With the advent of search engines on the internet, anyone can research the hard and fast reasons that RNs make more money than LPNs. For example, every state has a Nurse Practice Act to help define the practical differences between these two types of nurses.
At Accell Eduation, we prefer to narrow down the main reason that RNs make more than LPNs to one word: Opportunity.
First, let’s specifically define the “how much.” Based on their research from 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that RNs average $32.66 an hour. Compare this to the average LPN salary of $20.39 per hour, and RNs are making approximately $24,000 annually more than an LPN makes.
According to Investopedia, opportunity cost refers to a benefit that a person could have received, but gave up, to take another course of action. Every day that a nurse makes the choice to work as an LPN instead of an RN is actually costing them around $100 every day in missed wages!
Now, let’s look at the opportunities RNs have that most LPNs do not. The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that most LPNs are employed in nursing homes. Nursing homes also employ RNs, but many hospitals forego LPNs for RNs. Without the opportunity to work in a hospital, LPNs are denied the opportunity to earn an RN average hospital salary of $69,490, approximately $8000 more than the average RN salary at a nursing home. RNs make about $23,000 more than LPNs in physicians’ offices. And the list goes on.
The demand for RNs for the foreseeable future are way above average compared to most other career opportunities. The demand for RNs is expected to grow 26% by 2020. Based on that figure, our country will need over 711,000 RNs over the next 4 years.
So how do LPNs have the same opportunity as RNs? Education. If you want the technical qualifications for an RN, check the Nurse Practice Act. But the simple fact is that ANY LPN can have the opportunity to become an RN by choosing to receive additional education.
Virtually any LPN can earn their RN by completing an associates degree in nursing and passing the RN-NCLEX exam. There are a number of bridge programs that may include classroom-based programs, online programs, or a combination.
If you’re an LPN looking into options, Accell Education Group provides a tutor-based online program that makes earning your RN license fast, fun and affordable. Call Accell at 866-74-ACCEL to set up a brief phone consultation to discuss your options.