Continued education is smart in any career. Working your way up and learning more about your field is crucial to staying current and sharp. If you are an Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and wondering what your next career move should be, a new certification may be just what you need. Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) may be the best and most fruitful option.

LPN to RN process

The process to becoming an RN with an LPN certification varies on what previous education and experience you’ve had. To receive LPN certification, you must have around 12 months of education from an LPN certified program. This can usually be done at a trade or vocational school. From there, you have to choose the RN path you would like to take. You have to earn either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree to qualify for the NCLEX exam, which is the final step in receiving your RN certification.

Education path

If you choose to obtain your Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) you can enroll in a number of programs and it’s possible certain classes you’ve previously taken will count toward this degree. ADN programs will take one to two years depending on previous education.

If you choose to obtain your Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, BSN, you will have to enroll in a four-year accredited program. Both of these degrees will qualify you to take the exam and become a certified RN, but some employers require a BSN when hiring their employees. More education can also lead to a higher salary and better benefits. In addition to being a registered nurse, earning a BSN can open doors to alternative nursing careers, like working in public health or nursing education.

Job description changes

When making the transition from LPN to RN, your job description will change. With more education and experience, an RN is licensed for more procedures. LPNs provide basic nursing tasks. These tasks include checking vital signs, helping with hygiene, keeping records of patients’ progress, changing dressings and other basic care responsibilities. On the other hand, RNs are licensed to administer medicine and certain treatments, perform testing, explain procedures, consult with doctors on medical-based choices and other important tasks. Working as an LPN before becoming an RN will allow you to be familiar with medical procedures and settings.

Benefits of becoming an RN

Retaining an RN certification can advance your career in more ways than one. The mean salary for an LPN is around $20 per hour, and the mean salary raises to $30 per hour for an RN. The benefits for RN positions are usually more inclusive, including better job security. RNs are allowed to service patients without supervision, which leaves them in high demand in hospitals and other medical facilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for RNs over the next seven years is 16 percent. This outlook is growing faster than average, and the nursing field is expected to provide more jobs each year for years to come.

If you are an LPN ready for career advancement, furthering your education and earning the title ‘RN’ may be for you.