The Career Path from CNA to RN: Roles & Responsibilities

NursingMarch 13, 2023

Are you a certified nursing aide (CNA) ready to go to the next level in your nursing career? In New York, this position is called “certified nursing aide,” but if you received your CNA education in another state, you might be more familiar with “certified nursing assistant.” 

Or maybe you don’t have your CNA education yet, but for now you’ve decided the CNA path is the best option for you—with the goal of leveling up someday. Here’s what to know about the path from CNA to registered nurse (RN) at St. Paul’s School of Nursing.  

What Does a CNA Do? 

It’s not uncommon for someone interested in nursing to pursue their CNA certification as a starting point. CNAs often work in the same places as PNs or RNs, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, and clinics, but their duties are more limited due to their limited training and education as compared to nurses. Typically, CNAs help their patients with the nonmedical basics, like bathing, dressing, and eating. They also handle some medical tasks such as taking a patient’s temperature, weight, or blood pressure.

Other nurses may handle tasks like bathing and dressing, too, but they have more job flexibility and responsibility than CNAs due to their higher level of training. The desire for increased responsibility is often the reason someone with a CNA certification decides to go back to school to be able to advance their career path in healthcare. 

What is the Career Path to Becoming an RN?

Your CNA coursework will help you hit the ground running in an RN program, but it doesn’t count toward your credit load for the nursing program at St Paul’s School of Nursing. However, if you’re already working as a CNA, you may have a good idea of the type of nursing you would like to do, including a possible specialty, and that can cut down on career exploration time. 

If you already have your PN license, and you want to level up to your Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), St. Paul’s offers this pathway at both its campuses—one on Staten Island and one in Queens. However, it does not offer a PN program.     

ADN students graduate on the path to becoming registered nurses. After you complete your ADN coursework at St. Paul’s, you will be scheduled to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Once you pass the NCLEX-RN, you will become a Registered Nurse and you will be ready to work in a medical setting as an RN. 

Give us a call if you’d like to speak with a St. Paul’s School of Nursing career advisor. They can explain the process for reviewing your previous education experience to see if you can receive credits and discuss the possible career pathway to getting the nursing education you need for your Associate Degree in Nursing and RN licensure. Call us today at (855) 822-3018 to speak to one of our career advisors.