Many certified nursing assistants make the jump from CNA to LPN to advance their careers. Becoming a licensed practical nurse is a good idea, especially if you already have the credits for a CNA. Typically, you must earn your CNA license before you become an LPN or progress in any nursing program. Becoming a CNA means that you are familiar with all the basics of nursing and can handle most challenges that often crop up. It also means that you are ahead of the game and already on the right path to learn and become an LPN. This article will give you an overview about the factors that come into play when you want to move from being a CNA to an LPN.
To make the jump from CNA to LPN you will have to go back to the classroom to learn the basics of being a licensed practical nurse. LPN programs are available in most community colleges in the United States. The duration of an LPN training program usually takes between 18 and 24 months. However, you can lessen the duration if you already have credits you earned as a CNA. The duration also varies depending on whether you want a certificate or an associate’s degree. A lesser timeline will help you save a lot of money and do other important things. Some employers have financial provisions for their employees who want to advance to an LPN. If you are working in a hospital or a private medical firm, ask the financial officers if there are incentives that might help you pay for your tuition fees.
CNA to LPN Bridge Programs
For people interested in fast tracking their move from CNA to LPN, there are programs known as bridge programs that can drastically speed up the process. These programs work by transferring credits from your CNA training towards your LPN program. So, if you’re not yet a CNA and your long term plan is to become an LPN, you’ll want to make sure you have two programs that will work in unison. Once you’ve acquired a job as a CNA, you can then enroll in a CNA to LPN bridge program. These programs can be completed in 9 to 12 months and can be performed while continuing to work and earn a salary as a CNA.
Keep reading to learn more about bridge programs or, if you want to skip straight to the exam prep, check out the Preparing for the NCLEX exam page on the LPN to RN Bridge site. They are a treasure trove of information on this particular subject.
Requirements for CNA to LPN Bridge Programs
Each program will have its own set of requirements, but the following are fairly common for a CNA to LPN bridge program similar to most other higher education programs today:
- 18 Years Old or Older
- Admissions application, fee & tuition payments
- Currently employed as a CNA with a successful work track record
- CNA diploma or certificate
- High school diploma or GED
- Grade point average of at least 2.0
LPN Training Requirements
You are required to complete all the training programs before you qualify for a license. Most programs are divided into three categories;
• Classroom lectures
• Laboratory training
• Clinical Work
Most LPN programs require you to do clinical rotations working under a healthcare specialist. The rotations should give you an experience in working in different healthcare settings. Also, your experience as a CNA will help you complete the rotations within a shorter time-frame since you are used to working directly with patients, doctors and other support staff.
You must complete the laboratory training program. The program will ensure you master all the skills needed in a laboratory environment. You will work under the supervision of qualified lab technicians and other LPNs. At the laboratory, you will learn about administration of IVs, sterilization of equipment, monitoring patients’ insulin and reporting the lab findings.
You must also complete a classroom lecture. The lectures will take you through the basics of being an LPN. The lectures often take the longest duration when compared with other LPN training programs. You will learn safety and health procedures, community care, psychology and LPN duties.
There are other basic requirements you must meet to qualify for an LPN training program. For instance, you must be at least 18 years old. You must have at least a high school diploma certificate and a document indicating the you completed your CNA course, which takes about two weeks. Necessary courses such as biology and chemistry will boost your chances. You must also have a GPA of at least 2.0 and a CPR certificate.
Passing LPN Exams
LPN candidates must pass the National Council of Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) exam. You will have to produce an authorization letter from your state to register for this examination and pay about $200. After you pass, you will ready to become an official LPN.
How to Pay for LPN Training
Financing your LPN program will depend on the type of training you want. But you can lower the costs by taking up online training. You can also ask for financial aid from well-wishers or getting free or paid CNA training from an institution like a nursing home or a hospital.
In a nutshell, moving from being a CNA to an LPN is a good choice. It also gives you an opportunity to increase your salary scale and advance your nursing career. An LPN’s salary ranges between $27,000 and $30,000.