Moving up the ranks from a certified nursing assistant (CNA) to licensed practical nurse (LPN) and subsequently, a registered nurse RN is a normal process. It is mandatory that LPN students must first earn their CNA license before progressing in a nursing program. Experience as a CNA is also paramount as it will equip you with all the necessary skill sets you need an LPN.
It means that you’re familiar with with the hospital settings and can tackle challenges that you will encounter. If you’re ahead of the game and want to transition from CNA to LPN certification, then you are in the right place.
Steps to changing from CNA to LPN
Through education program
There is no shortcut, for you to transition you’ve to return to school and continue you training as an LPN. You can find the education programs on both vocational and community colleges. The duration to finish varies from one to two years, depending on the program and whether you will earn an associate’s degree or certificate.
Clinical experience matters
Besides going for the training in a vocational or community college, you also need to have requisite clinical experience working directly in a healthcare setting, gaining hands-on experience. However, your experience as a CNA will help you here as it will come in handy because you have already worked in a healthcare setting with doctors, other nurses, and patients. At this stage, you will be working under a seasoned LPN or RN as you learn the roles of an LPN.
Take and pass the national exam
For you to work as an LPN, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses, or NCLEX-PN. But before sitting for the exam, you will need an Authorization to Test from your state nursing board. NCLEX-PN is a computer-aided adaptive test with questions on a competent and efficient care environment, psychosocial integrity, health promotion and maintenance, and physiological sincerity.
Getting licensed to work
Once you have completed your program and clinical rotations, and also passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses, you are now ready to apply for a license in the state you want to work. You apply directly to your state board of nursing, submitting all the required documentation and pay the required fee for licensing. This process is similar to when you apply for your CNA license.