Licensed Practical or Licensed Vocational Nurse resized

Licensed Practical or Licensed Vocational Nurse

There are no major differences in the job duties between an LPN and an LVN. The only true difference is the name. California and Texas use the term LVN, while the rest of the country uses the term Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). They are considered interchangeable.

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide basic nursing care. They care for the sick, injured, convalescent and disabled in a variety of health care settings, including nursing homes and extended care facilities, hospitals, physicians’ offices and private homes.

These nurses provide hands-on care to patients under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) or physicians. Most LPNs and LVNs provide basic bedside care. They take vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration. They also treat bedsores, prepare and give injections and enemas, apply dressings, give alcohol rubs and massages, apply ice packs and hot water bottles and monitor catheters.

LPNS and LVNs observe patients and report adverse reactions to medications or treatments. They collect samples for testing, perform routine laboratory tests, feed patients and record food and fluid intake and output. They help patients with bathing, dressing and personal hygiene, keep them comfortable and care for their emotional needs. In states where the law allows, they may administer prescribed medicines or start intravenous fluids.

To become an LPN or LVN, you must enroll in a one-year, state-approved practical nursing program at a hospital, vocational-tech school or community college. A high school diploma, or the equivalent, usually is required for entry into a program, although some programs accept candidates without a diploma. Some programs are designed as part of a high school curriculum.

After training, you will be eligible for licensure as an LPN or LVN, and, once licensed, qualified to work at a hospital or other clinical setting.


entry level salary estimate


experienced level salary estimate


projected annual job openings

Many ways to make a difference.

When you think about healthcare, your thoughts likely turn to doctors and nurses, and caring for patients. Career opportunities in healthcare today are not only in high demand they are also highly diverse – spanning a range of specialist areas and different settings from home to hospital. For many healthcare positions you can get your start with a certificate, and advance your career with an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Health sciences


Texas Labor Market Information, Texas Workforce Commission. Statewide wages by occupation, 2021. Statewide projections by occupation, 2020-2030.

Get in touch

Stay connected

Interested in learning more about the college and career options that might be right for you? Whether you are a student, a parent, or counselor, sign up to our email list and we’ll keep you updated as our site grows to include even more programs and areas of interest.

* Indicates Mandatory Field.