Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), like Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) work under a doctor in a health care setting.  However, Licensed Practical Nurses have significantly more responsibilities and therefore demand higher salaries than CNAs in the same practice.  After spending time working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, if you find that you enjoy the medical field, chances are you will enjoy the increased responsibilities and opportunities you will have as a Licensed Practical Nurse.  If you are a CNA and are looking to further your education, increase your salary, and take on more responsibility, consider becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (also known as a Licensed Vocational Nurse or LVN in some areas).

The Licensed Practical Nurse is often like a middle-manager in her practice.  The Licensed Practical Nurse does much of her work without supervision, including preparing procedure rooms, set up IVs, and administering medication.  Licensed Practical Nurses are often responsible for more patient care duties than the average Certified Nursing Assistant, and they perform more advanced procedures on patients.  Registered Nurses (RNs) look to the Licensed Practical Nurse to be their right-hand-man (or woman).  The average CNA in the United States earns about $27,000 per year.  On the other hand, Licensed Practical Nurses earn an average salary of about $40,000 annually.

To become a Licensed Practical Nurse, you will need more education.  The type and amount of education will vary from state to state.  If you want to obtain a clinical specialty license, you will often need as many as 200 hours of additional education in some areas like pediatrics, maternal medicine, and gerontology.  Other specialties like pharmacology require fewer hours.  You will also need experience in a hospital, clinic, or private practice that you can use toward your license.  Many nursing schools offer programs that allow you to use on-the-job experience as “credit hours” toward your degree, so be prepared with your work history and any past education as you visit different schools.  Each state will require a slightly different program to obtain licensure, so be sure to ask the school if their program meets state licensure requirements.  To find out what the specific requirements are in your state, contact your state’s Board of Nursing for details.

Like CNAs, Licensed Practical Nurses work in a wide variety of settings.  These can include areas where CNAs traditionally work such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, schools, correctional institutions, or other facilities.  As registered nurses become more and more available, hospitals are moving away from CNAs and Licensed Practical Nurses and hiring more RNs.  The demand for Licensed Practical Nurses in skilled nursing facilities has grown tremendously and shows no sign of stopping due to the increase in the elderly population in the United States.  This trend will likely compensate for the decrease in Licensed Practical Nurse jobs in hospitals.

There are Licensed Practical Nursing programs available at many different vocational and community colleges throughout the country.  Programs vary in length and cost based on the requirements of each individual state, but most programs will require two years of study.  Licensed Practical Nurses must pass the national NCLEX-PN exam before they will be able to work in a hospital setting.

11 Responses to CNA To LPN

  1. stassy rancy September 11, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    I’ve been working as a nursing assistant for the past one year ,im looking forward to becoming a LPN.

    • dunia February 17, 2013 at 12:10 am #

      I am a CNA and i am currently working . I work whit this company named MAXIM HEALTH CARE our Goal is to provided help at homes to the people that are unable to do things for them self, i really enjoy my jod and enjoy help otherS that need help.. that is two of the reason i have being loking and gathering information about LPN and also looking into Granst and Schoolrships . i work 45 to 50 hours a week . i will like to ge some advice/help from anyone that is willig to help me to pursued my dreams.. i am a single 28 years old hispanic girl that can’t afford college i pretty much work only to pay my bills.

      • Tonya May 8, 2013 at 5:50 am #

        Hi, my name is Tonya. I am a cna also. I am currently in school to get my LPN. There is the pell or Stafford grant that is free money from the government, that will help pay for your school. Then once you contact a school(tech or vocational-2yr or a university-4 yr), they will have names of different scholarships and how to apply or if necessary you can get student loans that is repayable only after graduation. I would suggest that you do a 2yr college or tech school, because it is cheaper and requires less time to achieve the same thing of being either an LPN or RN. What I am doing is the LPN first due to the fact , from being a cna I have learned that if I do the smaller things first and understand them, then the bigger things like RN will be a whole lot easier to understand. Also, once you are a LPN you can be working while you get your RN, and most schools will take off at least one semester and credit it toward you getting you RN, in which it will take less time to get your RN(usually it will leave you only about 9 months of classes left to finish for your RN). Also, some health care jobs will either pay for your continuing education or reimburse you, for your RN if you agree to work for them for a specified time after school. But this is also a good thing, because once you finished getting the RN, you would not have to look for work , and your previous experience on the job with them and your education would give you more money. May God Bless You, future NURSE!!!

  2. geralda lebrun September 26, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    i am a cna in goodsamaritan hospital and i am looking forward to be an LPN and i am a nursing student in Rockland Comminuty college i was trying to do the RN program but the waiting list is to long

  3. ElaineNM February 13, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    I think the initial use for these response categories are to give info for where there may be CNA to LPN training. Does anyone know of any programs of this nature?

  4. red-tulip February 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    I am can and have been for the last thirteen years. I enjoy my work and the care that I provide. I love responsibility. I’m lookin forward to bcomin a LPN. To all the woman good luck to the men meet u @ the finish line. Lol good luck evry1.

  5. Jacqueline July 8, 2013 at 1:53 am #

    I have been searching for a free Cna-Gna class, I was a Cna for 12yrs, but the nursing board took my license from me because I did not work within the 2yr. Frame thats only because I was with child and had complications, the nursing board of Baltimore, Md. Said that I would have to do the whole course over. Please help

    • Rita October 4, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

      Most states will let you take the state test one time, without taking a course again. You wil have to pay for the testing yourself.
      If you do not pass the test(s), then you will be required to take the course again

  6. lisa January 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    I have been a cna for over twenty years ,I just moved to Georgia and would love to become a Lpn dose any one know of a program that I can go to?

  7. marcia January 29, 2014 at 2:49 am #

    I am from Jamaica ,living in Pennsylvania ,can any one tell me were can I find a free C.N.A class I would B so greatfull

  8. Maritza Rijos April 10, 2014 at 12:03 am #

    I am from Ocala, Florida CNA,Hha,Medical Assistant as we all know medicine is a second language and for me which I’m Hispanic is the third languages but I wouldn’t likes to accomplish the LPN with your help in doing some resource I know I can make it

    Thank You.

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