Are LPN Programs Different from RN Programs?

This is a great question, especially for those who are interested in the possibility of becoming a nurse or LPN. Of all the nurses out in the workforce today, approximately 25% or them are LPNs, and 75% of them are RNs. This is important to understand because it gives someone who may be interested in the career and idea of how things break down in terms of career distribution. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the differences between the two.

LPNs are Licensed Practical Nurses, and RNs are Registered Nurses. They are both technically nurses, but LPN training is typically shorter and less in-depth than the training that is required to become a Registered Nurse, and this is particularly true if someone is going for a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) in order to become an RN.

When looking at the broad nursing specialties (CNA, LPN, RN) there is an obvious gradation in terms of training depth and length. CNA training is typically the shortest with the least depth, while LPN programs are typically longer and more in-depth than CNA training, but not as long and less in-depth than an RN training program (which can last four years or more if a person is pursuing a BSN). When it comes to work responsibilities and tasks, those generally fall in line in a similar fashion.

For example, CNAs generally have the least amount of responsibility, where RNs generally have the most, and LPNs typically fall somewhere in between. Again, this correlates to the amount of training they have and the amount of knowledge that they have in their field. This doesn’t mean in any way that an CNA or LPN is somehow less valuable to a medical team because that’s simply not true; everyone has their place on the team and everyone is important in their own way with what they are doing, it’s just that they may be varying levels of preparedness in terms of medical training and tasks are typically assigned to people who meet various levels of preparedness in order to ensure that they are able to complete these tasks appropriately (you can learn more about nursing roles and the field in general at For example, a CNA wouldn’t be asked to do something that only and RN was trained for, etc. LPNs, again, are technically nurses not nurse aides, so they should be able to complete a wider range of tasks compared to a CNA but again, they may not be given the same amount of responsibility as a Registered Nurse.