CNA to LPN Bridge Programs

Are you a Certified Nursing Assistant trying to climb up the professional ladder? If yes, then you should join the CNA to LPN bridge programs to get moving in your career. Know all about the requirements you will have to fulfill to become an LPN in this article.

CNA to LPN Bridge Programs : Requirements, Cost, Duration

How To Transition From CNA to LPN?

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) may be a great way to start your career in nursing. However, if you want to expand your career in the field, you can always opt for a transition into a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or an LVN. Although both LPN and CNA are supervised by a Registered Nurse, the role of an LPN comes with many different responsibilities. These nurses also enjoy a better pay scale as compared to the CNA.

About CNA to LPN Programs

To become a CNA, the candidates are simply required to have a high school diploma. The duration of the course is also very short. Normally, it gets completed in just 2 weeks or a maximum of 12 weeks if the candidates are doing the classes on a part-time basis. Transitioning from CNA to LPN comes with some special requirements which have been mentioned in full detail in the following sections.

Ability to think critically and solve complex problems are some of the traits desired in an LPN. The institutions offering these transition programs for moving from CNA to LPN also cultivate have special programs instill these qualities among the trainees together with the academic knowledge. It is also mandatory for the schools to have been approved by the state and give good pass rate among the students appearing for NCLEX-PN. An employee who has been working as a CNA can also directly get upgraded to an LPN if he/she already holds a CNA or an MA certification.

How to Become CNA to LPN?

Students who have already completed the CNA training programs will find the CNA to LPN programs quite similar. The course will comprise of topics such as anatomy, pharmacology, nursing fundamentals, physiology, and biology. In addition to these, the students will also be required to take up assignments, regular class examination, and group discussions. There is a balance between both the classroom education and field practicum. The experience of working in the practical medical world helps the students to develop more confidence offering their services.


The requirements for getting admitted to a CNA to LPN program may vary from one school to the other. However, there are a few basic criteria that almost all the nursing schools ask for. These have been mentioned below:

  • A proof of certification to indicate that the CNA program has been completed
  • College transcripts are to be submitted at the time of admission
  • The age of the candidate should be at least 18 years
  • Documents to show that the candidate has a good record working as a CNA
  • The candidate should have an overall GPA of more than 2.0
  • Fees for the application and admission


The cost required for Nursing Assistant to Practical Nurse programs may vary from one school to the other. However, the average cost can lie between $750 and $2250. This is only the cost of tuition fees. The expenses for other things like uniforms, labs, books and other supplies, health insurances, etc. are to be taken up by the student themselves. Some employers also offer health care aide bridging to lpn provided that you offer them your services for a certain period of time following the certification. This can be highly advantageous, especially to those students who may need financial assistance to cover the cost of their education.


The training programs for transitioning from a CNA to an LPN can take anywhere between nine months to one whole year. This, however, is much shorter as compared to the traditional programs for LPN that takes 2 years for completion. The program will be divided into three parts (the classroom program, the laboratory work, and clinical work) of which all three are equally important. The clinical work is mainly done in medical institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, and care centers. As you progress from one semester to the next, the type and duration of the clinical work will also change.

The CNA to LPN bridge programs is especially very advantageous to people who want to make an earning while still appearing for the program. You can get started with a short course on the CNA, take up employment as a CNA and then join the bridge programs. The time required will be much less. This reduces the overall cost of education while also shortening the duration of the training period to a considerable degree.

CNA to LPN Bridge Programs Online

A CNA to LPN online program is considered an equivalent to traditional classroom programs in all respects. During online programs, the students can interact with their professors or educators through forum discussions, online chats, real-time interactive videos and collaborative wikis. These programs are very flexible and therefore very convenient especially for those students who may not be able to attend classroom programs due to a busy schedule. Furthermore, taking up an online course means that you will also not have to make extra expenditures for the uniform and transportation. While some schools assign tasks to the candidates to complete within a fixed given time frame, other institutions require the students to log in at a certain fixed time.

How is distance learning different from campus based learning?

There is absolutely no difference between online and campus-based learning when it comes to the certification or courses covered. The students can also participate in active interaction with the professors as well as their peers through a number of different online mediums. The only difference will be in the experience of learning.

The subjects covered in online programs

The complete coursework in CNA to LPN programs cover a wide range of topics. Some of the common courses offered in the online programs include:

1. Administration of Medicines

The topics that are covered in medication administration include principles of pharmacology and the determination of proper dosages of different drugs as well as intravenous fluids.

2. Communicative Skills

Communication is a key skill in the field of nursing. Therefore it is given a high weightage amongst all types of nursing programs. The candidates are taught how to communicate therapeutically with the patients as well as their guardians. This includes learning the proper medical terminologies and the skills to facilitate a better coordination with the entire healthcare through effective communication.

