CNA to LPN bridge programs are accelerated programs designed for certified nurse assistants who wish to become licensed practice nurses (LPNs). This can increase their responsibility with patients — such as performing more patient procedures and administering medications — as well as their earning power. The bridge program is cost and time effective for certified CNAs, who can transfer their previously earned CNA training credits to their LPN track. If you’re considering enrolling in a bridge program, below you can find the prerequisites you’ll need, an overview of the program, and where to find courses.
Becoming an LPN is a great way to advance your nursing career. As an LPN, you’ll have more responsibilities with patients, which can increase your earning power and job opportunities. Becoming an LPN can also be a step toward getting a more advanced nursing certification or degree. There are often bridge programs for LPNs looking to become registered nurses (RNs) or get their bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN). If you’re looking for more autonomy as a nurse or looking to expand your career in the nursing field, becoming an LPN is a great option.
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics (BLS), in 2019 LPNs earned an average of $47,480 per year — nearly $20,000 more than the annual nursing assistant salary. LPNs also have a better job outlook. The career is also projected to grow 11% through 2028, which is faster than the average job growth rate — the BLS reported 697,510 LPN jobs nationally in 2019. This proves that the demand for LPNs is growing across the country.
The following prerequisites must be met to be eligible for a CNA to LPN program:
Some programs may also require additional training in CPR or first aid before you are eligible to enroll.
CNA to LPN courses ask students to complete between 40 and 80 credit hours, depending on the program. The course combines classroom work with clinical experience and procedural training. CNAs will find that many of the same nursing skills they already learned apply to LPN training. These courses can usually be completed in a year to a year and a half, depending on if the student is full-time or part-time. During the course, you will cover topics and procedures such as:
These skills are designed to build on the foundation of your CNA training, as well as expand into new responsibilities you will hold as an LPN. Finally, to complete your LPN license, you must complete the bridge program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).
If you’re looking for something more flexible, then you might consider an online CNA to LPN course. These courses can allow students to continue working while earning their LPN license. If you are taking an online course, you will still need to meet the clinical experience requirements and take and pass the NCLEX-PN. Additionally, online courses may meet infrequently to teach or verify proficiency in hands-on procedures. It’s important to note that some LPN courses might be recognized by state nursing boards but not nationally accredited, which would make them non-transferrable.
You can find a CNA to LPN program in your state by checking your local nursing school programs or referring to your state nursing board, which will likely have a list of approved schools and courses. CNA to LPN programs can be a fast-track to a satisfying and lucrative career in nursing.