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CNA's - CAREER ADVANCEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Nursing Assistants are entry-level healthcare professionals with advancement opportunities in the nursing assistant profession. Nursing Assistants are entry-level healthcare professionals. Nursing assistant training merely requires completion of a relatively inexpensive short-term program. Pursuing certification through the State Board of Nursing and becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) can be the first step at the start of a very successful career, opening vast opportunities for fulfillment and growth. CNAs who pursue additional training and schooling can avail themselves of numerous different career opportunities.
CERTIFIED NURSING ASSISTANT
Certified Nursing Assistants can move up the career ladder with additional short-term training, progressing from CNA Level 1 to CNA Level 2 and CMA. Many CNAs and CMAs decide to pursue a nursing degree, seeking additional responsibilities, increased wages and better benefits. Although there is a high demand for nurses, nursing programs are competitive and difficult to get into. A CNA has an advantage in this regard as there is a widespread recognition of the importance of the experience a CNA brings to the table. Some nursing schools require a CNA license (if not actual experience) for program admission; others give points for CNA experience when making admission decisions.
LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE (LPN)
The practical nursing program is the quickest route for a CNA to become a nurse. Most LPN training programs are provided by vocational schools or community colleges. Programs generally require nine months to one year of full time study to complete. Upon completion, graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Licensed LPNs have a variety of opportunities for career advancement, including becoming a Registered Nurse (RN).
REGISTERED NURSE (RN)
Becoming an RN is the career path generally chosen by most of the CNAs. It not only brings increased responsibilities but also commands much higher pay. By earning an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), a CNA can become an RN in as little as two years. Earning a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, however, provides additional opportunities and allows for the pursuit of advance practice specialties such as clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, midwives, and anesthetists.