Nursing Degree

How to Become a Nurse and What to Expect

Working in the healthcare field is a demanding but rewarding occupation. To thrive in the field, nurses need to have a passion for the work and helping others.

But it takes more than just vigorous passion to become a nurse. Marion Technical College’s nursing programs prepare students with the tools to succeed in the ever-growing healthcare field.

The college offers nursing assistant and practical nursing programs. While these programs sound similar, they are actually very different in job responsibilities and training requirements. Here we will discuss the differences between becoming a nursing assistant and a practical nurse and the program layout as well as job prospects.

Job Responsibilities

CNAs work under a nurse and help provide basic care for patients as well as assist with daily routines. LPNs work under registered nurses and doctors and, just like CNAs, also help provide basic care to patients.

Training Requirements

The nursing assistant (CNA) program consists of one class, which lasts for 120 hours over 10 weeks. The program combines classroom lecture and hands-on, clinical experience in local facilities. A minimum of 40 hours clinical are required for nursing assistant certification, 20 of which must be completed in a licensed nursing home. Upon completion of the course, students will earn a certificate of completion in nursing assisting and will be eligible to take the state nursing assistant examination.

One the other hand, the practical nursing (LPN) program consists of five classes which lasts for 1,350 hours over 43 weeks. The program combines lecture and hands-on experience in a nursing lab and clinical externship at local hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers and ambulatory clinics. When students finish the course, they will earn a certificate of completion in practical nursing and will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.

Employment Outlook

As the baby-boomer population starts to age, the need for LPNs and CNAs continues to increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that from 2016 to 2026 the employment of licensed practical nurses will grow by 12 percent, and the employment of nursing assistants will grow by 11 percent.

If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, luck is in your favor. This growth rate is way above the average for all occupations, which is at 7 percent. On top of that, the rise in elderly patients means more job openings for both CNAs and LPNs, especially in resident care facilities and home health environments.

Are you ready to take the next steps and start on the path towards a nursing degree? The next nursing assistant program starts March 26, 2018, and the next practical nursing program starts July 2018. All students who plan to enroll are required to attend an information session on March 19, 2018. For more information, call Marion Technical College at (352) 671-7200, or browse the program online