CNA To RN – Career Progression

If you have worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant, chances are you often worked under one or more Registered Nurses (RNs).  As a registered nurse, you will be responsible for many duties in a clinic, hospital, or private practice setting, and you will often have several other employees working for you.  While working as a Certified Nursing Assistant is a very rewarding career choice, many people choose to further their education and their career by obtaining a degree as a Registered Nurse.

While Certified Nursing Assistants earn an average salary of $27,000, Registered Nurses can make as much as $100,000 a year, depending on their experience and educational background.  Certified Nursing Assistants are needed in many different medical settings, but Registered Nurses are becoming increasingly in demand.

Before you start looking into completing a Registered Nurse program, make sure you truly enjoy being a CNA.  If you are looking to escape from patient care or the medical field, becoming an RN will not help you.  Also, do not become an RN simply because you want to make more money.  You should consider becoming a Registered Nurse because you truly love the field and believe that you are ready to handle more responsibilities.  Try talking to a working RN, whether it is someone you work with or an RN at another medical facility.  Ask a lot of questions, like what their responsibilities are, whether they like what they do, how the job pays, and which school they went to.  If you feel that becoming an RN is the right choice for you, you will need to start doing research to find the school you want to attend.

There are many schools that offer RN programs, and there is an increasing demand for RNs.  This has lead to a larger number of scholarships than ever being offered to potential RNs.  Look into these opportunities as you start to research schools, because college can be expensive.  RN programs are offered at both two-year and four-year institutions.  The benefits of a two year program are that it is usually less expensive, easier to get into, and you begin work sooner.  However, if you want to continue your education, maximize your earning potential, and prepare yourself for advanced study, you should consider a four-year program.  Many students start at a two year school which is often less expensive, and then transfer their credits to a four-year program.  Talk to your advisor to see if your school has a so-called “guaranteed transfer” option that will allow you to earn your prerequisites at one school and then automatically transfer to a four year institution.

If you have already worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant, talk to your new school about transferring some of your work experience into school credit.  This is called on-the-job training or credit for life experience, and can save you both time and money.  Additionally, courses you completed as part of a Certified Nursing Assistant certificate may also apply to the degree you want to build.  Find a good counselor at your school and develop a good relationship with them- they will be able to guide you through the process.

4 Responses to CNA To RN – Career Progression

  1. Mary Haynes November 29, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    I need to see the school that offer RN online I have been a CNA for 26yrs.

    • sherri August 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      I have been an HHA in an assisted living for 5 years. The place has an assisted living on the 1st floor and nursing home on 2nd and 3rd floor. Can the facility make you take the CNA training so you can go to the other floors to work? They have said that all HHA’s are now enrolled in CNA training. Because they are so short staffed they are making HHA’s go up to other floors to make sure no residents are choking. Is this ok?

    • dada April 18, 2013 at 1:28 am #

      what? 26 years?

  2. Clarissa94 April 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Hi I am graduating this year (class of 2013) and I am really dedicated to be a RN then to become a Pediatric Nurse Practioner.. I talked to some nurses that was at the hospital of what they did to become a nurse they said to do CNA first, I need help finding a school in Southern California I perfer the Orange County or Inland Empire area..if someone can please help me please let me know.. Thank you! :)

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