CNA to RN Bridge Programs

There are several different types of nurses practicing today. The entry position for nurses is that of a certified nursing assistant. The middle of the pack job, which requires more training than a CNA, is a licensed practical nurse or a licensed vocational nurse. The highest level of nurse is the registered nurse, or RN. If you enjoy having more responsibility at your job and like working in a leadership role, a job as an RN may be a good fit for you. While working as a CNA is a good introduction to the field of healthcare, if you are interested in a long term career in medicine, working your way up the nursing hierarchy by becoming an RN can have many benefits.

CNA to RN Programs

Becoming an RN is a bit different from becoming a CNA LPN or LVN. In order to become an RN, you will need to complete a program of studies and receive either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing as well as be licensed by your state of practice.

Many community colleges and technical colleges offer associates degrees in nursing, and many other colleges and universities offer 4 year nursing degrees. These can be obtained traditionally as any other degree through attending  in-person classes on campus and fulfilling all of the necessary requirements for graduation.

Online CNA to RN Programs

If spending two or four years attending class at a university full-time just isn’t an option for you, you can still study to become an RN. In recent years, many colleges and universities have developed online versions of their coursework in order to give students the opportunity to complete the necessary nursing classes online. This is a great advantage if you are raising a family or need to work full-time. It is especially convenient if you are working as a CNA because some schools specifically offer programs where your CNA classwork and work experience may count towards your degree. Of course, some schools do not count CNA work as credit so it may seem like you have to start at the beginning; however, already having some nursing work experience under your belt prior to beginning RN school can be a great benefit to you and put you ahead of your classmates.

How does an Online CNA to RN Program Work?

To become an RN you will have to complete both in-classroom courses and clinical hours. An online RN program is most often a hybrid of online and in-person work. The non-clinical portion of your degree can generally be completed online.

Online courses most often consist of lectures and readings followed by exams or written assignments. Students can generally communicate with one another and the professor via online chats or discussion boards. Some classes may require a student to log-in at a particular time to participate in an online discussion. For the most part, as long as assignments are completed on time, online students can complete the course work at whatever time best suits them. Assignments are turned in online via email and exams are usually completed online as well.

What are the benefits of an online program?

Online schooling is simply more convenient for those students who do not live on or near a campus. They save on travel time and costs and are able to maintain their own schedule instead of having it dictated for them. Online students can usually continue working and supporting themselves or their families all while furthering their nursing education.

What are the requirements for an online CNA to RN program?

While every school will have a different set of specific requirements, the below is a list of the most general prerequisites for two or four year RN programs:

  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Minimum GPA Level
  • Active practicing CNA (Some programs)
  • CPR Certification
  • Drug Screening or Background Check (Some Programs)
  • Completion of all necessary application components by application deadline

What will a CNA to RN program cover?

RN degree programs will cover a variety of topics. Most will require some fundamental courses in English Composition, Algebra, Sociology or Psychology. They will then move on to nursing specific courses covering topics such as Microbiology, Anatomy, Nursing Research, Aging and Health, Public Health, and Newborn and Maternal care.

In addition to online coursework, nursing students will also be required to complete some clinical work which will take place in a medical facility, usually a hospital or nursing home. Nursing clinicals vary between programs, but they are designed to give nursing students real world practice at the various skills they have learned. Most nursing students will be trained on a variety of patients of with differing ages and illnesses in order to learn more about nursing care.

Why become an RN?

If you currently work as a CNA and you enjoy healthcare, pursuing a degree as an RN is a great next step. Because RNs must complete a degree program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination in order to be officially licensed, RNs have increased salaries, more job responsibility, and higher levels of professional respect. Working as an RN can provide a long and satisfying career of helping others in the field of medicine.