As demand for LPNs increases, many CNAs are looking to further their education. Online CNA to LPN programs can be difficult to find but for a working nurse, attending courses can often be out of the question.
Here are a few tips for the busy CNA who is interested in becoming an LPN.
Preparing for the NCLEX-PN
As you likely know, no bachelor’s degree is required to be an LPN, although the further you go in your education, the more prepared you’ll be to compete for the best jobs. LPN degrees take about a year to complete and are available at most community and vocational colleges.
Once you’ve completed your Practical Nursing program and obtained your degree, you’ll need to pass the NCLEX-PN, a test required by your state’s licensing board. Once you’ve passed that, you’ll be able to get your LPN and begin the next phase in your career.
Online LPN Degree Programs
First, we’ll go through a couple of online degree options. Since LPN work is often very hands-on, online CNA to LPN programs are limited. Expect any programs you find to require intensive clinical work at a local medical facility as part of the program.
If you live in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska, you’re eligible to apply for Lake Area Technical Institute’s Practical Nursing E-Degree. This is another hybrid program, where participants are allowed to do classroom learning online but required to visit a campus for clinicals. The program can be completed in as little as 11 months, depending on your experience.
Rasmussen College offers a diploma in practical nursing for CNAs, with an accelerated program that will help you go straight to your NCLEX-PN. Check with your state to make sure Rasmussen’s accreditation will work for your licensing needs, as it only has campuses in Minnesota, Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.
The College of Davidson and Davie Counties in Lexington, North Carolina, has a Practical Nurse Education degree that can be earned online. While this program is a hybrid, for students in the state of North Carolina interested in an LPN degree, it is the only online choice.
Online NCLEX-PN Prep Courses
Many experts recommend beginning your NCLEX preparation at the beginning of your coursework. This can be accomplished by buying study guides, but with many online inexpensive and free resources, you can easily increase your chances of passing the exam on first try.
Hosted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the Learning Extension has three-week, five-week, eight-week, and fifteen-week options. The courses are taught entirely online, through NCSBN’s online campus. With coursework reviewed by nursing school faculty, the Learning Extension provides simulated test questions, gives access to a wide range of reading resources, and provides live faculty support if you have questions.
Nursing Education Consultants, Inc., which bills itself as “the testing experts,” provides an interactive, coach-driven approach to learning. Or you can choose to attend classes live, allowing you to record sessions to play back later. The prep course also has practice questions and allows you to download your study materials to your mp3 player so you can study from anywhere.
The Center for Nurse Education and Training offers students the choice of a live three-day review or a live online review. You’ll be given a set date and times in which to take your review courses. Each course is three days from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. each day. You’ll attend a live interactive classroom online, putting you into the experience along with others in your situation across the nation. Your course materials will be mailed to you in advance to give you a chance to review it before your class date starts.
From CNA to LPN
Online CNA to LPN programs can be tough to find, mostly because of the hands-on experience required in training for your Practical Nurse degree. But if you’re interested in doing most of your training online, contact community colleges and nursing schools in your area to see if some of your book learning can happen online. When combined with the credit you receive for already working as a CNA, you may be able to fill in clinicals and labs in a minimal amount of time.