Print

Become a Nurse >> Browse Articles >> Degrees & Certifications >> LPN/LVN

Become a Nurse >> Browse Articles >> Degrees & Certifications >> CNA

+14

How Does a CNA Become an LPN?

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.

Salary Difference


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.


Sources


About.com, LPN/VN Career and Education Options


Nursing Degree Guide, Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)



Related Reads:

+14
  • Photo_user_blank_big

    RuBena

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I am currently about to take a fast track CNA course, fast track Med Aid class, and three more fast track courses for CNA II, Phlebotomy, and Pharmacy Tech. When I pass all of these courses and state boards, shouldn't I be equivalent to a LPN? Is it possible that I can take the NC State Exam and pass? I understand and respect that LPN do much more, however I think all of that certification should amount to being a LPN.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Pallay

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    One can use the California Board of Nursing to transition from CNA to LVN (which is equivalent to LPN), however you have to have been a CNA for 5 years and the program I used is totally online at Minnay Institute of Health Sciences, visit them at www.minnay.com

  • 918_max50

    terrah

    almost 6 years ago

    14128 comments

    I agree. I waorked as a CNA for a long time and in my opinion,ALL nurses are overworked and UNDERPAID!!!! And they wonder why theres a Nursing shortage. But as a CNA....definitely underpaid!!! As far as as getting the CNA renewed...being a CNA and former Texan myself, you can go to a nursing home and tell them you want to retest. They will tell you where you can take the test. Don't let them tell you that you HAVE to Take the class AGIAN...you DON'T!!! Better yet call the Nurse Aide Registry in Austin...they will verify what I just advised you, as well a maybe even having some lists of when and where you can retest!! Good luck...being a CNA opens lots of doors...Medication Aide in Texas only takes 4-6 weeks, Activity Director or assistant activity director, and of course it is an open door for HOME HEALTH and the road to LVN school is alot easier.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    MichelleVW

    almost 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I'm in Texas, and used to be a CNA ten years ago. I didn't keep up with my CEU's after I stopped working to raise my first child so I'm not certified anymore. I have one year of nursing home experience and three years of hospice home health experience. I'd like to go back to being a CNA. Do you think I would stand a good chance of getting hired if I get recertified or if I get hired to a facility where they certify you after you've worked there for a few months?( I'm a certified medical assistant with only three months of experience from three years ago and I don't expect anyone will hire me.) I've been taking care of my grandfather in law at my inlaw's home for two years now and would like to move on.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    beebeenurse

    about 6 years ago

    8 comments

    cdnurse comments:
    Where in the world do you live that LPNs make 40,000.00 ayear? And CNAs make 27,000.00????
    beebeenurse comments:
    * Thats what they make here too? (even more $ with overtime). Times have changed my friend!
    LPN $47,000 yr http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=LPN&l1=MA&tm=1
    CNA $32,000 yr http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=cna&l1=MA&tm=1

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    krinkerbelle

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    LPN certification involves a one year course and passage of a state exam. There are numerous online LPN-to-RN programs, as well as multiple community colleges around the country that maintain LPN-to-RN programs. If you are a CNA and are looking for a way into nursing, but can not seem to get into the competitive nursing programs, try LPN first. LPN programs usually have less competition for admission, but LPNs usually make excellent money considering how little school is required to sit for the certification exams! Here are more recent stats on average LPN pay.
    Licensed Practical Nurse 25th%ile Median 75th%ile
    the United States $35,142 $38,580 $42,145
    http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard/layouthtmls/swzl_compresult_nati...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    brookefleming

    about 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I am a CNA and i work in a nursing home. I work twelve hour shifts and I only make 9.25/hr at nights. So to me, for what a CNA does, I don't get paid good!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    I am part of an AS cooperative nursing program. I would like to take the LPN exam after the first year of clinical in order to switch career. Is this something conceivable?

  • 148_max50

    twinthang

    about 6 years ago

    30 comments

    I am currently in school right now doing my pre-req's for nursing (RN) and I am a CNA. I recently decided to go back to school for my LPN because in CT there is such a long waiting list for the program that I need to start making some money right away. I will go back to finish the little I have left to do after I start making a little more money.

  • 020_max50

    Mckean

    about 6 years ago

    36 comments

    I would love to move on to LVN but i am afraid that after a spinal fusion in Sept. 07 I will not. So i am looking for another field in nursing that isn't going to be so demanding. Any ideas I would love them. Still on worker comp and not working yet. HELP!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    lena3

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Where can i get online classes to get stated.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    PrincessQ

    over 6 years ago

    12 comments

    Another big thing that makes the difference between an LPN and a CNA is assessment skills. A CNA does not have nursing assessment skills and can not go into a room and conduct a head to toes in depth assessment which is what you will base alot of your treatment off of. Also in most skilled centers and nursing homes the LPN runs the show often there is no RN maybe one or two in supervisor type rolls because it's required by law but, the LPN does everything including in most places the role of LPN charge nurse and med nurse.

  • Demetrice_029

    cuttie

    over 6 years ago

    1042 comments

    I also wanted to add, that some hospitals, have regular CNA's and they have Techns. I use to work ta hospita through a registry, that payed their techs $20 hryl working at nights. The Techs did everything I did at my job, and got payed more. Most hospitals pay you more, if you draw blood, do EKG's and do monitor techs. Where I worked, they didn't. So that's why I am moving on!!!

  • Demetrice_029

    cuttie

    over 6 years ago

    1042 comments

    I only make that amount working perdiem. CHAR. CNA don't make that much starting out. I think the average top pay for a CNA starting out at a hospital is $15hrly with experience. I think if I apply at a another hospital with all my experience, I will top out making that, and along with being a Unit Clerk. I still encourage, everyone like CD said, to go for the RN, it pays more starting out, and iyou have alot of job sercurity, working in a hospital setting.

  • Dscf0350_max50

    theala

    over 6 years ago

    418 comments

    cd, I made $35,000/year at my last LPN job, which is not far off, and was over ten years ago. meals, re a BSN sitting in on the NCLEX-PN, generally the answer is no. You have to sit the boards you were trained for. It used to be that you could, but then it was decided that wasn't a good idea.

NursingLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a nursing or healthcare degree program. Use NursingLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.