The demand for healthcare services continually increases globally every year, giving our healthcare professionals more opportunities for career advancements and growth. There are a lot of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) who are interested in pursuing a license in Practical Nursing to level up their careers in the field of nursing.
Attaining LPN from CNA means more job opportunities, increased job satisfaction and greater pay. Being a CNA with a lot of hospital experience and who wants to advance professionally, LPN programs are the best choice for you. This article will tell you everything you need to know and the steps that you should take in becoming a successful licensed practical nurse.
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CNA to LPN Bridge Programs: What You Need to Know
If you are already a certified nursing assistant and you are really committed to what you do but the salary rate is not enough to cover the bills, maybe it’s time to move up the nursing career ladder and start taking some online programs.
Becoming a licensed practical nurse is your next logical step up.
Before you decide to upgrade your career from being a certified nursing assistant to a licensed practical nurse there are a couple of key things that you must know and consider.
CNA to LPN bridge programs can be different in every state and are available nationwide. They are readily offered in most community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. LPN programs are also offered online which is a great option for those who are in field or community work.
So why should you take the leap from CNA to LPN? Both CNAs and LPNs are in demand nowadays. But taking up an LPN degree or other practical nursing courses will give you a lot of opportunities to grow in your nursing career and the healthcare field. It also means higher pay and job security.
Certified Nursing Assistant vs Licensed Practical Nursing Programs
Courses for both CNA and LPN programs are available online. These healthcare programs will both allow you to get employed in a hospital setting, do patient care and work with other medical personnel.
There is a huge overlap between the roles of the two but there are a lot of differences between the course of work and training.
A CNA program will require you to take classes that cover subjects like anatomy, physiology, patient rights, basic patient care and learn the basics of taking the patient’s vital signs.
LPN training also covers the same topics as CNA but with a lot more. They are required to learn about the nursing fundamentals, legal implications of their actions, master pathophysiology and medication dosage, specialized care and a lot more.
Online CNA programs only take 4- 12 weeks to complete while practical nursing courses such as the LPN program and LVN or the Licensed Vocational Nurse Program usually take at least 2 years.
Though all nursing programs offer their electives and structure they all have the same topics and core courses.
What is an LPN Program?
LPN stands for Licensed Practical Nurse. The LPN bridge programs prepare CNA graduates to perform the function and responsibilities of a practical nurse. That includes tasks within the framework of health teaching, case studies, health counseling and provision of restorative care in hospitals that offer acute and chronic care services.
CNA to LPN programs will give you a lot of job opportunities at an entry-level position and an option to go back if you want to pursue becoming a registered nurse if you want.
Another important thing that you must know is that you have to make sure that the CNA to LPN bridge program that you are about to take is offering an associate degree or an LPN certificate. An LPN certificate can be achieved more quickly since it usually takes a year to complete.
The benefit of having an Associate’s Degree in Nursing allows you to transfer or use your credits for further education.
LPN Bridge Programs Prerequisites
Requirements for each LPN program may vary from every institution or state, but common requirements for CNA to LPN programs include:
- Minimum age of 18 years old
- A GED or a high school diploma
- College Transcripts
- Admission fees and tuition fees
- A CNA certificate or Diploma
- Documents reflecting the student’s previous experience as a Certified Nursing Assistant
- A GPA or a Grade Point Average of 2.0
- The applicant must pass a health/physical examination and a background check
- Must complete all required immunizations before entering the program
Pre-requisites for an LPN program do not always require college-level classes to get admitted to the program. But having a good grounding in subjects such as math and science can be helpful.
Participants who have already completed their CNA training programs will find CNA to LPN training quite similar. These bridge programs combine learnings from the classroom and hands-on training in the field, such as vital signs taking and patient care, to hone the student’s nursing skills.
Advantages of CNA to LPN Programs
Nursing assistants who have completed their LPN programs have become more qualified to find employment in their preferred choice of healthcare settings.
