LPN Vs CNA: All You Have To Know About The Two

LPN and CNA are two minor nursing programs most people want to know more about. So in this short article, we are going to put the two programs side by side: LPN Vs CNA, and share with you what exactly goes into the two programs so you can decide on the one that is good for you. 

That being said, let us go straight into rightly dividing the two programs and answer questions surrounding them.

What Is LPN In Medical Field Or In Nursing?

In the field of nursing,  LPN simply stands for Licensed Practical Nurse. An LPN is a category of nursing that take care of the sick including people who are injured and disabled.

The responsibilities or duties of LPN various in many countries or states within countries. Example the United States. But in general, they provide basic care to sick and patients who are at the terminal stage of their illness. They work in different health care settings. And they do so under the supervision of  RNs 

To qualify and practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse, you first of all have to be a diploma certificate holder in LPN from a well-recognised educational institution. This means you have to complete one of the many licensed practical nurse schools successfully.


How Long Does It Take To Become A LPN?

Regarding the duration of the LPN programs, this is an important question that everyone that wants to become an LPN has to ask. Usually, a practical nursing program takes only a year to complete. By the end of the program, you will be equipped with the basic nursing skills needed to practice as an LPN.

In the cost of the program, you will be made to go through a lot of clinical practice. This is very essential because it will help you explore many areas of clinical practice and also to pass the LPN exam. 

You may want to know if the path to becoming a LPN Is not difficult? Nursing, in general, is not easy but with a commitment to studies, you will pass your LPN exams successfully.

One thing also is that, after finishing the one-year LPN program, you are automatically qualified to write NCLEX- PNs. You will need some of The Best NCLEX-PN Review Books to help you pass your National Council Licensing Examination for PNs to start practising as a legal LPN.

What Do LPNs Do On Daily Basis?

As stated above, LPNs works under the supervision of registered nurses and they perform many different tasks. See the list below:

  • Administration of IV medications
  • Patient assessment and care plan which the RN must endorse
  • Taking of orders from physicians and doctors
  • Transfusion of blood
  • Education of patients and patient’s relative on disease condition 
  • Doing last office for the diseased

There are many other tasks that LPNs are allowed to do depending on the facility they are working in as well as their level of experience.

CNA What Does It Stand For?

Now, let’s look at what CNA stand for. CNA is an abbreviation in nursing, which stands for certified nursing assistant. A certified nursing assistant is sometimes referred to as a nurse’s aid. 

Like Licensed Practical Nursing, a college degree is not needed to work as a CNA. However, to work as CNA, you will need a certificate in a certified nursing assistant (CNA) program where you are being trained on patient’s care, prevention of infection, taking and monitoring of vital signs etc. This program normally takes 6 months.

Places CNA can work

CNAs works most in hospitals,  nursing homes including home care centres. However, being a CNA in a hospital is great because you will be exposed to different tasks on daily basis. Generally, CNA is delegated to do certain tasks. That’s lead to the question, what can a nurse delegate to a CNA?

Most nurses delegate CNAs to helps patients with daily activities which includes tasks such as checking vital signs, feeding patients, bed bathing patients, turning the patient on the bed etc. So the work of Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) is being supervised by Licensed Practical Nurses and registered nurses. They are allow to do invasive procedures or administer medication.

The Difference Between LPN And CNA

About the difference between CNA and LPN, the two are health care workers under the umbrella of nursing. However, there are few differences between the two as shown below;

  • LNPs are licensed while CNAs are Certified.
  • More experience LPNs supervised CNA While CNs can not supervise LPN
  • LPNs can administer medications but CNAs can not.
  • LPNs are allowed to perform more advanced tasks while CNAs are limited which it comes to performing tasks.
  • The salary or the average wage for LPNs is also higher than that of CNA’s

Where Do CNAs Make The Most Money?

Even though CNAs takes home less salary compare to LPNs, PayScale revealed that there are some States in the United States that CNAs can make more money. The number one of these States is Chicago, with Las Vegas and Nashville occupying second and third place respectively. The average salary range from $27,000 to $45,000 yearly according to PayScale.

How To Go From CNA To LPN

So, you have been practising as a Certified Nursing Assistant for sometimes and you want to step up to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. Congratulations, it a good plan. There are many CNA to LPN programs out there. So, what you have to do is to apply for a Licensed Practical Nursing certificate or diploma program. 

Licensed Practical Nursing certificate or diploma programs usually takes one year as stated earlier. After completing the one program successfully, you will have to prepare and sit for NCLEX-NP. Once you pass the NCLEX- PN successfully, you are now a legal licensed practical nurse.

There are many community colleges and private vocational training schools out there that offer the LPN course, so you can just jump on the internet and Google “colleges or schools that offer LPN program near me” and you will definitely get one of them. It’s also advisable to ask LPNs that you work with, They will be the best people to fall on.


Now, you have all the information at your exposure; you now know much about LPN and CNA. So you can now decide on the path to take. 

All the best.

Written by
Albright McHeals