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LPN and LVN are two job positions in the nursing field which are mistakenly considered different. This article aims at clearing the difference between LPN vs. LVN.

There are several different positions in the nursing field: Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs), and Nurse Practitioners (NPs). CNAs come at the lowest position, whereas NPs are at the top of the nursing hierarchy. Most people planning to become a nurse choose to become an LPN.

An LPN is a nurse with standard responsibilities of patient care and treatment, and assisting other clinical professionals in the setting. The role of LPNs and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) is often differentiated. In the following section of this article, we have cleared this doubt about the difference between these two posts, their job description, education requirements, and per annum salary.


The job duties of LPNs and LVNs are one and the same. It is just that in a majority of states, the term LPN is used, whereas in states like California and Texas, LPNs are referred to as LVNs. Apart from the names; the job duties, salary ranges, and educational requirements are almost the same. Whether one is an LPN or an LVN, she needs to provide patient care under the supervision of RNs or physicians. Now let us get to know about the job description of an LPN or LVN.

Job Description of LPNs and LVNs

The main role of LPNs and LVNs include conducting various diagnostic tests of patients after consulting with the physician. These include checking for vital signs, recording them, and preparing reports regarding the same for further investigation procedures.

They are also responsible for taking care of patients, which may involve cleaning and dressing their wounds, bathing and grooming, helping patients with physical disabilities to walk and perform daily activities, and various other tasks.

They have to record the medical history of patients in order to aid in devising relevant treatment procedures with the doctor. LPNs/LVNs have to create an awareness in patients and their family members about proper health care practices and hygiene activities.

If a patient is undergoing treatment for a certain period of time, she has to make sure about recording the improvement or changes in his health condition. LPNs or LVNs in supervisory positions oversee the work of CNAs and aides.

The job description of LPN and LVN may depend on the facility one is working in; such as a big hospital, a private nursing home, or a doctor’s clinic. These are the general tasks to be performed by LPN and LVNs. Becoming a nurse takes lesser time than getting into any other medical field.

Requirements for LPNs and LVNs

Educational Requirements
In order to become an LPN/LVN, you need to take a nursing training program recognized by your respective state. This program is usually for a period of one year. There is a wide range of vocational schools or community colleges which offer such courses in nursing. For enrolling in this program, a candidate needs to possess a high school diploma or its equivalent, though some colleges may accept your application even without this requirement.

LPN programs include classroom teaching as well as practicals regarding patient care. It centers on lessons about the human body, general nursing, child care, obstetrics, general medicines and drugs, healthy diet, and basic first aid.

Licensing Requirements
Along with the educational requirement, licensure is mandatorily required to practice as an LPN or LVN. This can be done by clearing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). This is a computer-based test held by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. However, for understanding more details about the licensing requirements, it is suggested to visit the nursing board of your respective state.

Remember that LPNs can even take the NCLEX-RN exam to advance their career as an RN, which also has a positive impact on the salary of these medical experts. A nursing career as an LPN or LVN has a respectable amount of income range, which is discussed in the following part.

Salary Range of LPNs and LVNs

LPNs without any experience generally start with a salary of about $27,500 to $40,000. The highest salary range of these nurses is reported to be around $47,000, which may vary as per state. In New York, LPNs can earn about $45,500 approximately on a yearly basis.

This figure may vary as per the city of employment. For example, in Chicago, the earning scales from $33,500 to $50,000. Likewise, there are various determinants due to which the income may differ. The LPN salary range certainly increases with a higher post as an RN or NP.

Starting your career as an LPN or LVN is most appropriate if you want to become an RN or NP in the future. Any nursing job is truly rewarding; more in emotional ways than financially; as you get to serve and take care of those in need of help. I hope this information has been useful in knowing the difference between an LPN and LVN. Note that LPNs are simply called LVNs in two states, viz. California and Texas.

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