3. Health Assessment

This subject places a focus on the degree of wellness and lifespan associated with various diseases. The students are taught how to carry out correct and comprehensive assessments of the patients during different stages of the disease, life and health condition. The students will also be taught the proper way to maintain accurate health histories of the patients.

4. Lab Skills

Even online courses are not complete without the lab skills. However, there are certain laboratories that are maintained by the respective institutions that can be used by the students for a hands-on training. Hence, the students will not face difficulties of any kind. The lab work allows the students to sharpen their decision-making skills, learn the correct method to handle various medical equipments and learn effective coordination with other healthcare providers while working.

5. Pathophysiology

This is the subject that allows the students to learn how the body reacts to different diseases and physiological ailments. This subject tends to be highly scientific in nature. The students are also required to widen their vocabulary and develop a better understanding of the various risk factors associated with different diseases. Pathophysiology allows them to develop awareness and acquire a strong understanding of the different pathophysiological processes.

6. Gerontology

Gerontology is the branch that deals with the care and assessment of the elderly population. The course places an emphasis on the emotional as well as the medical attention needed by the elderly. It comprises of a comprehensive study of the care required by the aging population.

How is clinical training acquired in distance learning programs?

The institutions offering online courses offer assistance to their trainees in finding a suitable setting for carrying out the clinical work. They often have a list of facilities from where the students can pick one depending on their convenience. Candidates who are already working as a CNA may also be able to use their current area of work for the clinical work given that the given healthcare facility fulfills the parameters of the LPN program.

CNA to LVN Programs

LPN and LVN is almost the same thing, only with different terminologies in different states. It is mainly in California, where the LPNs are known as LVNS. A Cna to LVN bridge program offers the candidates with advanced learning in the field of nursing as well as patient care. They are also required to perform some basic tests in the laboratory, monitor how well the patients have been responding to the different treatment approaches and check the vital signs on a regular basis. The candidates can opt for both campus and online programs. The online courses are mainly held during the night or on weekends in order to fit into the schedules of CNAs who are in employment. After the completion of the coursework, the candidates are required to appear for the NCLEX – PN board examination. On passing this exam, they receive the certification of a Licensed Vocational Nurse.

CNA to LVN California Programs

The program is equally divided between theory and hands-on training. The theory will comprise of about 600 hours while the clinical work amounts to about 900 to 1000 hours. Some of the courses included in the program are given below.

  • Nutrition
  • Oncological nursing
  • Medical-surgical nursing
  • Nursing supervision and leadership
  • Respiratory and circulatory disorders

The basic difference between the CNA and LVNs is that while CNAs are mostly required to offer very basic assistance in the assisted living facilities and similar other health care centers. LVNs, on the other hand, have greater responsibilities as compared to a CNA. Their roles include

  • Offering assistance to the patients with simple everyday tasks such as bathing, change of clothes and so on
  • Transporting the patients and helping them out with the daily exercises
  • Feeding and timely administration of medications
  • Checking the vital signs at regular time intervals.

The LVNs are also required to create a comfortable relationship with the patients so that they feel free to communicate all types of concerns and factors that have been causing them discomfort. They also teach the patients about certain steps of disease maintenance, general awareness about their health and medical condition and offer emotional support when needed. They may also supervise the CNAs on some basic tasks involving the care and assessment of patients.

Advantages of Upgrading from CNA to LPN

Transitioning from a CNA to an LPN comes with a number of benefits, namely …

1. Better Pay

When it comes to the pay scale, LPNs make almost 59% more than the LPNs on an annual basis. A higher level of experienced and years of services may lead to even higher wages.

2. More Knowledge

While CNAs learn only the basic skills during their courses, LPNs have a more specialized knowledge in different fields and are assigned tasks in the workplace accordingly.

3. More Opportunities for Employment

Since LPNs have a higher amount of knowledge in different areas of healthcare, they can easily find employment in a number of different healthcare settings.

4. Career Advancement

Taking a leap from being a CNA to an LPN opens up the doors to more opportunities for expanding the career in the field of nursing, thereby leading to a greater job satisfaction.


The role of an LPN also comes with much more responsibility and power as compared to a CNA. Students are required to have a higher level of skill and mastery over their subjects. The programs for Transitioning from CNA to LPN generally deal with topics such as patient assessment, administration of medicines, catheter insertion, wound care, etc. In fact, due to their previous experiences in nursing, the LPN programs become much easier for the CNAs as compared to the newbies. These transition programs are highly recommended for candidates who are looking to have a long-term career in nursing.
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