How To Go From Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to Registered Nurse

We want to preface this by saying that we think CNAs are awesome! Certified Nursing Assistants work in a wide variety of settings and consistently support RNs with their strong work ethic and skills. That being said, many CNAs want to take their careers to the next level by becoming registered nurses. Lets go through some of the steps to get the necessary education to become an RN.

Choose a Degree

Nurses don’t all have the same type of degrees, so you can choose what works best for you. The fastest route would be a 2 year associates degree from a certified nursing program. Some colleges even take your CNA experience into account through a CNA to RN bridge program. You can also earn your bachelors of science in nursing. This generally takes 4 years and can be greatly beneficial if you plan to take on specialties or pursue your masters degree.

Some Coursework Required

Whether you choose to get your bachelors or associates, the coursework will be similar. They will also involve lab work and clinical experience. The most important class in nursing school is the Fundamentals of Nursing. While the course may have different names, they all cover communications, review of nursing laws, documentation skills, and other essential duties. Some of the most common classes you will have to take are:

  • human anatomy and physiology
  • psychology
  • microbiology and pathology
  • geriatric nursing
  • nutrition

Get your License

In order to practice as a registered nurse you need to be licensed in the state you want to work in. You must pass the NCLEX-RN exam and then go through whatever requirement the state has. This may vary but can include fingerprint based history check and fill out an application. Some states also are part of a nurse licensure compact which makes it easier for nurses to work in multiple states.

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