New Year’s is the perfect time to make resolutions. Since you’re already doing such a great job as a CNA, you don’t need to make resolutions to be more compassionate, hard-working and cheerful. Instead, it may be time to think about improving your earning power by going back to school to become an LPN.

LPN or RN?

The first step is to decide whether you plan to become an RN at a later date or prefer to stay at the LPN level. If you might like to advance to an RN degree at some point, you’ll want to choose an associate degree program. If not, join a program in which you will earn a certificate or diploma. It will take less time than a degree, but your studies won’t be recognized by RN programs.

Choose an LPN Program

Next, choose an LPN program in your area which is accredited by your home state. You’ll most likely need a high school diploma in order to be accepted and you may be able to start studying some of the subjects before you officially start school. An LPN program is usually about a year long, depending on how many times a week you take classes. An associate degree may take up to two years.

Take the NCLEX-PN

Once you’ve finished your coursework, you’ll need to take the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses). This exam is required by all 50 states and you need to pass it in order to practice as an LPN. The test is five hours long and includes between 85 and 205 questions. If you don’t pass the first time around, you can retake the test after a waiting period of 45-90 days.

Work as an LPN

After you are certified, you can start work as an LPN. Create a resume and upload to website like the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, LinkedIn and other career-oriented websites. If you’re already working as a CNA, it will be easier to land a job, especially if you stay with the nursing agency you are already working for.

As an LPN, you will be responsible for tasks such as taking and recording patient vitals, answering patients’ questions, administering medications and assembling equipment like catheters, gastrostomy (feeding) tubes and oxygen supplies.

As 2016 comes to a close and 2017 rolls in, think about taking this opportunity to advance your career and become an LPN. If you are a Towne employee, we are happy to recommend programs near your home and workplace and provide advice on the best course of action. We hope you have a new and exciting year!