What Is the Difference Between a MA and LPN?

Many people dream of starting a career in the healthcare industry, and maybe you are one of them. The healthcare field is continuing to grow, and the different types of available jobs are also increasing. When you work in healthcare, you have the chance to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them when they need it most.
With so many different opportunities to starting your healthcare career, it can be challenging to figure it all out. To help you do this, we’re explaining the difference between a medical assistant and a licensed practical nurse. Keep reading to learn more about these healthcare career options!

Career Outlook

Medical assistants have a promising career outlook here in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, medical assistants have a projected growth rate of 19% from 2019 to 2029. This is very high compared to the average growth rate of 4% for all other occupations. This means that employers will need even more qualified and skilled medical assistants in the future to fill open positions.

The BLS estimates the projected growth rate for licensed practical nurses will be 9% for 2019 to 2029. This is also more than the 4% growth rate for all occupations, but not as high as the growth rate for medical assistants. This means that employers will also need skilled and well-trained licensed practical nurses at a higher rate in the future.

Skills Needed

Medical assistants complete both clinical and administrative tasks while on the job, focusing on assessing patients and helping with care and treatment. They need to learn various skills, including performing lab tests, practicing phlebotomy, taking vital signs, assisting with minor surgeries, and performing EKGs.

For those who choose to become a licensed practical nurse, the focus is more on providing basic medical care while working under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses. Skills a licensed practical nurse needs include performing IV therapy, caring for wounds, assisting patients with daily activities, and monitoring medical equipment.

At United, our Practical Nursing program gives students the opportunity to gain valuable experience practicing their skills as they complete their clinicals while in the program. With this valuable hands-on experience, Practical Nursing students are ready for their careers in just one year.

Training Required

To start a career as a medical assistant, you will need to prepare for this specific job via specialized training. Most medical assisting programs are comprised of both classroom instruction and hands-on skills and are completed in under two years. It is also beneficial to choose a Medical Assistant Degree program that will prepare you for professional certifications, as many of today’s healthcare employers prefer certified candidates.

For example, students enrolled in our Medical Assisting program at United learn valuable knowledge in the classroom and practice their hands-on skills in labs and their externship. Additionally, students prepare for professional healthcare certifications, including National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician**.

To become a licensed practical nurse, students are required to complete a state-approved program that can usually be completed in one year. Students are trained in areas like nursing, pharmacology, and biology. After graduating from a practical nursing program, students must take the NCLEX-PN° exam and pass to be employed as a licensed practical nurse in their state.

Work Environment

According to BLS data, 57% of medical assistants work in a physician’s office, and 15% work in hospitals. The remainder of medical assistants works in outpatient care centers and at chiropractors. Most medical assisting positions are full-time with a 40 -hour workweek. Those who choose to work in healthcare facilities that are open all the time, like hospitals, for example, may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Licensed practical nurses are more likely to work in nursing and residential care facilities, with 38% working there, 15% working in hospitals, 13% in physicians’ offices, 13% in-home healthcare services, and 6% in government, according to BLS data. LPNs are required to be on their feet for a lot of the workday, and they need the ability to lift patients who cannot care for themselves. Due to the type of healthcare facilities they work in, many practical nurses must work nights, weekends, and holidays.

Now that you have a good understanding of the difference between medical assistants and licensed practical nurses, you can decide on the best way to start your healthcare career!

Explore our healthcare training programs in Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Practical Nursing today. Request information now to start your dream healthcare career!

 

°Passing the NCLEX – PN exam is required to become a Practical Nurse.

*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam. Required/included in tuition/fees.

**Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam. Optional at own expense.

 

What’s the Difference Between a CNA and MA?

Many people want to start a career in the healthcare field, and for a good reason. The healthcare industry continues to grow rapidly, and the variety of jobs available is expanding as well. Working in healthcare also gives you the chance to help people and make a difference in their lives when they need it most.

There are so many opportunities to begin a healthcare career that it can be confusing to try and figure it out on your own. With this in mind, we’re going to help by explaining the difference between a certified nursing assistant and a medical assistant.

Career Outlook


The career outlook for medical assistants is promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth rate for medical assistants in the United States from 2019-2029 is 19%, well above the 4% average growth rate for all occupations. This means that there will be even more medical assistants needed in the future, and employers will need qualified people to fill these positions.

