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.

 

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.

Medical Assisting Training Teaches Hands-On Skills for Blood Pressure Procedure

Students in the Medical Assisting program at United Career Institute receive hands-on medical assisting training learning the proper procedure to take a patient’s blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the pressure or force of blood pushing on the walls of blood vessels. As your heart beats, it pumps blood through your arteries, and this is how most of the pressure is created.

A patient’s blood pressure is expressed with two numbers, systolic pressure on the top and diastolic pressure on the bottom. The systolic pressure is the amount of pressure in your arteries as your heart muscle contracts, and the diastolic pressure is the pressure between the beats of your heart muscle.

When a patient’s blood pressure is measured, it reveals information about the person’s heart health. If blood pressure readings are high, the patient may be diagnosed with high blood pressure,  or hypertension. This condition can lead to serious health issues, such as a heart attack or stroke.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and healthy eating can help prevent high blood pressure in many patients.

With the potential for such serious medical issues, accurately measuring a patient’s blood pressure is an essential task for medical assistants to learn. While enrolled in the Medical Assisting training program at United, students practice this valuable hands-on skill in the classroom and in real-world application as part of their externship experience.

Medical assisting students also prepare to sit for professional healthcare certifications* that show potential employers you have the skills to get the job done. Gaining valuable healthcare certifications* can make you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs.

After learning the blood pressure procedure and many other valuable hands-on skills while in medical assisting career training at United, students are prepared to start exciting new careers in the healthcare field.

Hospitals, doctor’s offices, and clinics are all examples of healthcare facilities that employ qualified and trained medical assistants.

Ready to make the move into a fulfilling healthcare career? Want to care for patients and support their overall health? Learn more about our Medical Assisting program and get on the fast track to an exciting new career. Request information now to get started!

 

*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam.