Choosing to pursue a career as a nurse is a noble calling that thousands across the US share every day. If you’re among the many who dream of one day working as a nurse, you’re probably wondering which level of nursing is right for you.
There are several levels of nursing to consider, and it’s important to find the right path for you. Two of the most common nursing programs you can choose from are the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program and the State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) program. But which one is right for you?
If you’re comparing the two career paths, and aren’t sure if you’ve got what it takes to be a LPN or a STNA, here’re a few helpful facts to consider:
More Job Responsibilities
While both are branches of nursing, a State-Tested Nursing Assistant (also known as a Certified Nursing Assistant) can receive the necessary training while still in high school or through a vocational trade school. Job responsibilities will reflect the necessary education level received. STNA’s provide basic patient care including feeding meals, taking vital signs, bathing, and dressing and patient transport. STNA’s report to all higher-level nurses and must be supervised while working.
On the other hand, LPN’s will become licensed or earn their diploma in 1-2 years after completing their post-secondary education, and the level of responsibility directly reflects education received. Although LPN’s work under the supervision of Registered Nurses, they do have the benefit of more closely collaborating with medical supervisors for the basic care of sick and disabled patients. These nurses distribute and administer medications, communicate with the patient and the rest of the medical team and monitor vital signs, among other duties. If you want a Nursing career where you can have more responsibility and more independence throughout the day, consider becoming an LPN.
Earn More Money
That’s because it requires more education to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and because the job features more challenging duties and requirements. In most states, STNA’s may earn an average of $11-$12/hour and LPN’s may earn an average of $18-$20 hour. Simply put, if an annual salary is a deciding factor for you, seriously consider looking into an LPN program. For many individuals seriously interested in a long-term nursing career, taking the short training necessary to become an STNA and working in the field is a perfect way to gain real-world work experience while going to nursing school to pursue a higher-level nursing degree.
Higher Level of Educational Training
This may or may not sound like a fair comparison to you, especially since not everyone likes to go to school. But, more education means more knowledge, more preparedness, and a higher starting wage. LPN’s have the training necessary to handle a broader range of medical care needs. This will also open more doors for employment opportunities compared to an STNA.
While training to become an STNA at Athena Career Academy, is no longer offered, we do have two other programs that may interest you.
Clinical Medical Assistant
Choosing a career as a clinical medical assistant can open a lot of doors for those students who may want to work in healthcare but don't necessarily want to be a nurse. MA's are typically based in outpatient care, like a doctor's office or urgent care office. In a little over 7 months you can begin your career as a medical assistant.
Licensed Practical Nurse
As a licensed practical nurse, you'll enter the exciting world of nursing at a higher rate of pay than an STNA, and be available to more management based positions. Your scope of practice is higher as an LPN, and you can coordinate care plans with doctors and registered nurses for your patients. Athena's Practical Nursing program can be completed in as little as 12 months. LPN's have a higher level of training and are typically compensated at almost double an STNA.
If a career as an LPN is right for you, getting the hands-on training you need for success is quick and easy. Athena Career Academy offers students like you a chance to become a Licensed Practical Nurse in as little as one year and get on your way to starting a career in a high-demand field with lucrative compensation. Classes are beginning soon. Contact Athena today for more information.