Going From CNA To RN: All Things You Need To Know

You may know that nursing is a profession that may be entered at many levels from CNA to RN. Let's discover each step in this blog!

January 1, 2022

You’re in luck! Few people get the chance to “promote” themselves in their careers. Every nurse, on the other hand, has the option of moving up the ladder. All it takes is a little preparation… and a lot of effort.

Nursing is a profession that may be entered at many levels from CNA to RN. Your choice might be influenced by factors such as how much time or money you have, how soon you need to find work, your family obligations, or where you reside. Each step on the nursing ladder, regardless of the cause, adds to your knowledge and experience.

What is a CNA?

You might be asking, what exactly is a CNA. CNAs, or certified nursing assistants, are professionals who give direct care to patients or residents. It can be rewarding to assist patients or residents with their fundamental requirements. The following are some of the advantages of being a CNA:

  • The training period is limited (12–16 weeks)
  • It is not necessary to attend college
  • CNAs are always in great demand
  • A wonderful place to begin learning nursing skills
  • By 2028, job growth is expected to be 9%, more than the national average of 5% for all occupations.

You can refer to our blog about What is a CNA?

Where do CNAs work?

Nearly 40% of CNAs work in skilled nursing facilities, and 11% work in settings with elderly clients, such as retirement homes or assisted living residences, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Around 27% work in hospitals, 5% in-home healthcare, and 4% work for the government.

You can refer to our blog about CNA Jobs and Three Working Places for New CNAs

What does a CNA do?

It’s no secret that without CNAs, providing the good patient or resident care is difficult. For many CNAs, being at their patients’ bedsides and assisting them with eating, bathing, and dressing is the ideal job. It is a noble job to treat individuals with respect and ensure their dignity.

Maybe you need What Are CNA Duties In Hospitals?

What are CNA career prospects?

As you acquire experience as a CNA, you may notice Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) in your workplace, which may stimulate your interest in furthering your career. They make more money than you and don’t have to do as much physical labor as you do. They also have additional duties, which could appeal to you.

Special “bridge” or “ladder” programs are available to assist you in making the transition. Finding the appropriate program and figuring out your approach might take some time. Of course, everything is dependent on your own circumstances. Let’s have a look at some of the possibilities:

  • Work full-time and take classes part-time with your company paying for your tuition
  • Part-time jobs should be scheduled around full-time or part-time classes
  • Weekends, before or after work, are ideal times to take online courses
  • Apply for scholarships that will pay the full cost of your program if you attend full-time
  • Apply for financial help, which many students are eligible for

Next, select whether you want to pursue a career as an LPN or an RN. Each one has the potential to be a good option. Let’s have a look at the requirements and advantages of each.

What is an LPN?

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): A licensed nurse who specializes in basic patient care (also known as a Licensed Vocational Nurse in some states). A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) works under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) (RN). LPNs are capable of taking on more tasks than CNAs, such as medication administration and sterile dressing changes.

What is good about being an LPN?

  • In one year, a license can be obtained
  • Technical schools and community colleges provide programs
  • IV therapy or gerontology certifications might help you earn more money
  • By 2028, job growth is expected to be 11%.

LPNs work in nursing homes and residential care facilities in over 40% of cases. Hospitals account for 15% of LPN employment, followed by physician’s offices or medical groups at 13%, home health at 12%, and government at 6%.

Many CNAs decide to pursue a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse. You might not be able to afford a two- or four-year RN program, either in terms of time or money. Another possibility is that one of your long-term goals is to get experience at every level of care, therefore you wish to advance to LPN. Alternatively, you may wish to work in a certain setting, and an LPN fulfills that educational need. The important thing is that you are satisfied!

How to become an LPN

To become an LPN, begin by looking for a program that matches your time and budget. There are classes available during the day, nights, and weekends in certain programs. Some students take both online and classroom courses. Ask whether your CNA experience qualifies you for LPN program credit. Clinical experience will be necessary, just as it was in your CNA school; certain programs may allow you to complete it while working.

Unlike the CNA exam, which varies by state and consists of both a written and a skills test, the LPN exam is a nationally standardized test. The National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse is a computer-based exam (NCLEX-PN).

What if you want to bypass the LPN program and go right into an RN program?

You’ll be pleased to learn that your CNA experience has already taught you more than you believe, and certainly more than your RN classmates who have never worked in a hospital!

How to become a registered nurse from CNA to RN



A two-year associate’s degree (ADN) or four-year bachelor’s degree is required to become a Registered Nurse (RN) (BSN). Both degrees qualify you to take the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) and award the title “Registered Nurse” to you. Various hospitals and facilities are starting to require a BSN for employment in some states.

RNs are in charge of a lot of things. In addition to overseeing CNAs and LPNs, they communicate directly with doctors on a patient’s condition and any new treatment orders. They have the ability to administer injections, start IVs, and perform other testing and treatments. The following are some of the advantages of working as an RN:

  • Ability to evaluate patients and provide direct reports to physicians
  • Working in a range of healthcare settings is a plus
  • With a growth rate of 12%, the employment market seems promising
  • Possibility of becoming a supervisor, administrator, or instructor
  • Possibility of obtaining further degrees and expertise in any field

RNs work at hospitals in excess of 60% of the time. Around 18 percent work in ambulatory healthcare settings such as doctors’ offices, home healthcare, or outpatient settings; 7% work in residential care facilities; 5% work in government; and 3% work in education.

How do you go about becoming a registered nurse? The good news is this: The from-CNA-to-RN pathway is the second quickest path to becoming a Registered Nurse. (The quickest route is through LPN-to-RN programs.) There are a few more requirements for an RN program than for an LPN degree. If you didn’t take an ACT or SAT in high school, you may need to take one now. A grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher is also required.

Students who are registered nurses (RNs) take more courses than those who are licensed practical nurses (LPNs). You’ll need to pass chemistry, microbiology, pathophysiology, and psychology in addition to anatomy and physiology, which LPNs can take. Many CNAs and LPNs choose to finish these requirements before beginning nursing classes.

Today’s RN programs, like LPN programs, provide a lot of flexibility in order to assist you earn your degree and licensure. Talk to someone in the Admissions Office or the nursing program about your specific needs. They’ll most likely be delighted to assist you in achieving your goals.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the challenges of job advancement!

Consider the following:

  • You’ve previously demonstrated your ability to learn, study, and complete school
  • You’ve learned a lot about the foundations of nursing care
  • There is no set schedule. When you’re ready, take one course at a time
  • Everyone has a distinct set of objectives. Find and stay in your happy spot!

Salary from CNA to RN

While income should not be the driving factor in your decision, knowing how much you may earn may encourage you to take the next step.

Besides, maybe you want to know a detailed CNA Salary

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median average salary for nursing professionals in May 2018 was:

  • CNA: $28,540 
  • LPN: $46,240
  • RN: $71,730 

Finally, regardless of your nursing job from CNA to RN, be proud of what you do and how essential it is to the people you care for. A fellow nurse, Donna Wilk Cardillo, puts it succinctly:

Nursing is not a profession for everyone. To take on the world’s ills with passion and purpose, and fight to maintain the planet’s health and well-being, it needs a very strong, intellectual, and caring individual. It’s no surprise that we’re weary by the end of the day!”

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