CNA to LPN: Program Options & How to Transition

CNA to LPN: Program Options & How to Transition

There are lots of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) that make a decision to advance their career and become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).

A CNA career is a great way to achieve a nursing career in the future.

It is a great way to gain some experience while working in a healthcare facility.

In such a way, you’ll be able to learn about taking care of patients, dealing with other medical workers and so on.

This experience is very valuable and can help you become a better nurse in the future.

What Does an LPN Do?

An LPN can be considered as the next stage in the career of a CNA.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that LPNs have an excellent career outlook and a prospect of 12%-growth of job offers in the nearest future.

LPNs are supervised by Registered Nurses (RNs) while performing a whole variety of duties including such points as:

  • Assisting with minor medical procedures;
  • Administering oral and intravenous medication;
  • Collecting patient data and monitor patient conditions;
  • Collect blood, urine, sputum specimens;
  • Take vital signs;
  • Change wound dressings;
  • Care for items such as catheters, tracheotomy tubes, and ventilators.

CNA to LPN Education Programs

To become an LPN, you need to complete a training program but you need to consider some points while choosing one.

First of all, you need to learn about the difference between a certificate and an Associate Degree program.

The first one requires less time while the second one gives you an opportunity to transfer your credits if you decide to continue your education in the future.

It is an important aspect especially if you plan to become an RN in the future.

To be able to apply for a training program you need to meet some requirements and each program may have its own set of requirements.

However, there are some general requirements such as:

  • Minimum of 18 years old;
  • Admissions application, fee & tuition payments;
  • Currently employed as a CNA with a successful work track record;
  • CNA diploma or certificate;
  • CPR certificate;
  • High school diploma or GED;
  • Grade point average of at least 2.0.

Speaking of CNA courses, they can be pretty specific while covering those points you need to start working as a CNA.

At the same time, LPN training can include a whole variety of disciplines such as psychology, anatomy, math, and others.

Also, to become an LPN you need to pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills or TEAS exam.

It is an important part so you can prove your proficiency and ability to perform the required duties as an LPN.

In order to find the best program, make sure to do proper research.

Below, there are some useful websites, you can use for CNA to LPN training options search:


As soon as you’ve found an accredited LPN program in your area, you need to complete your training that consists of theoretical classes and practical training in hospitals or clinical settings.

There are some options, you can choose from while looking for a training program:

  • CNA to LPN bridge programs (usually available at community colleges);
  • Specific vocational training schools;
  • Online bridge programs.

Online vs. On-Campus LPN Training

CNA to LPN training programs can be an attractive option.

However, you need to keep in mind that you’ll still be obliged to complete a certain amount of practice at a training facility.

Despite what program you choose, there are some subjects that any LPN training program contains:

  • Nursing care for families;
  • Mental health nursing;
  • Nursing foundations;
  • Surgical nursing;
  • Communication;
  • Gerontology;
  • Pathophysiology;
  • Health assessments;
  • Clinical skills lab;
  • Medication administration.

Applying for full-time LPN training, you need to keep in mind that it may take about 12 months to complete it.

Also, it includes about 40 credit hours of coursework.

The NCLEX Exam

As soon as your LPN training is completed, you need to get registered and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

To be able to sit for the exam, you need to pay a $200 fee and send a state authorization letter to the National Council of the State Boards of Nursing.

You need to visit the website to get registered and schedule your exam.

Speaking of the exam itself, it lasts for about 5 hours and contains 85 questions at least.

When you pass an exam, you can apply for a license in your area.

Also, you need to know that if you fail to pass you need to wait for 45 days before you can take the second try.

Moreover, in some states, there can be some extra requirements for those who wail on their 1st try.

LPN Licensure

After the successful completion of the NCLEX exam, you can obtain a license in the state you are going to work at.

Depending on your location, you may be obliged to meet some extra requirements when applying for the license.

It may include such points as notarization, background checks, and character references.

Just keep in mind that your license is considered permanent and requires renewal, verification, and continuing education.

