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 22,690 36,300 60.0%
Alaska 37,520 53,760 43.3%
Arizona 29,790 51,670 73.4%
Arkansas 22,760 36,800 61.7%
California 32,770 52,670 60.7%
Colorado 30,150 48,690 61.5%
Connecticut 32,140 55,720 73.4%
Delaware 29,000 50,330 73.6%
District of Columbia 33,380 55,200 65.4%
Florida 25,230 42,960 70.3%
Georgia 23,530 40,250 71.1%
Hawaii 31,990 48,980 53.1%
Idaho 25,630 40,680 58.7%
Illinois 26,830 48,070 79.2%
Indiana 25,000 41,540 66.2%
Iowa 27,310 40,710 49.1%
Kansas 24,530 40,880 66.7%
Kentucky 25,160 39,460 56.8%
Louisiana 21,610 38,070 76.2%
Maine 26,220 43,680 66.6%
Maryland 29,700 51,980 75.0%
Massachusetts 30,960 55,190 78.3%
Michigan 28,750 46,660 62.3%
Minnesota 30,610 43,620 42.5%
Mississippi 21,640 36,840 70.2%
Missouri 24,690 39,600 60.4%
Montana 25,950 40,920 57.7%
Nebraska 26,260 40,630 54.7%
Nevada 33,650 53,500 59.0%
New Hampshire 30,390 49,040 61.4%
New Jersey 28,980 53,740 85.4%
New Mexico 27,280 47,770 75.1%
New York 34,300 47,170 37.5%
North Carolina 23,630 42,510 79.9%
North Dakota 31,600 43,200 36.7%
Ohio 25,850 41,320 59.8%
Oklahoma 24,050 39,290 63.4%
Oregon 31,660 50,160 58.4%
Pennsylvania 29,190 45,810 56.9%
Rhode Island 29,560 55,410 87.4%
South Carolina 24,590 40,090 63.0%
South Dakota 24,960 37,100 48.6%
Tennessee 23,850 37,920 59.0%
Texas 25,410 46,110 81.5%
Utah 24,910 42,720 71.5%
Vermont 28,620 46,790 63.5%
Virginia 26,040 41,450 59.2%
Washington 30,150 50,740 68.3%
West Virginia 25,210 36,050 43.0%
Wisconsin 27,980 43,820 56.6%
Wyoming 29,010 45,590 57.2%

cna to lpn 2Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016

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: Jan 29, 2020