What's the Difference Between a Licensed Vocational Nurse and a Licensed Practical Nurse?

If you'd like to provide nursing care under the supervision of a doctor or a registered nurse, you could be a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN). But what's the difference? Keep reading to find out more about LVNs and LPNs. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of LVN versus LPN

The primary difference between a LVN and LPN is a variation in job title based on the state in which you work. Both of these are entry-level nursing careers. If you work in Texas or California, your job title is LVN. All other states refer to the same occupation as a LPN.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Average Salary (2014) $43,420
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 16% job growth (much faster than average)
Key Skills Compassion, attention to detail, working with people, patience, communication
Similar Occupations Registered nurses, nursing assistants and orderlies, medical assistants, surgical technologists, physical therapist assistants, psychiatric technicians, pharmacy technicians

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Typical Job Duties

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), LVNs and LPNs care for patients of all ages under the supervision of doctors or registered nurses. Your job duties may include maintaining patient records, monitoring and recording patients' vital signs and changing bandages. Doctors or nurses may call on you to provide directed assistance with more complicated tasks like surgical procedures or the delivery of babies.

You may also assist patients with daily living tasks such as dressing and bathing or physical activity like walking. You could work in clinics, hospitals, private medical practices or assisted living facilities. In some states, your responsibilities may also include supervising other LPNs or LVNs and any unlicensed staff.

Training Programs

You need to have a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential before you can begin preparing for your career as a LVN or LPN. Training programs typically take a year to complete and follow the curriculum set by each state's board of nursing. Training programs for LVNs and LPNs are typically offered at community colleges or vocational schools. You'll learn pharmacology, biology, anatomy and physiology. You'll study pediatric nursing, surgical nursing and disease prevention.

Some programs may also require you to complete laboratory coursework and clinical experience in order to fill graduation requirements. In many cases, you'll earn a certificate once you've completed your training and you'll be ready for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) and any other required state exams. As an LPN or LVN, you may also have the opportunity to obtain certification in specific areas, such as gerontology or IV therapy.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Maryville University

    Maryville University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Maryville University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »