The position of Certified Nursing Assistant is an early entry-point into the career field of nursing. There are many opportunities to take your education and training to the next level, and with your first certification under your belt, it will be easy to see the merits of going further. The advantages of more education include better pay, better work-opportunities, and advanced degrees in the nursing field. One of the most common transitions made for CNAs is to Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse, both of which require college education.
The most common place to train to become an RN or LPN is community college. These institutions offer two-year associate degrees that allow nursing students to challenge the national licensing test for RNs and LPNs called the NCLEX. Being certified as a nurse aide will greatly improve your chances of being accepted into a nursing program. The minimum requirements for most community colleges include a high school diploma or GED, and sometimes academic requirements like GPA or previous course credits. Many students that would be denied from a nursing program initially can increase their chances of acceptance by improving their resume with actual work experience. Admission boards are looking for students that are the most likely to succeed, so showing that you have already had a degree of success in nursing will help convince them of your qualifications.
In fact, some associate degree programs require that applicants already have their CNA certification. These programs are highly selective and have some of the highest pass-rates on the NCLEX. Not only for the attention you get from admission boards, the experience you gain during your training and work experience will be greatly helpful for understanding the course material and passing tests. College-level courses can be complicated, and using the CNA training program as an introductory to the nursing profession will give you greater comfort with the principles of healthcare science and psychology.
The personal and professional connections you make as a nursing assistant will also be greatly influential in your college experience. Some state-approved nurse aide programs are based at community colleges and technical schools that also offer RN/LPN training, so making personal acquaintances within these networks can help your chances of eventually transferring from one program into the next. With academic and professional advisors available, there is a wealth of resources available to nurse assistants that are training at a community college or vocational school. Remember that each person you meet is important and worth your respect, because later down the line they may be able to put in a good word about you to the person that counts most.