This post may contain affiliate links which earns us a small commission. To learn more visit our disclosure page.
Interested in making the move from CNA to LPN?
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) can advance their careers in the nursing field by completing a CNA to LPN program. Many universities, hospitals and nursing organizations offer bridge programs. They work by allowing CNAs to take their previous educational units and applying them towards an LPN course.
When a person becomes a CNA, they have to complete a specific amount of required courses. This is a part of the legal and certification requirements for this field. CNA courses that can be applied toward this program will vary by each institution. However, the following courses can usually be applied toward a bridge program:
- medical terminology
Each bridge program has a set of requirements that CNAs are expected to meet before they can be admitted into an LPN training course. CNAs will need a current CNA license. They must also have a specified amount of experience that is determined by state requirements.
A CNA must provide a copy of their transcripts and have a 2.0 grade point average or higher. Due to employment laws, CNAs are expected to be at least 18 years of age in order to enter a bridge program.Most bridge programs will take less time to complete than traditional LPN programs. Since CNAs are using previous courses that they already obtained, a bridge program could allow them to finish within 9 months to a year. This amount of time is a lot less than the traditional 2 year LPN programs.
LVN or LPN
Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), is practically the same thing as a LPN. The main difference is simply the name itself. LVN’s practice in two states: Texas and California. Similarly to an LPN, becoming a licensed vocational nurse requires completing an approved educational program. However, differences exist depending on the state.
Traditional LPN Programs
Another way that a CNA can become an LPN is by completing a traditional LPN program. Many LPN programs are made available at universities, community colleges, nursing schools and hospitals. The average LPN program takes around 2 years to complete. CNA students probably won’t be able to use previous credits that they earned from their CNA licensing towards their credits.
Students should also keep in mind that a traditional LPN program can sometimes be longer than 2 years. This depends on the organization that is offering the course and how much instruction that they are giving to their students. Students who are required to take an extended LPN course will typically receive greater compensation once they complete the program.
When a CNA starts an LPN nursing program, they will have to register with an organization that is offering the coursework. Once they are admitted, they will then begin working toward an associate’s degree in nursing.
They will then be instructed with educational courses and hands on practical experience. After completing their degree, they will be required to take an LPN exam and pass the test in order to obtain their license. CNAs that are able to earn their licenses will then be ready to work in the medical field as an LPN.
Some hospitals can also help CNAs to facilitate their LPN training by substituting practical experience on the job for educational coursework. A CNA might have to complete coursework because of legal state requirements. In some cases, these two can either be waved for experience or completed at a university training hospital.
Some nursing schools also offer accelerated programs for students. A few of the programs take only about a year to a year and a half to complete.
CNAs that decide to become an LPN will typically have to meet state, boards of nursing and university requirements. They can find out more information that is expected of them within their particular state from the State Board of Nursing.
CNA students will typically have more experience over traditional students due to their previous experience and education. Their experience should help to make it easier for them to complete a CNA to LPN course.
Where do LPNs work?
There were 724,500 employed LPNs in 2016 and not surprising the largest employer were nursing homes(38%), hospitals employed 16% of LPN’s, followed by physician’s offices (13%), home healthcare services(12%) and government coming in last at 7%.
CNA to LPN Salary Comparison
District of Columbia
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, data extracted on December 20, 2017
Job Outlook for CNAs Becoming LPNs
The job outlook for LPNs is pretty strong. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) number of jobs available will increase by over 88,600 from 2016-2026. This is an increase of 12% which is faster than average for all jobs. The requirement for highly qualified LPNs will increase due to the high number of baby boomers and the current nursing shortage.
Median yearly salary for LPNs is $44,090. Licensed practical nurses’ salary varies and can range from $32,510 to over $60,420 depending on the industry worked, education and experience.