CNA to LPN Programs

As previously mentioned, nursing assistants are the entry level position in the field of nursing. However, this does not mean they are any less important or vital than other members of the nursing team. Anyone who has worked as a certified nursing assistant knows the challenges and obstacles which must be dealt with on a daily basis. Many nurses, LPN and RN alike, start their nursing careers as a CNA. Being a nursing assistant provides experience in basic care, patient and family interaction, and collaborating with higher-ups to get the job done. In addition, being a CNA gives future nurses a sense of what nursing assistants do and can help increase empathy.

CNA's usually perform basic care and help clients to be able to do things they are unable to do alone. CNA's also assist nurses as needed. They are supervised by a charge nurse which can be a LPN or RN. By performing basic care, nurse aids free up LPN's and RN's to complete more complex tasks which require further training and licensure.

Learn the difference between an LPN vs CNA.

How Does a CNA Become an LPN?

CNA programs are located nationwide and can vary from state to state. This is because each state has its own board of nursing and its own educational and clinical requirements. CNA programs require a high school diploma. No previous nursing knowledge is required, this is the beginning of the line for nursing education. Program lengths vary from as little as 2 weeks for some full time accelerated programs to as much as 12 weeks for part time programs. This education involves classroom learning with supervised clinical experiences. Upon completion, the student should be prepared to take and pass their states certification test. This usually involves a written portion as well as a hands-on skills test. Chances are if you are reading this guide, you want to further your education and be more than a CNA. The next logical step up is to become an LPN. Unfortunately, almost all CNA programs carry no college weight or credit. This means technically, CNA's are on the same educational starting point as someone with no nursing experience. However, this is not entirely true in reality. Being a CNA does provide valuable experiences and can also give an idea to what nurses do and what to expect once education is furthered. Usually LPN programs do not require experience as a nurse aid but they do consider it valuable and often ask. When making the jump from CNA to LPN there is a lot to learn.

Being a LPN puts you in a position of responsibility and often a position of power. Many subjects and skills must be learned and mastered. Topics such as medication administration, wound care, catheter insertion, and patient assessment must be learned. Instead of being the one taking orders, you are now the one giving them. LPN's must have critical thinking ability and complex problem solving skills which CNAs do not require. Because of this, be sure to choose a school with a good reputation and NCLEX pass rate.  See our lists of all state approved LPN schools; simply choose a state from the drop-down top menu to access objective data and information. Another way to find a good LPN program locally is to ask current nurses about their education and their school. Word of mouth is valuable. When making the switch from CNA to LPN, there is a huge change in scope of practice and expected duties and responsibilities. If possible, it may be a good idea to shadow a current LPN. This can give a first-hand experience of what a LPN really does.

You can find local LPN schools using the below map:

CNA to LPN Salary Comparison

State CNA Annual Salary LPN Annual Salary Percent Increase
Alabama                        28,550         45,260 58.5%
Alaska                        44,420         66,710 50.2%
Arizona                        37,620         61,920 64.6%
Arkansas                        29,970         45,990 53.5%
California                        43,570         69,930 60.5%
Colorado                        39,050         60,310 54.4%
Connecticut                        38,280         62,620 63.6%
Delaware                        36,670         57,360 56.4%
District of Columbia                        43,820         62,010 41.5%
Florida                        33,390         53,780 61.1%
Georgia                        32,850         50,830 54.7%
Hawaii                        39,870         55,730 39.8%
Idaho                        35,560         54,710 53.9%
Illinois                        36,750         58,840 60.1%
Indiana                        34,250         55,850 63.1%
Iowa                        35,120         51,400 46.4%
Kansas                        33,490         51,700 54.4%
Kentucky                        32,180         49,570 54.0%
Louisiana                        28,190         47,430 68.3%
Maine                        38,170         55,830 46.3%
Maryland                        37,180         60,180 61.9%
Massachusetts                        41,390         68,170 64.7%
Michigan                        35,960         57,180 59.0%
Minnesota                        42,480         54,870 29.2%
Mississippi                        27,140         45,020 65.9%
Missouri                        32,760         49,500 51.1%
Montana                        37,710         52,420 39.0%
Nebraska                        35,020         52,080 48.7%
Nevada                        41,110         63,910 55.5%
New Hampshire                        39,050         63,550 62.7%
New Jersey                        39,480         61,990 57.0%
New Mexico                        34,090         59,400 74.2%
New York                        43,450         57,560 32.5%
North Carolina                        31,780         53,010 66.8%
North Dakota                        38,200         53,080 39.0%
Ohio                        34,110         52,330 53.4%
Oklahoma                        30,210         48,090 59.2%
Oregon                        42,960         66,190 54.1%
Pennsylvania                        36,400         54,520 49.8%
Puerto Rico                        23,700         26,170 10.4%
Rhode Island                        39,490         66,770 69.1%
South Carolina                        32,490         51,060 57.2%
South Dakota                        32,330         46,000 42.3%
Tennessee                        31,600         46,540 47.3%
Texas                        32,150         52,850 64.4%
Utah                        33,380         55,790 67.1%
Vermont                        37,280         57,150 53.3%
Virgin Islands                        38,170         48,380 26.7%
Virginia                        33,070         52,790 59.6%
Washington                        42,430         69,950 64.9%
West Virginia                        32,470         45,530 40.2%
Wisconsin                        36,750         52,610 43.2%
Wyoming                        35,720         54,880 53.6%

cna to lpn 2Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2023

Advantages of CNA to LPN Training

There are many advantages in CNA to LPN programs: increased knowledge and responsibility, more job opportunities, an increased sense of job importance (making a difference!), and of course an increase in pay. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics lists median yearly income for nursing assistants/orderlies as $24,400. In comparison, LPN/LVN median yearly income is $41,540. See LPN salaries.  Of course, these are median incomes and actual figures can vary widely depending on geographic location as well as type of facility for which you are working. If you are interested at all in CNA to LPN bridge programs do some research. Take the initiative to learn about available options in your area. LPN programs can be completed full or part time, enabling continued employment as a CNA until LPN graduation, if desired. Program length and cost varies by school. Many programs offer financial aid. For more information about financial aid for LPN programs, visit our guide. Learn how to become a CNA.

Other LPN bridge program options:

Last Updated/Verified: Dec 23, 2023