How to transition from a CNA to a Registered Nurse

CNA to a Registered Nurse

A CNA’s role can be challenging and rewarding, but there may be a time when the CNA would like to explore opportunities within a higher pay grade. While the CNA can make a livable wage, the registered nurse tends to be a step up. Because of this, the RN position requires more education and some additional experience that the CNA will need to obtain first before they can apply for other positions.

Registered Nurse Classes

While CNA classes tend to last only a semester, the RN requires a degree. Luckily, the schools that offer CNA programs will most likely offer nursing degrees as well. Even if the student took CNA classes onlineImage, they can probably use the same university to finish their nursing degree.

Although one could easily achieve a bachelor of science in nursing, the most common degree is the two year associates degree.

State Licensure Exam

Although states will differ in their exact requirements, most states will require some form of an exam to become officially registered in that state. The national requirement, however, is the NCLEX-RN. This test is required regardless of the state of residency.


There aren’t any hard lined experience requirements to become an RN, it will depend on the company with the job opening. However, being a CNA beforehand will definitely give you a leg up on the competition. Having experience as a CNA will provide you with familiarity with the atmosphere of the workplace.

In conclusion, being a CNA does not mean you have to give up any dreams of becoming a registered nurse. On the contrary; it actually gives you a head start. Just continue towards a nursing degree at your preferred institution, and you can be making more money and handling more responsibility within two years.


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