CNA to LPN: How to Advance to the Next Level of Nursing11 February 2020
Are you a CNA looking to advance your career in nursing? If you enjoy working in the healthcare field and are ready to take on more responsibilities, learn valuable new skills, and increase your salary, it may be time to consider becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
Pursuing a career as an LPN can open a lot of doors and help you grow in your career. An LPN program allows you to build on your existing knowledge and skills while completing the educational requirements to become an LPN.
CNA vs LPN: What’s the difference?
CNAs and LPNs both play important roles in delivering healthcare in a variety of settings while supporting the work of physicians, registered nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Both CNAs and LPNs often work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, clinics, and physicians’ offices. Despite these similarities, the roles and responsibilities of CNAs and LPNs differ significantly.
CNAs help patients with eating, bathing, and getting out of bed in addition to performing other general caregiving tasks. They may also take patients’ vital signs and, in some cases, administer medications. It is not uncommon for LPNs to assist with these duties as well; however, because they perform more skilled medical tasks, additional training and education is required to become an LPN.
Depending on the state, an LPN’s responsibilities may include the following:
- Taking vital signs and monitoring patients’ health
- Changing bandages and dressings
- Inserting catheters
- Administering medications
- Giving injections
- Inserting IVs
- Interviewing patients and reporting information to RNs and physicians
- Managing patient records
- Providing information and education to patients and families
What are the career benefits of becoming an LPN?
In addition to performing more skilled tasks and taking on more responsibilities, becoming an LPN also means a higher salary. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for CNAs in 2018 was $28,530, while the median annual salary for LPNs was $46,240.
In keeping with the general trend among healthcare professions, the job outlook for both CNAs and LPNs is good. In fact, the demand for LPNs is expected to grow even faster than CNAs over the next 10 years.
What are the requirements?
In order to work as an LPN, you must complete a state-approved educational program and obtain a license, which requires you to pass a comprehensive exam.
LPNs are required to complete an approved educational program, which typically takes about a year to complete. These programs provide a combination of classroom learning and practical, hands-on experience in a clinical environment. Upon completion, students are awarded a diploma or certificate and are eligible to sit for the licensure exam.
After completing the educational requirements, prospective LPNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). In order to sit for the NCLEX, you’ll need to apply through your state’s board of nursing and register with Pearson VUE, the organization that currently administers the tests.
The exam uses computerized adaptive testing (CAT) to assess your ability to safely and effectively practice nursing at the entry level by testing your knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Are you ready to take your career to the next level?
At Pioneer Pacific College, you can complete the educational requirements to become an LPN in just 50 academic weeks. You’ll gain practical hands-on experience in a supportive team environment and develop valuable medical knowledge and skills that can help you improve patients’ lives. Upon successful completion of the program, you’ll be eligible to apply to the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) to sit for the NCLEX-PN.