health Guides

The Difference Between CNA & LPN

Deciding to pursue a career in nursing is a big step. You may have a strong desire to assist patients, but determining where to begin seems complicated. There are many qualifications and kinds of nurses available, each with its skills, education levels, and work responsibilities.

That’s why we’ve chosen two of the most attainable nursing-related professions to begin with. Both the certified nursing assistant (CNA) and licensed practical nurse (LPN) positions may be excellent places to start if you’re new to the industry. Many nurses begin their employment and then return to school to get a degree in registered nursing (RN).

In the nursing profession, both LPNs and CNAs are health providers. While there are several distinctions between the two positions, the most critical differences are schooling, breadth of duty, and salary between an LPN and a CNA.

Keep reading to get a good understanding of the two and to learn about their distinctions.

What is CNA?

Although both CNAs and LPNs work in the healthcare field, it’s essential to remember that CNAs are not nurses but rather nursing assistants. As a result, most of their day-to-day job consists of fundamental care responsibilities.

They have a limited area of practice and generally collaborate with a team of health professionals, such as nurses or doctors. Checking vital signs, lifting and transporting patients, feeding patients, and helping with washing and dressing are all everyday tasks.

CNAs may also serve food, assist patients with toileting, and assist patients in transferring to wheelchairs. CNAs may also administer medicine in certain states.

What is LPN?

LPNs assist patients in understanding medicines and treatments by changing dressings, inserting catheters, maintaining health records, and monitoring vital signs. They may also collaborate with licensed nurses to help educate patients on specific medications and treatments. Patients are also helped with activities including dressing, washing, and eating.

LPN vs. CNA

Educational Requirements

To participate in a certification program as a CNA, you must have a high school certificate or a GED. These courses are usually given in community colleges or trade schools in the area. While each state’s requirements may vary somewhat, CNA applicants should anticipate spending between 80 and 120 hours in classrooms and hospital environments. This curriculum usually takes around 12 weeks to complete.

LPNs assist patients in understanding medicines and treatments by changing dressings, placing catheters, maintaining health records, and monitoring vital signs. They may also collaborate with licensed nurses to help educate patients on specific medications and treatments. Patients are also helped with activities including dressing, washing, and eating.

CNA students must pass the state certification test after completing the curriculum. They may also need to return to school for refresher courses every few years before renewing their certificates. There are Free CNA Training classes that you can find and attend online.

Before starting an educational training program, an LPN will require a diploma or GED. Local community colleges offer diploma programs with a little more complex curriculum than that needed for CNA certification. In addition to fundamental nursing coursework, students may anticipate studying courses in infection control, pharmacology, and medical terminology.

The curriculum needed to get a diploma usually takes about a year to complete. After completing LPN courses like Free LPN Training California or Free LPN Training Georgia,  applicants must pass an exam to a little more complex curriculum to obtain their LPN license. Candidates with an LPN license are eligible to apply for LPN nursing jobs.

Licensing and Examinations

Applicants must pass a test before applying for and obtaining a position as a CNA or LPN. If you want to become a CNA, the test you take may be determined by the state you reside in. All LPN applicants take the same test.

CNAs must pass a certification test that is specific to their state. There will be multiple-choice questions as well as a clinical skill demonstration on the test. LPNs take the NCLEX-PN test. This exam may be taken online or at a testing center that has been authorized.

Job Duties

CNAs and LPNs have some comparable responsibilities, such as taking vital signs, giving personal care, and providing primary nursing care. However, when it comes to the professional nursing care offered, these professions are not the same.

CNAs provide just rudimentary nursing care. They may assist bed-bound patients with rehabilitative activities and posture, as well as gather specimens for testing. In general, a CNA’s job is one of personal care, which may include food preparation, assistance with everyday living skills, and emotional support. CNAs are excellent candidates for home healthcare aides, nursing home caregivers, and hospital support personnel.

LPNs can do all of the same tasks as CNAs, but they can also offer more sophisticated nursing care. They can start IV drips, implant catheters, run lab tests, and keep medical equipment in good working order. 

They may help doctors and nurses with regular medical operations and care for babies in the maternity unit. After acquiring expertise in the field, an LPN may also serve in a supervisory role, managing CNAs or other LPNs.

Career Outlook

CNA and LPN demand is projected to grow steadily in the following years, making education in either area an excellent chance for job placement and development.

Demand for CNAs is projected to increase by 11% by 2026, while the need for LPNs is expected to increase by 12%.

CNAs may work in various settings, but the most common include nursing homes, medical rehabilitation facilities, and home health care. Certain CNAs choose to work in billing units, medical records departments, or insurance billing, specializing in medical management and technology.

LPNs work in many of the same places as CNAs, but they may also find employment in hospitals, medical offices, and schools. You may choose to specialize in particular areas of medicine as an LPN, such as pediatrics or labor and delivery. 

While your work responsibilities may be comparable to those of regular LPNs, you’ll get valuable hands-on expertise in your specialized field that may help you improve your career.

Expected Salary

Although there is a salary difference between CNAs and LPNs, both choices may offer a livable wage and more, depending on your financial requirements. The amount of money you may anticipate earning is likely to be determined by the number of hours you work.

A CNA working the third shift, for example, may earn somewhat more than one on the first shift. LPNs are in a similar situation. A specialty-trained LPN may expect to earn somewhat more than the national average. The average pay for both jobs is shown below.

CNAs earn an average of $26,500 per year, or $12.78 per hour, while LPNs earn $44,090 per year or $21.20 per hour.

Jess Torres

Jess Torres, a blogger and self-proclaimed lover of food, is the woman behind Get Life 24/7. When not writing, she enjoys exercising and exploring the outdoors with her dogs.

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