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.

 

Career Services at United

Career services at United Career Institute assist students with their experience while giving them the edge they’ll need for future job prospects. Whether you’re a traditional or nontraditional student, returning to school, or just starting your journey, United’s career services are here for you.

We are committed to helping you achieve your goals, which is why we offer career readiness, professional development, and continuing assistance to all of our students.

Career Readiness

Interviewing for your dream job can be intimidating and overwhelming, which is why students are given the opportunity to participate in mock interviews before graduation. Practicing and polishing your interviewing skills helps you gain the confidence needed to stand out from others in actual interviews who may be applying for the same job as you.

United maintains partnerships with a network of local employers where students can gain hands-on experience in real-world settings through externships or clinicals, depending on your program. The skills and knowledge you acquire during this experience will benefit you when added to your resume and LinkedIn profile.

The assistance of career services goes beyond the classroom. We take great pride in helping employers find qualified candidates for open positions while simultaneously helping our students with job placement as they begin their careers.

Professional Development

At United, we have a team ready to assist all students with professional development. From admissions to career services to graduation, our team is dedicated to helping you create a plan to achieve your career and financial goals.

Personal and professional branding is essential in today’s job market and can help you stand out among other job applicants. Career services will help you create individualized branding tailored just for you.

We will help you create a LinkedIn profile showcasing your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience to prospective employers. Volunteer work, externships, and special projects may be added to demonstrate your value as an employee.

Career services will also help you prepare professional documents like cover letters, resumes, thank you notes, references, and letters of recommendation. These documents are often the first impression an employer has of you as a potential employee and should be error-free and professional-looking.

Continuing Assistance

Our enthusiasm for your success doesn’t end once you graduate. We’ll still be here to give you continued guidance throughout your career. You’ll have access to courses that keep you up to date in your chosen career. For example, you’ve earned a degree in Medical Assisting from United, and a few years later, you must learn a new technique. Career services can assist you with learning about and understanding the new procedure.

Additionally, your career goals may change over time, so with that in mind, United offers career advising to all alumni because we want you to succeed now and in the future.

Apply Today

When you choose United, you receive hands-on training as you prepare for professional certifications or licenses while earning your degree.

Applications are now being accepted for fall classes! Check out our career-focused degree programs in Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Practical Nursing. Request information now to get started on your path to a new career!

Abby Dorogi – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce you to our June Student of the Month, Practical Nursing student, Abby Dorogi!

Before attending United’s Practical Nursing program, Abby was working full time to prepare for nursing school. “I really wanted to just focus on school with no other responsibilities,” she said.

Abby chose United because she was drawn to the hands-on experience she observed while on her tour with Admissions Advisor Kathy Coddington. She had previously attended two other institutions, but couldn’t find one that offered the hands-on experience she was looking for until she found United!

Abby chose the Practical Nursing program at United because it was fast in addition to being hands-on! “I wanted to get into the field as soon as possible,” she said. The Practical Nursing program at United is only 12 months long, allowing students to quickly get trained in the nursing field!

In addition to the hands-on experience and short program length, Abby really enjoys the small class sizes at United. “The small class size provides more opportunity for success.” She also likes the confidence she has gained, knowing that she will be entering the nursing field with the skills she needs to care for patients. Abby’s favorite class is Med-Surg. “I love learning about the different disease processes,” she said.

After she graduates, Abby hopes to work in a doctor’s office or clinic, but she has big hopes for her education as well. She wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing! In five years, she hopes to be a registered nurse and have completed her bachelor’s degree.

Abby says she would recommend United Career Institute to a friend. “I would refer United if you want to receive a fast education and be ready to enter the work field in a short amount of time,” she said.

To learn more about United’s Practical Nursing program, or if your story sounds similar to Abby’s, request information here!

 

The Value of Externships

The Value of Externships

A key component of all United Career Institute medical programs is an externship with local employers. It provides a real world aspect to the program and gives students valuable hands-on experience that enhances the skills they learn in the classroom. Externships also provide students a great opportunity to network with other healthcare professionals in their chosen field and get a good idea of the culture of a given employer. Whether it is a 2 week externship in the Phlebotomy program, or a 12 week externship in the Medical Assisting program, we encourage our students to look at their time during externships at a job interview of sorts. Often times, employers use this time as an opportunity to evaluate both clinical and soft skills and how a potential employee may fit in with the company long term.

While UCI students are on their externship, they obtain career-focused experience such as checking vital signs, point of care testing, specimen collection, phlebotomy, and sterilization procedures.

These valuable externships would not be possible without the support of local employers. United Career Institute Irwin is so thankful that our local employers like Excela Health, Allegheny Health Network, UPMC, and Premier Medical Associates have provided the opportunities for our students to complete this on the job training.