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Comparison Between LPN and RN-BSN Degree Program

Higher Education Articles July 18, 2014

If you’re interested in coordinating care, educating the public and helping to treat ill patients, then a career as a nurse might be right for you. And while there are various specializations that nursing professionals can study to qualify for, generally speaking, a nurse begins as either an RN (registered nurse) or LPN (licensed practical nurse).

While they have their differences — most notably in education requirements — both occupations are favorable careers in terms of demand and average salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs earn an average $65,470 per year and LPNs earn in the neighborhood of $41,450 per year. The BLS also states that the RN field is growing at a faster-than-average clip of 19 percent, and the LPN profession at 25 percent, much faster-than-average, due to the increase in specialized health care services.

But as we mentioned, the big difference between the two professions is the education requirements. RNs typically must minimally earn a two-year associate’s degree, but more health care facilities are requiring a bachelor’s degree in nursing, or BSN. LPNs, on the other hand, only need to complete a state-approved program, which typically takes about a year’s worth of time.

RN Degree Requirements

According to the University of California Irvine, the current trend in health care is to employ RNs who have earned bachelor’s degrees in the field. Therefore, it’s recommended that if you want to become an RN and be the most attractive to potential employers, you should go the four-year route and earn a BSN rather than an associate’s degree.

UC Irvine’s BSN program starts with entry-level nursing courses and becomes more complex — including a mix of research and science in the course curriculum — as students advance in the program. Typical first- and second-year courses include “Structure and Function of the Human Body,” “Biochemistry” and “Nursing as a Societal Profession.” In the latter years of the program, students are educated on the more intricate aspects of the profession, such as how to care for patients with special needs, community nursing, and infant illnesses.

After you earn a BSN and achieve the proper RN certification, you’ll qualify to work in hospitals, physicians’ offices and nursing facilities.

LPN Degree Requirements

Unlike RNs, the most common place of employment for LPNs is in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and private homes. And also unlike RNs, the education requirements differ for LPNs. While an RN’s best route is earning a bachelor’s degree, extensive education isn’t necessary for an LPN. Typically, LPNs are just required to complete a one-year program and earn a postsecondary, nondegree certificate.

According to All Nursing Schools, students learn about pre- and postsurgical care, anatomy, nutrition and other aspects of client care throughout the program. They also learn about clinical work, caring for patients with varying disorders, and obstetrics. It’s also worth noting that many LPN degree programs can be transferred into BSN programs if a student wants to pursue the field beyond the LPN level. While there are more education requirements involved in becoming an RN, the earning potential is also much greater than that of an LPN.

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5 Program(s) Found
  • Do you aspire to fulfill an evolving healthcare role as a highly-qualified nursing professional? GCU is the place for you.
  • RNs, pursue your BSN or MSN conveniently online, backed by the legacy of GCU's traditional campus.
  • GCU's bachelor's and master's programs prepare students to fill roles in direct care, management, health education and administrative disciplines.
  • The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at GCU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Develop with hands-on practice, online and lab simulations and in depth peer discussions exploring best practices.
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
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  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online Bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, Psychology, IT, Healthcare Management & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
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  • Online Courses
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1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
3 Program(s) Found
  • Summarize the roles, functions, and impacts of an effective healthcare manager.
  • Evaluate existing research using quantitative statistical tools to assist in healthcare management decision making.
  • Identify, evaluate, and respond to common types of healthcare ethical dilemmas.
  • Describe the value of personal and professional development, community service, and life-long learning in healthcare management.
  • Evaluate the impact of information systems and technology on healthcare processes and the securing of health information.
  • Analyze the strategic impact of human resource development and management on healthcare organizations.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

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