CNA VS. LPN – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

While trying to get into the nursing field, you might have come across several confusing terms that sounded similar but are actually very different. One of the biggest differences is between a CNA (Certified Nurse Aide) and an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse). While the two sound similar, an LPN has many more duties to their patients and as a result the training and certification for an LPN take much longer.

A CNA training is relatively quick and can be completed in about 4–12 weeks. On the other hand, an LPN training takes about 12 months to complete. The education length is a key difference in helping you determine what you want to get certified in. Below, I will list some top-choice schools for each option to help you choose.

Related to education, there is also a key difference in the salaries of the professions. A CNA earns an average of $26,590 per year while an LPN earns an average of $44,840 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). These salaries can also depend on geographic location, years of experience on the job, the type of employer, and the level of education.
Another key difference between a CNA and an LPN is the tasks that they perform at their respective jobs.

The chart below outlines some of the specific tasks of each respective profession. As you may realize, LPNs provide more extensive patient care, while CNAs have a more limited scope of practice. It’s also important to note the middle column which states that CNAs and LPNs share some of the same daily tasks. For more details, check the chart below.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of both CNAs and LPNs and you know which direction you want to head into! To help you move along your education process, I will provide my top choice schools for each profession. Good luck!

CNA: E&S Academy

E&S Academy is my top choice for a CNA education because the training can be completed in about a month (90 hours). The curriculum typically includes practical education topics such as psychosocial care, data collection, infection control, disease processes, ethics, hygiene, and nutrition. The course also offers clinical experience in a selected, licensed long-term care facility in New Jersey. Learn more about the class here.

LPN: AVTEC — Alaska’s Institute of Technology

This is my top choice for an LPN education because the training only requires 176 training days. The program they offer is for those who already have a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) registration. The tuition is $6,310.Share