Completing the CNA to LPN programs has a lot of advantages, some of these are:
- Increased responsibility and knowledge
- Increased feeling of job satisfaction
- Higher pay
- Gives the participants a chance to further pursue other nursing programs like RN to BSN for further training and education
Nursing Knowledge and Skills to Gain From CNA to LPN Online Program
Aspiring LPNs will gain a lot of skills and knowledge after completing the LPN training. Each program may vary in terms of the core courses offered and the electives but participants should expect to take subjects like anatomy, nutrition, medication administration, nursing communication, clinical training/skills lab and patient assessment.
Prospective licensed practical nurses will also cover a variety of topics and key skills during the curriculum. Some of these include:
- CNA to LPN bridge programs will educate participants on how to safely carry through evidenced-based practices in the healthcare/hospital setting while keeping up with the latest trends and technological advancements.
- Most LPN programs teach participants how to communicate with the patients and their families and how to perform the basic principles of nursing to determine the appropriate approach to care.
- Participants will also have the essential academic skills and knowledge to fully take part with a nursing team in performing a variety of tasks like assessment, implementation, planning and nursing care.
- LPN training will teach an aspiring LPN how to practically implement knowledge gathered and techniques on how to handle common medical equipment.
- Participants will have the opportunity to obtain specialized knowledge that can improve their chances of marketability or advance their career to a specialized nursing role.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, US Department of Labor, a licensed practical nurse is responsible for providing basic medical care and they work directly under a Medical Doctor or a Registered Nurse. Their duties vary depending on the state they are employed in and the work setting.
Online CNA to LPN Program
Accredited LPN bridge programs online are also equivalent to the regular training and courses in terms of academic studies. With the online LPN classes and discussions, the participants can communicate with their trainers and professors through online group chats, collaborative wikis, digital forum discussions and real-time online lectures.
Online programs may have caused a lot of debates in the past but LPN online may also have a lot of pros and cons. Some of the pros are the cost of public transportation and the time that the participants are able to devote to their studies.
The majority of the colleges offering online classes allow their students to finish their assignments at their own pace; however, some lecturers would ask participants to log in at a specific time.
If the participants have decided to go for online CNA to LPN programs, they have to keep in mind that online students are still required to administer hands-on training and work with a CNA facility. Fulltime CNA to LPN training will take around a year to complete with 40 horse credits of coursework.
The accreditation of the program should also be thoroughly verified. The secretary of education in the U.S. identifies the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education as one of the official accreditation agencies.
As the participant completed the CNA to LPN program, they must fill up an application form for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing or the NCLEX-PN. The NCLEX-PN exam is conducted nationwide and is a standard requirement for a state-certified nursing assistant who is seeking to become an LPN.
Certified nursing assistants have no license but an LPN, after passing the NCLEX PN, can immediately apply for licensure in their chosen state. Once the background checks, notarization and exam results are in the CNA will receive their permanent license.
The license has to be renewed periodically but it is easily transferred from one state to another through an endorsement process.
How much does a CNA to LPN program cost?
The cost of an LPN program varies depending on several factors. Some of the factors include the length or for how long the participant intends to take the course and the availability of financial assistance or the funding for the tuition fees. LPN courses may cost somewhere between $10,000-$15,000. Though some vocational schools and colleges provide financial aid, waive application fees and give discounts to help students.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does a licensed practical nurse make?
Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPN and LVN earn $48,070 annually. That is over 59% more than a CNA’s salary on an annual basis.
How long does it take to complete a CNA to LPN program?
The CNA to LPN program can last for 10 months to a year. The training and courses are broadly subdivided into sections such as laboratories, clinical practice and classroom discussions.
Are there any scholarship grants and financial aid for CNA to LPN programs?
Yes, there are a lot of options to help cut down the cost of LPN programs. Education loans for healthcare students, for one, come with a low interest. There are a lot of nursing organizations that offer scholarship grants and financial aid to nursing graduates who want to move forward in their careers.
Take the Leap and Sign Up for a CNA to LPN Bridge Program
Transitioning from a CNA to an LPN is a great option if you are planning to level up your nursing career. Thus, the career leap will come with a lot of benefits and advantages such as a higher level of personal and job satisfaction, more job opportunities, improved nursing skills and knowledge, and of course, higher pay.