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    Inside Look at CNA to LPN Online Nursing Programs

    Learn about convenient online and hybrid bridge programs that can help you take the next step in your nursing career.

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    CNA to LPN Bridge Programs

    Becoming a CNA offers relatively quick and affordable way to enter the nursing profession. However, if you want to take on more responsibility in the nursing field, a CNA to LPN bridge program online can be your best bet.

    CNAs already have a great deal of basic nursing and patient-care expertise, and that means they are ready to move into an LPN program that will build on their skills and knowledge. Even better news is that the CNA to LPN programs can be taken as an online/hybrid option, which frees precious time for those who are actively working in the field and have other responsibilities to juggle in addition to their work and education.

    If you’re ready to advance your career and become a nurse, this guide will help you understand the basics of online CNA to LPN nursing programs Let’s take a look at what to expect, as well as review some of the top schools out there.

    Best Online Nursing Programs to Go from CNA to LPN in 2023

    Choosing the best CNA to LPN online nursing program can be tough, especially given the sheer number of programs out there. We aim to make that process easier for you by narrowing down the options to a few of the best. To that end, we looked at online CNA to LPN bridge programs for accreditation, flexibility, affordability, and many other factors. Even if these programs aren’t ideal for you, they’ll still help you figure out what to look for during your LPN program search. Let’s see who stands out in the group of CNA to LPN online nursing programs in 2023.

    Herzing University

    Herzing University

    If you’re ready to make the move to being an LPN in as little as 12 months, the hybrid LPN Program at Herzing University can help. Students can take some general classwork online, while attending other classes and gaining hands-on training at one of six campuses—Akron, Birmingham, Kenosha, Brookfield/Milwaukee, Orlando, and Tampa. Get started by transferring up to 27 credits into the program, and plan on learning the fundamentals of nursing, adult health, psychology, and health and illness throughout the lifespan. Students will take required courses such as Fundamentals of Nursing with Lab and Clinical, LPN Practical Experience, Nursing Specialty, and NCLEX-PN Exam Prep. To be considered for enrollment, students must produce transcripts that reflect a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.0, the minimum composite score on the current Test of Essential Academic Skills, or a minimum score of 19 on the ACT. Anyone with a 2.3 or greater GPA won’t have to take an entrance test. Classes start on a rolling basis, and currently the entrance fees are waived.

    Rasmussen College

    rasmussen-college-logos

    The top educator of nursing graduates in Minnesota and Florida, Rasmussen College offers the Practical Nursing Diploma. This hybrid program offers online classes alongside an on-campus nursing simulation laboratory and clinical settings. At the Tampa campus, students can even choose between weekday, evening, or weekend courses. To help students complete the program within the appropriate timeframe, the college offers tutors, academic advisors, expert faculty members, 24/7 tech support, and financial aid options. The program starts four times per year. Most campuses have no wait list so qualified students can start their journey from CNA to LPN soon after their admission is approved. Small class sizes foster a supportive environment. The school is accredited by the Higher Education Commission, while the program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

    Unitek College

    Unitek College

    Students in the Practical Nursing Program at Unitek College in California will enjoy completing their first module entirely online and moving into the on-the-ground courses as their studies progress. This in-person work will be at the Reno campus, where students use high-fidelity simulators and sim-view technology to experience an ICU unit and furnished patient rooms.

    Students moving from CNA to LPN can expect to learn about nursing fundamentals, pharmacology, medical-surgical (theory and clinical), maternal and newborn, pediatrics, and professional development. All courses are capped at between 30 to 40 students, thus allowing for more one-on-one interaction with peers and professors. Admission begins with an interview, career planning session, proof of high school diploma or GED, entrance examination, application for admission, and signed enrollment agreement.