For certified nursing assistants in the United States, the BLS estimates that the growth rate will be 8% between 2019 and 2029. This is still more than the average rate of 4% but not anywhere near as high as the growth rate for medical assistants.

Skills Required

Medical assistants perform various duties while on the job, including both clinical and administrative tasks that focus on assessing patients and helping doctors with patient care and treatment. Skills a medical assistant needs to learn include taking vital signs, helping with examinations, giving injections, preparing lab tests, and handling patient information.

At United, medical assisting students have the opportunity to practice their hands-on skills in a real healthcare setting as part of an externship. This real-world experience sets students up for success as they begin applying for jobs and start their careers.

Certified nursing assistants focus more on direct patient care and help with daily living activities. Performing baths and cleaning patients, helping patients get dressed and use the bathroom, moving patients between beds and wheelchairs, feeding patients, and changing linens are all common necessary skills of certified nursing assistants.

Training Needed

To start a career in medical assisting, you will need specialized training that prepares you for this specific job. Most medical assisting degree programs can be completed in under two years and include classroom instruction and hands-on skills. It’s also a good idea to choose a medical assistant program that includes preparation for professional certifications, as many employers prefer candidates who have these credentials.

For example, in our Medical Assisting program here at United, students learn valuable knowledge and practice their hands-on skills in their medical assisting classes, labs, and externship. Students also prepare for healthcare certifications specific to being a medical assistant, including the National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician** certifications.

To become a certified nursing assistant, specialized training is required for this career path, and it is usually completed in under six months. The training must be state-approved and typically teaches direct patient care, patient safety, and documentation. CNAs must also pass a competency exam and complete a number of hours of hands-on clinical training, which varies by state.

Work Environment

According to BLS data, medical assistants are most likely to work in physician’s offices, with 57% employed there in 2019. Another 15% is working in hospitals, and the rest in outpatient care centers and at chiropractors. Most medical assistants are full-time employees with 40-hour workweeks. Medical assisting professionals who work in medical facilities that are always open, like hospitals, may work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

According to the BLS, certified nursing assistants are more likely to work in nursing care facilities, with 37% working there, and hospitals, with 27% working there. The remainder of nursing assistants work in retirement and assisted living facilities, home healthcare services, and government. The job duties are more physically demanding and strenuous, as CNAs are on their feet a lot of the time and expected to lift over 50 pounds. Most certified nursing assistants work full time, but some work part-time. They may work longer shifts and more on nights, weekends, and holidays.

Get Started

Now you know the difference between medical assistants and certified nursing assistants! If you’ve decided to go with medical assisting for your career, we may have the perfect Medical Assisting program for you. With hands-on training, academic support, and career services, we can help you reach your career goals. Request information today to get started!

 

*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam. Required/included in tuition/fees.

*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam. Optional at own expense.

How To Start Your Journey
To Become a Medical Assistant

You have chosen the best career path for you and decided to become a medical assistant. Congratulations on making this important decision for a new medical assisting career!

After deciding on your dream job, you’re now ready to create a plan to get you there. In today’s modern healthcare industry, many medical employers require candidates to have specific education, skills, experience, and certifications to qualify for medical assistant positions.

Healthcare employers need well-trained and qualified medical assisting professionals because they are important members of the medical team, providing hands-on patient care.

At United Career Institute, we know the steps you must take to start your journey to become a medical assistant. Keep reading as we share them with you!

Enroll in a Medical Assisting Degree Program

Each member of the healthcare team must be trained in the specific tasks they will be performing while on the job, as healthcare jobs are more specialized now than in the past. When medical professionals are well-trained and knowledgeable in their specialized area, it ensures patients will have a positive experience and receive high-quality care.

As healthcare employers need candidates who have completed specialized training, those who attend a healthcare training program designed for their specific position have an advantage over others. Since you have decided to become a medical assistant, enrolling in a medical assisting degree program that provides you with the knowledge and skills needed is the best option to start your journey to your exciting new career.

At United Career Institute, our Medical Assisting program prepares students to succeed in this exciting career path. After completing their medical assisting classes, students can qualify for jobs in healthcare facilities like hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, long-term care facilities, and more.

Learn Hands-On Skills and Gain Experience

As students complete their medical assisting degree program, they also need to learn and practice the hands-on skills that medical assistants perform while on the job. At some point in our lives, we have probably all interacted with a medical assistant at a healthcare facility, so you know how important it is that these valuable professionals are well trained. You would not want someone performing a phlebotomy procedure on you who had never done it before. It’s essential for medical assistants to learn and practice hands-on skills in their medical assisting courses.

