In the nursing profession, there are many different levels for which a person can aspire to. It ultimately depends on the level of education someone is willing to put in. The more education, certifications, and training, the higher their potential wages along with an increase in job opportunities. For some, becoming a CNA, or certified nursing assistant is one of the first in a line of potential nursing positions. Another position is the LPN or licensed practical nurse. Many will initially become a CNA, but obtaining additional education in order to become an LPN may prove beneficial. For anyone interested in moving from CNA to LPN, here is what he or she needs to know and understand.

Differences Between CNA And LPN

Depending on the healthcare facility, a CNA is going to answer phone calls and basic office work. They will work with patients and help them with dressing, eating, bathing and other basic patient needs. They will also take vitals and note any differences with the signs in the patient’s medical history. In the event of a serious issue or drastic change in the condition of the patient, they will inform the LPN. However, there are many medical tasks the CNA simply is unable to perform on his or her own, as they do not have the necessary medical training to do so. They are unable to administer IVs if they do not have the required training. It is possible for a CNA to go and receive additional certifications on top of the education they received to become a certified nursing assistant, in which case their scope of responsibility will increase, but without these additional certifications, they are unable to perform many of these more basic medical services.

Requirements Or Prerequisites To Jump From CNA to LPN

There are two ways to move from the certified nursing assistant position to that of an LPN. First, it is to simply start an LPN educational program. Many schools and vocational schools do not accept any CNA credits. This is mostly due to the often wide variation between training received to become a certified nursing assistant. However, there are other options, including a CNA to LPN bridge program. This kind of a program will accept the previous education obtained and, in turn, reduce the amount of time a person needs to go to school in order to move up to the LPN position.

The only real requirement needed in order to move from a CNA to an LPN is to have the certified nursing assistant certification. As long as the interested party has this they are able to enroll in the bridge program. They will need to remain in the state where their certification is active. Should someone decide to move (such as from Ohio to Florida) they will need to either obtain a new CNA certification or simply enroll in a standard LPN program. Beyond this, they need to complete an entrance exam, which covers basic information they should have learned during the CNA education, pass a background check and drug screening, while also be at least 18 years of age. As long as this checks out, an interested individual will be able to apply for the bridge program (Think CNA Online, 2018).

What Are CNA to LPN Bridge Programs?

Bridge programs accept the previous education obtained during the classes and in-person work performed to obtain a CNA. The program may gloss over some of this previous information (as many different CNA programs are different some content covered may vary from one course to the next) and then pushes forward into the bulk of the LPN education. It will reduce the amount of time required in order to obtain an LPN and the cost may dip a little, although this will depend on where a person enrolls and the particular educational program they decide to utilize.

When someone is interested in becoming an LPN and then want to take advantage of the CNA to LPN transition, different facilities offer these bridge programs. Local vocational and technical schools will often provide bridge programs. Most community colleges also have a bridge program option. These programs consist of both classroom work and clinical work, where those enrolled spend time in a medical facility while receiving direct training is provided. Online bridge programs are available, although these are only partial online courses. The class work is offered online, but the clinical work must still be completed in person, so enrolling into a locally provided CNA to LYN online program is needed (Think NA Online, 2018).

What is The Typical Cost?

The cost of becoming an LPN and making the CNA to LPN transition will vary depending on a few different circumstances. These namely come down to location and the school. Community colleges tend to cost more, although these schools often have access to more on-hand medical training. It’s also easier to transfer course credits for anyone interested in moving on from an LPN to an RN position. While vocational schools provide the bridge programs, the credits obtained may not transfer, which means they might need to attend an entire four-year college program in order to become an RN, while with a community college based education this might drop down to three or two years. So while there is a higher price for community colleges, there often are advantages.

The second variable is location. Certain cities and states will cost more. Attending a bridge program in California will likely cost more than Idaho, while larger cities will often cost more than smaller cities. So the exact price for a bridge program is never set in stone. However, according to Top Nursing (2018), tuition fees may range from $750 to $2,250. Additional expenses will come in the form of supplies, lab equipment, books, and uniforms. It is important to look into what is required. Some educational providers (such as vocational schools) will package everything together, so students receive everything they need within the tuition payment. For other locations, like community colleges, some, if not all of the material must be purchased outside of the school.

