How To Get Your Nursing Career Started

Have you ever thought, “I’d love to become a nurse, but I don’t want to spend years in school and go thousands of dollars into debt?”


hat many people don’t realize is that there are two nursing positions on the pathway to becoming a Registered Nurse that provide the opportunity to work in the field sooner, allow a person to make a good income, and minimize the accrual of unnecessary debt. And the greatest benefit – both job roles are in high demand in Southern Utah!

To become a Registered Nurse, you must first become a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA. Once a CNA, a person can become a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN, if they choose. This takes approximately one year of additional schooling. 

Every nursing student goes through the coursework necessary to become a Practical Nurse, but not everyone chooses to receive the licensure and work as an LPN. These two steps (becoming a CNA and learning everything needed to be an LPN) are on the pathway to becoming a Registered Nurse. This is true regardless of where you choose to go to school for nursing.

At Dixie Technical College, we offer both a Nursing Assistant and Practical Nursing Program at a very reasonable cost. For example, we have an accelerated CNA course that takes as little as four weeks to complete! If a slower pace is better for your circumstances, you can choose from our 8-week or 18-week course. Once certified, many CNA positions make $15 to $20 per hour.

If you are in high school (as young as 16) and want to jumpstart your nursing career, you can attend Dixie Tech and have your tuition expenses waived. Join one of the early morning CNA cohorts and still participate in your regular high school experience. At Dixie Tech, we wanted to create a way to help as many people as possible get into this in-demand field!

To learn more about our CNA program, watch this video clip created by Good Things Utah. Host Amy Dansie came and visited with Dixie Tech Nursing Assisting instructor Jami Griffin about the unique benefits of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant through Dixie Technical College.

Video of ‘Good Things Utah’ discussing the Practical Nursing program at Dixie Tech.

“Becoming a CNA and then LPN are necessary for advancing in the nursing field,” explains Jan Call, a Practical Nursing instructor at Dixie Technical College. “But advancing isn’t a requirement…there are hundreds of jobs available locally for a CNA or LPN as well. These programs can prepare you with the skills you need to work in the field right now, as well as prepare you for a future career in advanced practice, leadership, education, or informatics.”

Many LPN positions start at $24 per hour. Once a person is a Licensed Practical Nurse, they can then transfer to an RN program with one of Dixie Tech’s educational partners and finish one additional year of schooling to become a Registered Nurse. Once an RN, starting wages increase to $30 per hour. 

Dixie Tech’s Practical Nursing Program has connections with Utah Tech, SUU, Weber State, and UVU’s Registered Nursing programs, which can help you transition smoothly to the next step in your nursing career if you choose to go that route.

Students learning about Life Flight at Intermountain Healthcare. Photo courtesy of, Rachel Cortese.

“Being in the Practical Nursing program at Dixie Tech has been a life changing experience for me. I have learned so much over the course of the program and now have the skills, resilience, and confidence to be a nurse. I feel prepared to enter the workforce and start my career.”

-Becca Klindt, Dixie Tech Practical nursing Student ’22

Both the Nursing Assistant and Practical Nursing Programs at Dixie Tech offer affordable, time-efficient instruction with small class sizes. They are hands-on training programs that prepare students to feel at ease in providing first-rate direct patient care.

We are proud of the programs we offer and know our students will be too! Come and see for yourself at our Medical Programs Open House on Thursday, Oct. 27th, from 5 – 7 p.m. at Dixie Tech. Check out our website at, or give us a call at 435-674-8419. Let us help you get your nursing career started!

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