How to Find the Highest Paying Nursing Home Jobs: RN vs LPN

3 minute read

After finishing nursing school, you deserve a high-paying job in your facility of choice. Is there a difference between LPN vs RN jobs and their corresponding salaries? And, how much do LPNs and RNs make in nursing homes or assisted living facilities?

According to a study by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,) registered nurses made on average $77,600 annually. This amount can vary depending on where you work, the degree you have, and the industry you’re working in.

LPN vs. RN

What is the difference between a licensed professional nurse (LPN) and a registered nurse (RN)? Both roles are equally rewarding. However, in terms of job responsibilities, salary, and education, the two are different.


In most cases, there is a lot of overlap between LPN and RN roles. However, both positions require different levels of training and schooling. 

As required by law, RNs are responsible for managing LPNs, though this model may vary depending on the worksite. LPNs work closely with RNs to report patient statuses to them and doctors.

LPNs can do things like administer medications, chart medical records, take vitals, and change wound dressings. They’ll also collect any patient specimens, insert urinary catheters, and care for patients with nasogastric or gastrostomy tubes. By monitoring patients, they can call physicians and execute any nursing care plan devised by an RN. If a patient needs it, they can also perform emergency CPR.

RNs, on the other hand, perform all the tasks LPNs do and then some. They will administer and monitor patient medications (including IV). They perform Basic Life Support (BLS,) Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS,) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). In addition, they’re involved in wound care, catheter insertion, and developing care and wellness plans for patients. They’re responsible for admitting and discharging patients and maintaining accurate documentation. Like doctors, they have a code of honor to do no harm and ensure patient safety.


LPNs and RNs will have different salaries depending on where they’re working. This can be affected by both the state’s cost of living and also the state’s demand for nursing jobs. In the 2016-2017 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the average salary for an LPN is listed at about $42,500. For an RN, this average amount is closer to $66,500.

These salaries will also vary by area of specialization and years of experience. Generally speaking, the more experience a nurse has, the more they will earn. Certain specialties, like working in the operating room, labor and delivery, or emergency, are more high-paying than others.


Most LPN programs are finished in about 12 months, while an RN program can take 2 years to complete. LPN programs focus more on required nursing skills rather than medical theory. Because these programs are shorter, LPN programs generally cost less than RN programs.

The Highest-Paying Nursing Home Jobs

Nursing home jobs can be especially challenging because of the unique health issues and specialized care older patients require. For nurses working in this setting, consider earning more by becoming an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner.

How Much Does it Earn?

According to, the median annual salary for an adult gerontology nurse practitioner was $96,198 as of March 2023. Since they typically work 40 hours a week, their hourly wage approximates to about $46.25 an hour.

Career Outlook

The aging population continues to grow larger, with longer life spans and more access to long-term care options. This is especially noticeable with the dramatic rise in the Baby Boomer population entering retirement. There is a greater need for nurses who specialize in the care of these populations.

How Do I Become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner?

To practice this specialty, you must become a Certified Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (CGNP) after obtaining a Master’s degree in Nursing.

Additional Opportunities

In addition to nursing homes, adult gerontology nurse practitioners can work at hospitals, clinics, urgent care, retirement communities, and staffing agencies.

In nursing homes, like many other nursing fields, there are different specializations and opportunities to explore to advance your career. If you’re interested in finding more ways to advance your nursing career, check out this free eBook courtesy of CynaMed.

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