Information on Schooling – How Many Years And Credits

If someone were to enroll into a community college, where credits are provided for classroom work, obtaining an LPN, without any prior education, would take around 40 credit hours (although this may vary slightly based on the location. It takes a full year to complete. As this is broken down into three different semesters (winter, spring, and summer), students will take around 13-14 credit hours a semester.

As for the CNA to LPN transition, this is shortened down to nine months, although some students may choose to lighten their credit load and extend it out for a full year. When a student is already a certified nursing assistant they will have around a third of the work already completed. This way, the rest of the class work will be around 26-30 credit hours. A student is considered full-time when they are in school for at least 12 credit hours per semester. It is important to keep this in mind as financial aid and other grants may rely on a student remaining full-time. So, should a student decide to extend their bridge program out to a full year, they will fall out of the full-time classification, which might cost them some scholarship money (potentially).

With regards to credits, this is where attending a community college over vocational school or other service provider comes in. These other locations are generally less expensive and will provide the same quality education. However, these services do not generally offer transferable college credits. The education may allow a student to waiver out of certain classes in college, but it does not go for actual credits. If a student knows for sure they will not pursue additional education or training for higher-up nursing positions, the vocational program is the way to go. However, for those who want to remain open to the possibility while reducing the amount of time they must remain enrolled for an RN degree, going to a community college is highly recommended (Learn, 2017).



Finding The Right Program For You

Finding the right CNA to LPN transition program, regardless of where someone lives, should not prove difficult. There are always plenty of educational opportunities available. Search engines such as Google make it easy to track down different locations. From there, an interested student can compare the cost of each and determine if they want to enroll in a community college or a vocational school. They will also need to determine if they want to go with the online option or the fully in-person option. It is important to keep in mind the online programming still requires in-person clinical education.

To begin the Internet search for such a pram, the individual needs to head over to Google (or their preferred search engine) and type in “CNA to LPN Bridge Program” followed by their current state of residence. So they would type “CNA to LPN Bridge Programs Michigan” if they live in Michigan, or “CNA to LPN Bridge Programs Texas” if they live in Texas. If someone lives in a large city, they can replace the state name with a city name, like Detroit or Austin, as there will be multiple programs in the given city.

The search results provide additional information on obtaining an LPN within the given state in addition to specific program links. For most websites that are strictly information based, most offer a “Search by Zip Code” feature, which will show off the nearest program options based off of zip code (a website like “PracticalNursing.org” offers this kind of feature and may prove beneficial to look into further when looking for specific programs within a given area).

The Salary Difference

Finding the right CNA to LPN transition program, regardless of where someone lives, should not prove difficult. There are always plenty of educational opportunities available. Search engines such as Google make it easy to track down different locations. From there, an interested student can compare the cost of each and determine if they want to enroll in a community college or a vocational school. They will also need to determine if they want to go with the online option or the fully in-person option. It is important to keep in mind the online programming still requires in-person clinical education.

To begin the Internet search for such a pram, the individual needs to head over to Google (or their preferred search engine) and type in “CNA to LPN Bridge Program” followed by their current state of residence. So they would type “CNA to LPN Bridge Programs Michigan” if they live in Michigan, or “CNA to LPN Bridge Programs Texas” if they live in Texas. If someone lives in a large city, they can replace the state name with a city name, like Detroit or Austin, as there will be multiple programs in the given city.

The search results provide additional information on obtaining an LPN within the given state in addition to specific program links. For most websites that are strictly information based, most offer a “Search by Zip Code” feature, which will show off the nearest program options based off of zip code (a website like “PracticalNursing.org” offers this kind of feature and may prove beneficial to look into further when looking for specific programs within a given area).

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It is important to note that once someone begins working in the particular field with their given certification and education level, they will likely remain within these income levels (plus the cost of inflation). Should someone working as an LPN want to increase their income levels beyond the $57,000 annual mark, they will need to increase their education and obtain a bachelor of science in nursing, or seek out additional certifications, which both expands their possible work roles in a healthcare facility while also increasing their earning potential.

In Conclusion

The move from CNA to LPN has many benefits connected with it. While the position does require additional training and education, it opens them up to higher salary and more job opportunities. These additional job openings are not simply isolated to their current location, but nurses are in need throughout the country. So for anyone interested in increasing their earning power and job potential, becoming an LPN and moving from CNA to LPN does offer plenty of merit.

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