Becoming a CNA does not require a college education. In order to become a CNA, you’ll have to complete an accredited CNA program.
The amount of time required to complete a CNA program varies depending on which one you choose. On average, CNA programs take around 4 to 6 weeks to complete.
CNA to RN bridge
There are a number of routes you can take to become an RN. One of the most common routes is enrolling in a CNA to RN bridge program. These programs are designed for anyone who has experience as a CNA.
CNA-to-RN bridge programs typically take 18 to 24 months to complete. These programs include classroom time as well as clinical rotations.
The goal of these programs is to provide students with the skills and training to pass the NCLEX exam. Once you pass the NCLEX, you are eligible to work as a registered nurse.
ADN vs BSN
To become an RN, you can either complete an associate’s degree in nursing or a bachelor’s.
Associate degrees are a faster route, as this only requires you to complete two years of college. Although many people rule out the ADN route and go straight for the BSN, there are many successful registered nurses who are practicing with an ADN.
Bachelor’s degrees are becoming the preferred credential for many hospitals. Both ADN and BSN prepare nurses to sit for the NCLEX exam. However, nurses with a bachelor’s degree may be eligible for higher-paying positions and more opportunities.
RN to BSN bridge
BSN bridge programs offer a way for RNs with associate’s degrees to easily acquire a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
These programs are typically online and can take anywhere from 1 to 3 years to complete depending on whether you choose to do full-time or part-time classes.
Accelerated BSN programs
Accelerated BSN programs – also known as ADNs – offer a fast path to becoming an RN but this route requires you to already have a bachelor’s degree.
Completing an accelerated BSN program typically takes one year but it is a rigorous process and requires a full-time commitment.
Completing a CNA program can cost anywhere from a $1,000 to $3,000, but this amount can vary depending on what state you’re in.
RN programs will cost more and are more variable since there are so many different routes you can take to become an RN. T
To complete an ADN, expect to pay anywhere from $6,000 to $40,000.
Bachelor’s degrees in nursing can cost anywhere from $40,000 to over $200,000 to complete.
Luckily, there are plenty of different scholarship and grant opportunities that can help you pay your way through nursing school.
Deciding which is best for you
There is plenty of crossover between the jobs of CNA and RN. So, it’s understandable that many people are conflicted about where to begin their nursing journey.
When it comes to determining which job will best suit you, there are many factors to consider. We’ll compare and contrast the two options to help you decide which role best suits you.
Why you should become a CNA
As a CNA, you’ll get to work in a fast-paced environment that always keeps you on your toes. You’ll be able to dive right into working in the healthcare environment sooner and save money!
Gaining experience as a CNA also allows you to test the waters to determine if nursing is right for you. Many RNs will spend some time working as a CNA either before going to nursing school or while attending it. Some people even say that being a CNA first can make you a better nurse.
An additional benefit is that once you are employed, you may be able to get tuition reimbursement for continuing education. If this is something you are interested in, we recommend you ask your employer if they offer tuition reimbursement.
Why you should become an RN
RNs have more job flexibility and higher salaries than CNAs. You’ll also be able to take on more of a leadership role when working as an RN.
As an RN you’ll have the opportunity to work in specialized settings and you can go on to become a nurse practitioner if you’d like to. Registered nurses make a serious impact on the patients they come into contact with. Working as an RN is an exciting and ever-evolving career path; you’ll always have the opportunity to change specialties and learn an entirely new job with the same degree.
Now that you know the ins and outs of CNAs and RNs, you can decide which job sounds best for you.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with deciding that RN school is too involved and settling into your role as a CNA. Hospitals need good CNAs and RNs, so regardless of which job you choose, you will be making a positive impact.
Get job matches in your area + answers to all your nursing career questions
- “Nursing Assistants and Orderlies” bls.gov. Accessed April 17, 2022.
- “Registered Nurses” bls.gov. Accessed April 17, 2022.
- “How long does it take to be a CNA?” cnatraininginstitute.org. Accessed April 17, 2022.
- “CNA to RN Programs” EveryNurse.org. Accessed April 17, 2022.
- “How Long is an RN-to-BSN Program?” onlineeducation.com. Accessed April 17, 2022.
- “How Much Does CNA Training and Certification Cost?” toughnickel.com. Accessed April 17, 2022.