For students attending United’s Medical Assisting degree program, they learn a variety of hands-on skills including assisting with exams, collecting and processing medical specimens, performing lab tests, practicing phlebotomy, performing EKGs, and many more.

While enrolled in their medical assisting classes at United, students also have the opportunity to complete an externship and gain experience in real-world healthcare situations. This valuable medical externship provides hands-on experience, setting you up for success as you begin your new career. Adding this real-world experience to your resume can give you an advantage over other candidates as you apply for medical assisting positions.

Prepare for Industry Certifications

In addition to needing the relevant knowledge, skills, and experience, many healthcare employers also prefer medical assisting professionals who are certified. When you earn professional certifications, employers know you have the skills to perform your specific job.

Healthcare industry organizations create certifications to set specific standards for the knowledge and skills that someone must have to complete specific job tasks. Employers know that job candidates who have earned professional healthcare certifications have met these high-quality standards. For this reason, candidates who hold industry certifications stand out among the crowd, because they have the qualifications to get the job done.

Students enrolled in our Medical Assisting program will prepare to sit for multiple certifications from the National Healthcareer Association, including National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician**. These valuable healthcare certifications show that you have the knowledge and skills to excel in your medical assisting career.

Start Your Journey Today With United

You’re now ready to get started on your journey to become a medical assistant. Deciding on a medical assisting training program that offers the right combination of education, skills, experience, and certifications can be a tough decision. If you have questions or need help taking that next step, let our friendly admissions advisors at United help you create a customized plan just for you.

With a WE CARE approach to education, small class sizes, student support, and career services, United may be the perfect place to start your journey to become a medical assistant.

Request information to chat with one of our helpful admissions advisors today!

 

*Certification is contingent on passing the corresponding certification exam. Required/included in tuition/fees.

**Certification is contingent on passing the corresponding certification exam. Optional at own expense.

The Value of Fast Track Training

Do you want to start your career and get into your dream job faster? Want to take classes that teach exactly what you need to know for future jobs? Don’t want to waste four to six years in school? Then fast track career training may be perfect for you!

Fast track programs give students the opportunity to start their careers more quickly, earn valuable certifications, have increased flexibility, and take advantage of expanded career opportunities.

Read on as we share exactly why fast track training is so valuable!

Put Your Career On The Fast Track

Enrolling in a fast track training program enables students to start their careers more quickly than those who spend four to six years attending a traditional university. This gives students a head start in their careers because they can gain experience and start earning an income sooner.

The Value of Fast Track Training

Fast track training programs take less time for students to complete, and therefore, they are more career focused. This means that students don’t have to take general classes that don’t apply to their careers.

At  United Career Institute, our fast track career training programs can be completed in as little as 18 months, and students take the exact classes needed for their careers, because who wants to spend hours in classes they will never use?

Earn Hands-On Certifications

More and more, healthcare employers prefer that job candidates have professional certifications that are specific to the job in which they are applying. When students earn certifications offered by third-party organizations, it lets employers know that the students have the hands-on skills and experience necessary to complete the job.

Another advantage to fast track career training at United is that students have the opportunity to prepare and sit for professional certification tests as part of their program. In the Medical Assisting program, students prepare for the National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, Certified EKG Technician, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician certification tests.

As part of our Medical Office Administration program, students prepare for the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant, Certified Billing and Coding Specialist, and Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist certification tests.

Increased Flexibility

For students who must balance work, family, and personal responsibilities while attending school, fast track career training offers the increased flexibility they need. Since students take the exact classes necessary for their careers, they have more time for everything else.

The ability to balance other responsibilities while attending a fast track training program can make a positive impact in the lives of students by allowing them to continue working and spending more time with family while completing their program.

Expanded Career Opportunities

Completing a fast track career training program and earning numerous professional certifications sets students up for success by providing them with expanded career opportunities. It shows prospective employers that you’re willing to work hard to meet your goals and can get the job done.

When applying for jobs, candidates who have completed career training and earned professional certifications stand out over those who have not. At United, our fast track training programs prepare students for actual careers, and we are committed to empowering each and every student to succeed.

Ready to Get Started?

With fast track career training programs, personalized attention, small class sizes, and career services, United is here to help you get into your dream job faster! Are you ready to make the move and put your career on the fast track? Request information or call 724-515-2440 now to get started!