Level Up: Explore the Levels of Nursing
Are you thinking about becoming a nurse, or are you a nurse looking to advance your career? We have gathered information on each level of nursing to help you start your research and take action to further your career.
Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistant Description: CNAs, also known as nursing aides or nursing assistants, typically work in home care and long-term care facilities. They assist patients with their daily needs and medical care under the supervision of an RN or LPN.
Requirements: This role requires an average of 4-12 weeks of state-certified training. To become a CNA, you must pass a state exam. Find more information on becoming a CNA here.
Economic insight: CNAs have an average annual salary of $30,290 or $14.56 per hour. The job outlook for CNAs is 5%.
Licensed Practical Nurse
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Description: LPNs, also known as vocational nurses, play a key role in communicating between the healthcare team and the patient. They monitor the patient’s health and perform medical procedures such as taking and monitoring blood pressure, inserting catheters, and starting IVs.
Requirements: There is no requirement for an associate or bachelor’s degree. The program takes an average of 12 months. To become an LPN, you must complete the Practical Nursing Program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination. More information on the Practical Nursing Program can be found here. LPNs may also choose to obtain additional certifications to gain advanced education in a specific area.
Economic insight: LPNs have an average annual salary of $48,070 or $23.11 per hour. The job outlook for LPNs is 6%.
Registered Nurse (RN) Description: Nurses have a wide range of responsibilities, including recording medical history, monitoring patients, assisting with medical equipment, administering medication, and contributing to the development of a care plan. Some nurses may also oversee LPNs and CNAs. Nurses can also choose to specialize in a particular field, such as pediatric nursing, neonatal nursing, or psychiatric nursing.
Requirements: To become an RN, you must complete an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. An Associate’s Degree in Nursing takes an average of 2-3 years, while a Bachelor of Science in Nursing takes an average of 4 years. You must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination. Additional requirements may vary by state; find more information here.
Economic insight: RNs have an average annual salary of $77,600 or $37.31 per hour. The job outlook for RNs is 6%.
Advance Practice Registered Nurse
Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) Description: APRNs are nurses who have earned a Master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice. They can work independently or in collaboration with physicians and have more responsibilities than RNs, including primary responsibility for patient care.
Requirements: To become an APRN, you must complete an accredited MSN or DNP program and earn your degree. A Master of Science in Nursing takes an average of 2-3 years, while a Doctor of Nursing Practice takes an average of 3-4 years. You must also pass a national certification exam in your area of expertise. Requirements may vary by state; find more information here.
Economic Insight: APRNs have an average annual salary of $123,780 or $59.51 per hour. The job outlook for APRNs is 40%.