If you want to transfer your LPN license from one state to another, you can enroll in the endorsement process.

There are lots of states that have nurse licensure compacts that allow LPNs to work in the areas on the state borders.

To get more info on the issue, make sure to get in touch with the state licensing boards.

Advantages Of Becoming an LPN

Many CNAs make a decision to become an LPN because this career offers a whole variety of significant benefits.

Increased Pay

First of all, LPNs have a much higher salary than CNAs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that the average difference between LPN’s and CNA’s salary is about 50%.

StateCNA AnnualLPN Annual% Difference
Alabama$23,050 $34,520 49.8%
Alaska$37,950 $52,480 38.3%
Arizona$30,470 $50,290 65.0%
Arkansas$23,970 $35,300 47.3%
California$33,560 $51,170 52.5%
Colorado$32,040 $44,750 39.7%
Connecticut$32,970 $53,560 62.5%
Delaware$29,740 $47,350 59.2%
District of Columbia$34,170 $50,980 49.2%
Florida$25,930 $41,050 58.3%
Georgia$24,840 $37,040 49.1%
Hawaii$33,440 $45,070 34.8%
Idaho$26,450 $38,470 45.4%
Illinois$27,770 $42,680 53.7%
Indiana$26,070 $39,720 52.4%
Iowa$28,300 $37,410 32.2%
Kansas$25,290 $37,790 49.4%
Kentucky$25,920 $37,550 44.9%
Louisiana$21,880 $37,820 72.9%
Maine$27,250 $40,310 47.9%
Maryland$30,470 $49,900 63.8%
Massachusetts$32,340 $52,060 61.0%
Michigan$29,200 $42,600 45.9%
Minnesota$32,560 $40,620 24.8%
Mississippi$22,790 $35,230 54.6%
Missouri$25,360 $37,630 48.4%
Montana$27,070 $37,580 38.8%
Nebraska$27,650 $37,840 36.9%
Nevada$34,480 $52,850 53.3%
New Hampshire$31,000 $46,150 48.9%
New Jersey$29,400 $51,350 74.7%
New Mexico$27,050 $46,990 73.7%
New York$35,080 $44,250 26.1%
North Carolina$24,680 $41,510 68.2%
North Dakota$32,880 $37,900 15.3%
Ohio$26,740 $40,460 51.3%
Oklahoma$24,770 $36,800 48.6%
Oregon$32,190 $47,360 47.1%
Pennsylvania$30,010 $42,390 41.3%
Rhode Island$30,540 $51,120 67.4%
South Carolina$24,810 $39,050 57.4%
South Dakota$25,970 $34,270 32.0%
Tennessee$25,090 $36,200 44.3%
Texas$26,390 $43,120 63.4%
Utah$26,150 $39,380 50.6%
Vermont$29,720 $42,390 42.6%
Virginia$27,920 $39,640 42.0%
Washington$30,410 $47,140 55.0%
West Virginia$25,990 $33,660 29.5%
Wisconsin$28,830 $42,350 46.9%
Wyoming$29,970 $41,740 39.3%

Specialized Knowledge

Depending on your training and location, you can get a bunch of pretty specific knowledge as an LPN.

It can significantly increase your opportunity to get a better job as well as a prospect to advance your career and become an RN.

Greater Career and Educational Opportunities

According to the predictions, the number of job offers for LPNs will increase significantly in the nearest future especially considering their ability to manage CNAs.

Moreover, there is always an opportunity to advance your career to RN.

You can transfer your Associate Degree credits to a Bachelor of Science in nursing or an RN training course.

As it was mentioned before, there are lots of areas you can enroll in as an LPN.

You can get some specialized skills as well as valuable experience so you can improve your career prospects.

They may work in such areas as pediatrics, labor and delivery, neonatal, trauma ICU, gerontology, emergency room, and rehabilitation.

In fact, there is a whole variety of jobs you can apply for after your transition from a CNA to an LPN.

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