HELP! i need to know which path is faster/better to becoming an RN.


hi there! i have a HUGE dilemma right now and hoping you ladies can help. im currently 19 yrs old, and attending nassau community college and its only my second semester. I want to become an RN and then get my MSN. Sadly im not doing so well in college but im struggling to do my best. Im planning to do an EKG tech program that is for 5 weeks for now since im still in college and plan to continue school even when i complete the program. im taking this course simply because i need a job that pays decent and since its in the medical field i want to give it a try. I was looking into CNA courses but its a low pay job (all my respects to CNA's). My uncle told me to complete an LPN program that is maybe about 7 months -1 yr and then move on to RN. But i dont know if i should take the LPN program now instead of the EKG tech, OR take the EKG tech class now for 5 weeks so i can get a reliable job and then move on to an LPN course?? Also i dont want to continue school and do as bad as i am now, is there a smoother transition or a better way for RN??? Years of study difference for LPN or RN?? i see all these ads for LPN to RN but i dont know what it is exactly?? PLEASE HELP ME!


182 Posts

Specializes in MedSurg, Clinic, ER. Has 7 years experience.

It depends entirely on the school you intend to study at. Most LPN/LVN programs I've heard of are 12-18 months and involve simultaneous classroom/lab and clinical study.

Transition programs to RN-ADN are generally 2 or 3 semesters (approximately 12 months) after graduation and licensure as an LVN.

Depending on the school, both programs may have pre-requisites and waiting lists to deal with that may make the process take longer than that.

Direct-entry ADN programs generally have longer waiting lists, but not always. Pre-requisite classes may or may not be required.

Transition to RN-BSN or Direct-entry BSN programs are usually 2-4 years (depending on the program) on top of ADN completion and licensure.

There is no real quick fix... if you need to work in school, I recommend working in a health care related field simply for the familiarity and comfort with patient care that will develop over time. CNA or EKG tech would be a good start... but I can't imagine the pay will be that much different between the two. CNA might offer more choices in employment depending on your region.

Hope this helps.


634 Posts

Specializes in ICU. Has 1 years experience.

Honestly, when I got promoted from CNA to EKG tech, I got a $.50 an hour raise. That's it. I was still making under $10.00/hour (in Oklahoma). And there are only 3 EKG techs (and 4 monitor techs) in my whole hospital, as opposed to about 100 CNAs - so not a lot of job opportunities for EKG. There hasn't been an opening in EKG at my facility since the one I filled 2 years ago. Make sure there are job opportunities in EKG in your area before investing the time and money in a program - you don't want to get done and then not be able to find a job.

Also - 5 weeks for EKG training seems like overkill to me. Do they also teach you other advanced skills like blood draws and foleys? If not, you might want to look at some other options...something to make you more marketable.


270 Posts

Specializes in LTC, AL, Corrections, Home health. Has 3 years experience.

EKG tech jobs tend to be few and far between, so you might want to check out the market in your area. Remember that whether you are doing nursing or anything else, getting the education does not guarentee you a job, not by a long shot. And at least in my area the pay isn't much better than a PCT/CNA. If your ultimate goal is to be an RN, having an ECG tech certification will not decrease the amount of time you have to spend in school. If you do LPN, which takes a minimum of 2 semesters full time (at least nine months) sometimes longer, then going back for your RN, associates degree, can be done in as little as two semesters or a year. So for those anxious to be able to support themselves and pay for the rest of their education that is the best route; it is what I have done myself. The issue is that it may only take a year of full time study to get your LPN, but keep in mind it is very intense, all most all consuming (major sacrifice), plus programs (even LPN) have become incredibly competitive so not everyone gets in the first time they apply; it's a good idea to apply to more than one school. In general LPN programs are less competitive than RN programs, but at the end of the day there is no short cut! The other thing to consider is that nowadays nearly all schools, particularly public schools (which are more likely to be accredited, have better pass rates, and are way cheaper) require that you take a few general education courses (like anatomy& physiology, psychology and/or human development) prior to being eligible for admission into the LPN program, and at least in my state nearly all LPN programs and two year RN program require that you have your CNA, as those are that same skills reviewed in the very begining of nursing school. So I would suggest that you seek guidance from your school couselor as to the best plan of action to help you reach your goals and be a good nursing applicant.