Skip to main content

Career Tips & Advice

The difference between a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

Concorde Staff

Concorde Staff

Updated May 13, 2016. The information contained in this blog is current and accurate as of this date.
LVN nursing vs LPN nursing

Within the nursing field are a number of titles, including Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and Registered Nurse (RN). This post will help clarify some of the differences, qualifications, and responsibilities of LPNs and LVNs.

Licensed Vocational Nurses vs. Licensed Practical Nurses

The short version is this: Licensed Vocational and a Licensed Practical Nurses are, for all intents and purposes, different titles for the same job. They both work under RNs and doctors. LPN and LVN programs prepare you to take the NCLEX-PN. Passing the NCLEX-PN is required for licensure of both LPNs and LVNs.

The biggest difference between a Licensed Vocational Nurse and a Licensed Practical Nurse is actually the name. The term Licensed Vocational Nurse is used in California and Texas, while Licensed Practical Nurse is used throughout the rest of the United States. So the difference in the title really just depends on where you are.

Minor responsibilities will vary for LPNs and LVNs, based on which state you're in. For the sake of simplicity, we'll only refer to Licensed Vocational Nurses for the remainder of this post, but keep in mind that what we say applies to Licensed Vocational Nurses, too-depending on which state you're in.

Is becoming an LVN right for you?

Becoming licensed as a Licensed Vocational Nurse is a good idea if you're interested in the medical field but not quite ready to jump in with both feet. It's generally much less expensive than going to school to become an RN, and can be done in as little as 13 months at some LVN schools.

Once you're a Licensed Vocational Nurse, you can work with doctors and nurses and see if you want to pursue something further, or if you'll be happy continuing to work as an LVN.

LVN Skills and Competencies

Licensed Vocational Nurse programs require rigorous medical training. Training includes both classroom study and supervised clinical practice. Here's a sample of what you'll study:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Administration of medications
  • Legal and ethical responsibilities
  • Nutrition
  • Common disease processes
  • Preventative nursing care
  • Therapeutic nursing care
  • Rehabilitative nursing care
  • Restorative nursing care
  • Nursing interventions for patient care
  • Cultural differences in caring for patients
  • Psychosocial impact of disease
  • Leadership principles

LVN Employment

Once you are a Licensed Vocational Nurse, there are a number of environments in which you can work, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, physicians' offices, schools, home health agencies, etc.

Next Steps?

Interested in learning more about our Practical / Vocational Nursing program? We have a Concorde representative ready to talk about what matters most to you. Get answers about start dates, curriculum, financial aid, scholarships and more!

  1. Program length may be subject to change dependent on transfer credits and course load. Please refer to current course catalog for more information. Concorde does not guarantee admittance, graduation, subsequent employment or salary amount.

  2. Professional certification is not a requirement for graduation, may not be a requirement for employment nor does it guarantee employment.

  3. Financial aid is available to those who qualify but may not be available for all programs. Concorde does not guarantee financial aid or scholarship awards or amounts.

  4. Clinical hour requirements and delivery may vary by campus location and may be subject to change. Concorde does not guarantee clinical site assignments based upon student preference or geographic convenience; nor do clinical experiences guarantee graduation, post-clinical employment or salary outcomes.

  5. Registration and certification requirements for taking and passing these examinations are not controlled by Concorde, but by outside agencies, and are subject to change by the agency without notice. Therefore, Concorde cannot guarantee that graduates will be eligible to take these exams, at all or at any specific time, regardless of their eligibility status upon enrollment.