CNA to LPN Programs: Advantages, Admission Requirements, Cost, and Scope
CNA to LPN bridge program is a good option for the CNAs who are ready to climb the ladder in their profession. The program gives an opportunity to explore better aspects associated with the nursing and earn a better salary. Some colleges have the provision of transferring the college credits that you received during the CNA program to LPN program that shortens the duration and coursework.
Certified Nursing Assistants help fulfill the needs of the patients under the supervision of the senior doctors, RNs, or LPNs. CNAs are the entry-level nurses, but it does not make them less than anyone. They serve meals to the patients, dress and bathe them, record their vital signs, keep the room clean, observe the changes in the patient’s condition, set up the medical equipment and assist the doctor during a medical procedure. CNAs help the clients in the activities they are unable to do on their own. They let the LPNs and RNs handle more complex duties by performing the basic tasks. The majority of the nurses start their career by stepping into the shoes of a CNA as it gives the experience to tackle the difficult situations that arise in the profession.
CNA programs require the candidates to have a high school diploma. CNA programs get completed in a short span of 2 weeks or may take 12 weeks if they are part-time or weekend-based.
The position of an LPN comes with power and responsibility. It requires the students to acquire skills and have command over particular subjects. Topics such as wound care, medication administration, patient assessment, and catheter insertion must be learned. CNAs who are turning into an LPN always have an added advantage as compared to the other students, who do not have any nursing background.
Complex problem-solving and critical thinking abilities are the desirable traits in the LPNs. The school chosen should be able to cultivate the required qualities along with the academic skills. In addition to this, the school must be state-approved and possess a good NCLEX-PN pass rate.
|State||CNA Annual Salary||LPN Annual Salary||Percent Increase|
|District of Columbia||$32,680||$53,100||62.5%|
Information Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics
The CNAs who are enrolled for the CNA to LPN bridge program definitely have the edge over the students who directly enter into an LPN school. Moreover, the work experience earned by the CNAs makes them familiar with the nursing environment. The length of the program varies depending on the college.
The benefits of CNA to LPN programs are mentioned below.
As discussed above, the LPNs have a better pay scale as compared to the CNAs. On an average, they earn 59% more than the nursing assistants.
Unlike CNA programs, the LPN program includes specialty topics such as nutrition, mental health, geriatrics, nutrition, and medication administration, and pay more focus to clinical practice.
The career prospects for LPNs are much brighter than CNAs. After becoming an LPN, the aspirants may further advance in their career by pursuing RN to BSN programs.
According to a survey conducted by the Journal of Nursing Management, the nursing assistants who were employed for a longer time were not satisfied with the job. The CNA is the stepping stone to the nursing industry; the candidates can further grow in terms of knowledge and earnings by opting for LPN or other programs. The LPNs do not face this problem as there are many opportunities to grow in the field and earn certifications in nephrology, dementia, and developmental disabilities.
Some states allow CNAs to transfer their credits to the LPN program. The students should consider the following points before going for a CNA to LPN bridge program.
The students must decide the kind of award they want; a diploma, certificate, or associate degree. The certificate and diploma courses take almost one year to complete, whereas the associate degree program completes in two years. The associate degree has an advantage over the former two as it lets you transfer the credits to the RN to BSN program if you wish to pursue an RN course further.
Once the student is sure about the type of course s/he wants to apply for, s/he must consider the state’s or college’s requirements regarding the course. Generally, most of the colleges expect the candidates to complete credits in Physiology, Anatomy, Lifespan Psychology, Math, and English. There is an entrance test- TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills), which needs to be cleared to get the admission.
Once the students fulfill the required conditions of the college and get enrolled in the program, they are trained in various subjects like adult and child nursing, medical administration, and basic medical principles.
At the completion of the course, the students must fill the application for the licensure exam. The applicants must attain the minimum score to get the licensure. If the candidate gets less than that, s/he can appear for the test again after 45 days.
When the candidate starts working as an LPN, s/he needs to maintain a certain number of continuing education units as specified by the state. It is essential to keep the license active.
Although the admission requirements may differ from school to school, there are some basic criteria that need to be fulfilled.
The cost for the CNA to LPN program varies in different colleges. The tuition fee can be as low as $750 and can extend up to $2,250. Other costs are also involved like labs, uniforms, books, and supplies.
CNA to LPN program can last for nine months to a year. The training is broadly divided into three sections: laboratories, classroom studies, and clinical practice. The clinical experience is gained in medical institutions, clinics, or hospitals.
An accredited online CNA to LPN program is equivalent to the traditional regular courses in terms of delivering academic studies. The students can communicate with the professors through online chat, forum discussions, collaborative wikis, and real-time video lectures. The online program comes with an advantage of flexibility and convenience. Moreover, the costs of transportation and uniforms are saved, and the student can devote more time to studies rather than worrying about these things.
The majority of the colleges allow the students to complete the assignments at their own pace; however, some professors ask the students to log in at a particular time.
The curriculum of an online program is same as its brick and mortar counterpart. The prospective LPNs cover a variety of topics in theory and clinical sessions.
The students are taught about the medicine and drug dosages that should be given to the patients.
The LPNs are required to communicate with the patients and their families. Along with this, the practical nurses indulge in professional communication with the senior doctors and health care teams. They learn the medical terminology and how to interact with others.
The students are supposed to perform various detailed assessments of the patients at different stages. The methods of obtaining the health history are also taught to the students.
The aspirants learn the practical implementation of the knowledge gathered. They learn decision-making as well as the technique of handling the medical equipment.
This helps the students determine how the body reacts to diseases physiologically. Moreover, they get to know the risk factors involved along with the knowledge of pathophysiological processes.
The future LPNs learn how to treat the elderly patients. The emotional and biological factors are considered so that they can be provided with proper care.
The scope of a nurse broadens after completion of an LPN course. The practical nurses can work in emergency rooms, postpartum care, and other health care departments. However, the candidates can advance in the career by opting for any of the following courses.