The Path from CNA to PN or RN

NursingFebruary 01, 2023

Are you a certified nursing assistant (CNA) ready to go to the next level in your nursing career? Or perhaps you’ve decided the CNA path is the best option for you, but someday you hope to level up. Here’s what to know about the path from CNA to practical nurse (PN) or registered nurse (RN). 
In Ohio, the specific job title for the state is STNA for State Trained Nursing Assistant 

What Does a CNA Do? 

It’s not uncommon for someone interested in nursing to pursue their CNA certification as a starting point. CNAs often work in the same places as PNs or RNs, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, and clinics, but their duties are more limited due to their limited training and education compared to nurses. Typically, CNAs help their patients with the nonmedical basics, like bathing, dressing, and eating. They also handle some medical tasks such as taking a patient’s temperature, weight, or blood pressure.

Other nurses may handle tasks like bathing and dressing, too, but they have more job flexibility and responsibility than CNAs due to their higher level of training. The desire for increased responsibility is often the reason someone with a CNA certification decides to go back to school to be able to advance their career path in healthcare. 

The Path to Becoming a PN or RN

Becoming a practical nurse takes less time than becoming an RN, which can take 2-3 years. Your CNA coursework will help you hit the ground running in a PN or RN program, but at Fortis it doesn’t count toward your credit load for the nursing program you choose. However, if you’re already working as a CNA, you may have a good idea of the type of nursing you would like to do, including a possible specialty. 

PNs are essential members of medical teams who usually work under the supervision of an RN and/or physician. They are often frontline caregivers and work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and rehabilitation centers. The Fortis practical nurse (PN) program content includes basic Nursing Skills, Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, Emergency Care, Pediatric Nursing, Obstetric Nursing, Medical/Surgical Nursing. Students also complete a clinical portion and must pass the NCLEX-PN exam to obtain their PN license.  

If you want to level up to your associate degree in nursing (ADN) and already have your PN license, the Fortis ADN program offers a pathway. LPNs or LVNs with an active license may be able to receive a block credit grant for their general education coursework completed through an approved PN/VN program. Unfortunately, CNA coursework won’t count toward this pathway.     

ADN students graduate on the path to becoming registered nurses. After you complete your ADN coursework at Fortis, you will be scheduled to take the NCLEX-RN exam.  Once you pass the NCLEX-RN you will become a Registered Nurse and you will be ready to work in a medical setting as an RN. 

Give us a call if you’d like to speak with Fortis nursing admissions advisor.  They can explain the process to review your previous education experience to see you can receive credits and to discuss the possible pathways to getting the education you need to earn your PN or RN licensure. We can help! Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 436-7847 to speak to one of our career advisors.