    Salary and Job Benefits of Going from CNA to LPN

    Let’s face it, one of the biggest reasons for becoming an LPN is to enjoy a pay boost. Luckily, LPNs are needed in every town across the nation, which means job prospects are good after earning your licensed practical nurse credentials. The jump in job demand is just one percent from CNA to LPN, but the increased responsibility reflects an average bump in pay of almost $18,000 per year. Given the higher training of LPNs, more opportunities are open to them, such as jobs in particular hospital areas like the emergency department and even the ability to work as a travel nurse.

    CNA vs LPN Salary

    CNA Median Annual Pay (2019)

    $29,640

    LPN Median Annual Pay (2019)

    $47,480

    Annual Pay Increase

    +$17,840 (37.6%)

    CNA vs. LPN Job Growth

    CNA Job Growth Rate (2019-2029)

    8%

    LPN Job Growth Rate (2019-2029)

    9%

    Job Growth Increase

    +1%

    Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

    What Is Attending a CNA to LPN Bridge Program Online Like?

    A CNA already has a strong foundation of real-world medical knowledge and skills and the LPN curriculum builds off that. Online CNA to LPN bridge programs can be found at community colleges, trade schools, and even hospitals and high schools. Those offered as an online/hybrid option include virtual instruction on topics that don’t need hands-on work, such as ethics or basic anatomy. If students are near a campus, they might be expected to complete in-person simulated courses. For students further away from campus, they may complete those hands-on requirements while undertaking their clinical requirements, which can be completed at an approved facility close to the student’s location. For some CNAs, they may be able to complete their clinicals where they are currently working. Regardless of the online CNA to LPN bridge program they attend, students can expect online courses to have the same rigor and to demand the same commitment as in-person courses. To learn more about going from a CNA to an LPN, check out our LPN page.

    What nursing skills and knowledge will I gain in a CNA to LPN online program?

    Though each program offers its own structure and will have varying electives, the core courses and topics in CNA to LPN online nursing programs remain the same no matter which school you attend. Expect to take courses in basic nursing skills, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, pharmacology, emergency care, and more. Key skills and information you will learn during your LPN training include:

    • How to fully participate with a nursing team in a variety of tasks, including conducting assessments and planning, implementing, and evaluating nursing care for patients.
    • How to use effective communication skills to provide assistance to patients and families within the scope of your LPN practice.
    • How to apply basic principles of nursing to determine the appropriate care and actions for patients and their families.
    • The best ways to safely implement evidence-based practices in the nursing setting and to keep abreast of trends and emerging technology.
    • The expectations for displaying responsibility and accountability as a nurse by meeting ethical and legal standards.

    FAQs About Going from CNA to LPN in an Online Program

    How long will it take me to go from CNA to LPN online?

    That depends upon a number of factors, such as whether you prefer full-time or part-time study or whether you choose an accelerated option. Most CNA to LPN bridge programs take from nine months to 12 months of full-time study. For part-time students, they can expect to be in school for 24 months.. Keep in mind that this is the program itself; you will need additional time to study and take the NCLEX-PN to become licensed as an LPN.

    How much do online CNA to LPN bridge programs cost?

    The cost of your LPN program depends greatly on several factors, such as how long it takes you to complete it, how much funding you’ve secured to pay tuition, and of course the cost of tuition itself. Some schools have a flat rate for all online learners. Others charge in-state tuition to give online students a financial incentive to attend that school. Even the type of school matters; a private school tends to be more expensive than a public one (although you need to be a resident student to make the most of a public school’s in-state tuition privileges). Here are the tuition rates at a few schools to give you a better idea of what to expect to pay for your LPN training.

    Montgomery Community College

    Montgomery Community College

    Practical Nursing Diploma

    Total Credits: 34

    $76/credit

    Rasmussen College

    Rasmussen College

    Practical Nursing Diploma

    Total Credits: 56

    $335/credit

    Midlands Technical College

    Midlands Technical College

    Practical Nursing (LPN) Diploma

    Total Credits: 44

    $178/credit

    Will I get credit for the CNA classes and training I’ve already completed and be able to apply them towards my LPN program?

