CNA to LPN Educational and Career Pathway

So you’re thinking about advancing your medical career from the entry-level position of a certified nursing assistant to the dynamic and advanced-level position of a licensed practical nurse. While this transition is very common within the nursing field, CNA to LPN programs can be a difficult road to navigate. Moreover, the training and responsibilities of an LPN are vastly greater than a CNA. Therefore, if you’re interested in making the transition to this advanced nursing career, then it’s important to fully understand how you can successfully accomplish this goal.

Understanding the Differences between CNA and LPN

This article assumed that you have already researched where to take CNA classes online and chosen a training class that suits your needs and fulfills your state requirements for certification. After some time in the field as a CNA, you will become acclimated to the duties and responsibilities you face on a daily basis. Many are surprised to discover that the basic duties and job functions of CNAs and LPNs are strikingly similar. While both professions are responsible for the overall care of patients, licensed practical nurses are licensed by the state and are required to pass state nursing board examinations in order to qualify for work.

Perhaps the greatest difference between these two professions involves the scope of practice for each professional. Although both work in close proximity to patients, licensed practical nurses are given a greater capacity for medical care, such as administering medications as well as collecting vital data for physicians.

Educational Pathway – CNA to LPN Programs

In order to become a licensed practical nurse, you must earn an associate’s degree in nursing or an LPN diploma. If time is a consideration, then you may be interested in earning an LPN diploma. These programs generally last one year. While you won’t receive the same amount of training as a two-year associates degree, you will qualify to sit for the practical nurse examination (NCLEX-PN). However, if you plan to eventually become a registered nurse, then you’ll want to forgo the diploma program and rather go for the associates degree. This two year program gives you extra credit hours, which are applicable for a bachelor’s degree. As many may know, in order to become a registered nurse, you must complete a four-year bachelor’s program.

When you’re looking for a training program, be prepared to pay anywhere from $3,000 for a diploma program to over $10,000 for an associates degree. However, you may be able to negate this cost by applying for scholarships. In some cases, if you’re already working as a certified nursing assistant, your employer may actually cover the educational cost to obtain an LPN diploma or degree. However, this is not a standard. If you’re interested in progressing your career, but having your employer foot the bill, then you may want to find employment in a larger, such as a hospital. In face, some hospitals feature their own accredited CNA-to-LPN diploma programs, which are either free or deeply discounted when compared to a traditional community college or vocational school program.