How Does a CNA Become an LPN?
While both Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are both required to work under the supervision of a doctor or registered nurse, LPNs are given greater responsibility and thereby receive higher salaries than their CNA counterparts. LPNs, referred to as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) in California and Texas, make the natural “second step” between CNAs and RNs.
The LPN’s role is often that of a middle-manager. A self-starter who, by virtue of added experience, is able to prepare procedural rooms, and in some states set-up IVs and administer medication to patients. RNs often give LPNs added independence that CNAs do not have.
On average, LPNs earn $40,000 per year. This is $13,000 more than the average CNA salary of $27,000.
What Additional Education is Necessary?
The training/education requirements vary from state to state. According to one NursingLink member who is making the switch, the state of California requires 51 months of experience in an acute hospital. Clinical specialty requirements include: 200 hours in pediatrics; 200 hours in genitourinary or maternity; 64 hours in Pharmacology; and 64 additional hours in one of these specialty areas.
Keep in mind that the method described above only refers to the requirements of one state. Please refer to your home state’s board of nursing for more specific information.
Where do LPNs Work?
Traditionally LPNs have worked in a wide variety of patient care settings. With the trend towards shorter and more affordable RN-focused programs, hospitals are now hiring less and less LPNs. Most new LPNs are working in nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities. These types of facilities are expected to witness strong job growth due to large increases in the over-65 population. This trend should compensate for the decline of LPN positions available in hospitals.
What Education Programs Are Available?
Most LPN/LVN programs are available at vocational and community colleges throughout the country. They vary in length depending on each state’s requirements, but on average these programs require two years of study. Prospective LPN/LVNs must also pass the national NCLEX-PN before they can begin working in a hospital setting. For additional information on specific LPN/LVN programs, please check out this page.
About.com, LPN/VN Career and Education Options
Nursing Degree Guide, Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)