Which Is Better – A CNA Or LPN?

Aspiring to become a Certified Nursing Assistant is an excellent stepping-stone into healthcare work, but those pursuing this career path must possess compassion and be able to follow instructions carefully, while remaining detail oriented.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) work under the supervision of registered nurses or doctors; many nursing professionals begin in these positions before progressing onto become Registered Nurses.

Training Requirements

Aspiring nurses must complete a program that qualifies them to work in healthcare, typically lasting less than a year. Following completion, students must pass both written and practical skills tests administered by state testing bodies; written tests typically cover medical terminology, anatomy and physiology while practical skills tests conducted by nurses or healthcare professionals typically involve performing various tasks like taking vital signs from patients or showing proper hand washing techniques.

Both roles require excellent communication and interpersonal skills, including active listening, forming meaningful relationships with patients and their families, remaining calm under stressful conditions and remaining patient focused. Both professions also demand significant physical activity; therefore, those aspiring to nursing should ensure they possess sufficient energy reserves in order to endure long shifts of physically demanding work without experiencing fatigue – this will make providing quality patient care much simpler!

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who graduate school can apply to work in numerous settings, including nursing homes, hospitals and home healthcare services. Some of the higher-paying positions include higher education institutions, research & development firms and outpatient care centers – with demand expected to grow 11% by 2026! The demand for CNAs continues to grow due to an aging population – it’s estimated that 11% more CNAs will enter this profession than currently.

LPNs must undergo a similar training program as CNAs, but before entering the field must first obtain a license through passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). They also need to successfully complete a state-approved and accredited practical nursing program administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing; both these requirements can be found here. The NCLEX-PN exam can be challenging but practicing multiple times and familiarizing oneself with its content outline can give aspiring nurses confidence they will succeed on test day!

Both careers offer some similarities but also hold their own distinctive distinctions, so ultimately the individual must decide which best meets their skillset and career aspirations. Many aspiring nurses begin as CNAs before eventually working their way up the ranks to an LPN or BSN degree later on.

Job Duties

CNAs work in various healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, long-term care retirement communities, and home health services. CNAs act as liaisons between patients and medical staff. Their duties may include recording vital signs and taking vital signs recordings as well as educating patients about care plans and medications administered, helping prepare meals, cleaning patient rooms/living areas as well as being companions for emotional support for patients.

An LPN’s duties differ slightly from those of a CNA, yet both professions provide frontline healthcare services and compassionate patient care. An LPN may also be known as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) depending on where they work; this healthcare professional typically works under supervision by doctors or registered nurses (RNs).

LVNs perform similar duties as CNAs; however, they have more advanced tasks, including executing nursing care plans and collecting data and samples from patients. They can also administer medication via injection or enemas and assist patients who use feeding tubes (gastronomy tube or tracheostomy tube).

LPNs not only provide basic care to patients, but can also assist the physician and RN in prepping for surgical procedures. Furthermore, LPNs monitor blood pressure, pulse rate and oxygen therapy needs. They may even assist patients in changing position to reduce bedsores.

Both an LVN and CNA must maintain a high level of professionalism while adhering to facility policies and procedures. Furthermore, these employees must ensure patients receive adequate nutrition by measuring food and fluid intake as well as urine output and fecal output, recording any changes in condition and reporting any findings to management immediately.

Nursing jobs differ from other healthcare jobs in that it requires compassion and empathy from healthcare professionals; thus forming positive relationships with their patients. Healthcare workers also communicate regularly with physicians, nurses, family members of the patient as well as patient themselves to address all potential issues quickly and efficiently – making healthcare careers an excellent source of employment opportunities.


Nursing can be an exhilarating career path for those who enjoy helping others. There are multiple entryways into this profession, such as certified nurse assistants (CNA) and licensed practical nurses (LPN). Both positions serve as entry-level healthcare providers in hospitals or doctor’s offices that provide direct patient care services; CNAs and LPNs play an essential part in patient care delivery while offering invaluable experience needed for becoming Registered Nurses later on.

Although both roles play an integral part in healthcare delivery, they each come with unique salaries and job duties. A CNA typically has limited scope of practice and cannot make independent decisions for their patients while an LPN may take more charge in certain situations and make more independent decisions than their CNA counterpart.

Salaries for CNAs and LPNs vary based on location, employer type and years of experience; the median salary of a CNA in 2012 was $30,830 while LPNs earned $48,820 annually. Pay can also increase with additional education/training as well as experience gained in the field.

Many people start out as CNAs or LPNs before becoming Registered Nurses, which is perfectly fine. Not everyone has the funds for four years of school before embarking on their careers, and bridge programs provide another means of progressing up the ranks than going straight from high school to an RN program.

Continuing Education Requirements

CNAs know the value of continued education is integral to their career success, and CNAs are no different. Most states mandate certain courses addressing advances in medical technology that impact patient care. Classes such as these may be offered by hospitals, colleges or independent nursing organizations and generally feature at least one contact hour (though some offer more). If these meet state requirements they can count toward their license renewal process.

RNs and LPNs each have specific continuing education (CE) requirements depending on their location and job specialty. For instance, nurses working in hospitals usually must attend courses covering pathophysiology and medical emergencies while LPNs in an obstetrics or geriatrics clinic might need to take courses related to those fields specifically. Furthermore, many hospitals and clinics offer continuing education classes as a means of helping their employees keep up with new procedures or technology.

CNA and LPN careers offer great entry points into healthcare for individuals without much time for school, or who don’t feel they have enough responsibility to become Registered Nurses (RN). CNA programs can typically be completed within weeks while an LPN program usually lasts one to two years – many aspiring nurses first work as CNAs to gain experience before advancing into more advanced nursing roles.

CNAs may wish to expand their education later by enrolling in an RN bridge program; some schools even permit CNAs to transition into becoming registered nurses within just one year! When searching for an accredited school with a reputation for excellence and qualified instructors, it’s crucial that they also offer support throughout their nursing careers.