    That depends on the transfer policies of the LPN program. If you took full-credit college courses in pursuit of your CNA, your LPN program will likely accept your CNA coursework as transfer credits. However, most CNA programs are very short and result in a certificate of completion, which might not provide any credits to transfer. To be sure, speak with the financial aid officer and academic advisor at the school you’re planning to attend. They can look at your transcripts and help you answer the question about transfer credits before you enroll in a CNA to LPN bridge program.

    Will online CNA to LPN programs qualify me to take the NCLEX-PN exam?

    If they have programmatic accreditation, they should. All accredited LPN programs are designed to prepare you for this important exam. Some programs might even include courses that focus on getting ready for the test through a review of skills and knowledge. Always double check that your school will qualify you for the NCLEX-PN exam. This is a very important point to be certain of before enrollment, as taking the NCLEX-PN is necessary to become an LPN.

    The Importance of Accreditation for CNA to LPN Online Programs

    When choosing the best school, either online or on campus, one of the most important points to consider is accreditation. Accreditation means a school or program has gone through a rigorous evaluation by an independent accrediting body and was found to meet certain standards of education quality. These standards ensure that your degree, diploma, or certificate will be accepted by employers or other institutions of higher learning as a valid credential. Accreditation is also required to receive many forms of financial aid.

    Regional or national accreditation is awarded to the school itself and focuses on the institution as a whole. Programmatic accreditation focuses only on programs in a certain field. LPN programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). To determine if a school has regional accreditation, visit the Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.

    Financial Aid for Your Online CNA to LPN Program

    Becoming an LPN might garner more responsibility and a higher paycheck, but both of those benefits mean little if you can’t afford the cost of an LPN program. Thankfully, financial aid can help cut down on tuition costs to make your CNA to LPN bridge program more affordable. Here are some ways to get financial assistance for your CNA to LPN program:

    1

    These are financial aid awards that don’t have to be paid back. Therefore, this is as close to “free money” as you can get for your education and these financial aid awards are among the most sought after by students. Scholarships can be found on a variety of websites or directly from organizations related to nursing. Use our scholarships guide for LPN students to help you find the scholarships and grants best for you, and don’t forget to apply early to improve your chances.

    2

    Student loans that come from the federal government usually enjoy low interest rates and deferred interest. This making it easier to borrow the money you need for costs that other financial aid doesn’t cover. Apply for loans when you get your tuition bill after scholarships and grants are applied. To learn more, check out our student loan guide.

    3

    There might be other options for financial aid as well, such as work-study or internships. Sometimes employers will help pay for a student’s education. Check with your employer to see if this is included in your benefits package and what the terms and conditions are for using these benefits. For example, if your employer pays for part of your schooling, you may be required to continue working for them for a certain amount of time after graduation. Also, keep in mind that some options, such as work-study, might not translate to online learning if you live too far away from campus for regular trips. Check with your school for options that might work for you.

    Looking Ahead: Advanced Nursing Degrees After Going from CNA to LPN

    Once you’ve moved from CNA to LPN, that doesn’t have to be a final stop for your nursing career. There are more steps you can take to advance your career in the nursing field. These programs are offered in an online or hybrid format to help you get there as conveniently as possible.

    • Online LPN to BSN Programs
      Once you have the LPN, you can move forward into a bachelor’s in nursing program. By building on the credits earned during your LPN and the experience you’ve gained as a practicing LPN, this program boosts your options for advancing into positions in the healthcare system with added responsibility. To learn more, visit our online LPN to BSN programs page.
    • Online LPN to RN Programs
      LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses. RNs have more autonomy in handling patients, including the ability to order tests, administer medications, and work closely with physicians to create a treatment plan. Earning a registered nursing degree can open doors to higher pay and challenging positions. Look at our online LPN to RN programs page for more.
    • Online RN to MSN Programs
      Registered nurses who want to move into advanced practice, management, research, or education can earn their master’s degree and make those dreams a reality. The master’s program is often entirely online and is designed for working registered nurses. Visit our online RN to MSN page to learn more.