Clinical Laddering in Nursing Education

Nursing is a career field that has several methods of entry to practice. Clinical laddering in nursing education includes starting at beginning levels and then advancing to higher levels of nursing practice through education. Benefits of clinical laddering include the variety of options as well as the flexibility that is available for students. Additionally, laddering allows students to obtain work experience at each level of nursing while advancing their education and career. There are several options for people who currently hold a nursing degree and nearly as many ways to get there, in terms of education, certifications, and specializations.

It is acceptable to practice as CNA, LPN, or ADN; however, there are benefits to furthering your formal nursing education. Primary benefits of higher education include an increase in salary, improved career autonomy, responsibility, and the ability to work in specialty fields.

Mean salaries for a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) can be from $12.79 to $13.09 per hour, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), from $19.25 to $19.53 per hour, a Registered Nurse (RN), from $33.96 to $34.03 per hour, and mean salaries for an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) can be from $45.35 to $77.36 per hour (dependent on specialty field). Reference: United States Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, (2012). State occupational employment and wage estimates Minnesota. Retrieved on March 29, 2013 from

At Alexandria Technical & Community Technical College, the first step in achieving a nursing degree is to obtain your Certified Nursing Assistant certification. Once you have earned that certificate, you are able to apply to the Practical Nursing program. The Associate Degree Nursing program (ADN) is a mobility program, which means you must be a Licensed Practical Nurse to apply for the ADN program.

Each nursing program at the college has specific requirements. Follow the links to learn more.