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.

 

Shawn Hull – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce you to our May Student of the Month, Shawn Hull! Shawn is a Medical Billing and Coding student and has been with us for almost a year. Since he stepped foot into this building, he has been a joy to be around!

Prior to attending United, Shawn served in the Air Force and then attended Triangle Tech. While some discouraged him from attending school at that point, he persevered and used their doubt as motivation to reach his goals. He says, “After I retired from the Air Force, I attended Triangle Tech and received my Associate in Specialized Technology Degree in Refrigeration, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. Even though it had been many years since I attended high school, I took the opportunity to further my education to provide better for my family. When I first started talking about going back to school, there were some that said I was crazy and that I would be lucky if I graduate. That’s all it took, and two years later, I graduated first in my class with a 3.52 GPA.” Shawn worked as an HVAC installer for a local heating and air conditioning company before he decided to return to school again.

When Shawn began looking into schools where he could continue his education, he couldn’t ignore all the great things he heard about United Career Institute. “I had friends and family members who attended and graduated from United and heard nothing but great things about the school [and] its curriculum and staff. United’s reputation was hard to ignore, which made my decision to attend United a no-brainer,” he says.

Shawn is part of United’s Medical Billing and Coding program. His interest in this particular program comes from his desire to be in the healthcare field but his aversion to needles. He says, “There has always been a part of me that wanted to be a part of the healthcare field. I choose the Medical Billing and Coding program because, like I said a part of me always wanted to be a part of the healthcare field. The truth is I’m not a big fan of needles. I don’t like getting poked and I wouldn’t want to do that to someone else. That’s why I decided to go the office route.”

The small class sizes and attentiveness of faculty and staff are some of Shawn’s favorite parts of attending United. “I really like the small class size. It gives the teachers the ability to pass on all the information we need to succeed with less distractions than you would have with larger classes.” While Shawn thinks all of the faculty and staff at United are “awesome,” one instructor in particular stood out to him because of how welcoming she was. “I can’t say that I have a favorite. All the teachers and staff are awesome. They are always available if you need them. Whether it be before class or after, they always make themselves available. There is one, however, that comes to mind more than the others, Jade Teets. The first day of classes, Jade made me feel very comfortable, especially since I am the only guy in the school and all my new classmates are young enough to be my daughters.”

Shawn had a little less trouble selecting his favorite classes… “As far as my favorite class I would have to say first the coding classes and then Anatomy and Physiology. The coding class because that’s going to be a big part of my new career. A&P is just a very interesting area, and I learn something new every class. Not too bad for a 51-year old that thought he knew it all.”

After Shawn graduates, he hopes to work in a family practitioner’s office, though he says he would be happy in just about any healthcare setting!

In five years, Shawn wants what many people want…to be comfortable in his career. “In five years, I’ll be that much closer to retiring, again, but I see myself finally having a career that I feel comfortable in and enjoy as much as I did my Air Force career,” he said.

Shawn says he would absolutely recommend United Career Institute to a friend! “I don’t think there is another medical career institute around that can touch the personable and professional environment that United has. The staff are in a category of their own when it comes to secondary education. From admissions to financial aid to teachers they all are second to none. Knowing now how professional everyone is here at United, tells me I made the right and only decision to attend United Career Institute to finally fulfill my dream.”

United Career Institute is lucky to have a student as dedicated as Shawn! If your story sounds like his, request information here!

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.

Why You Should Choose a Direct Admission Practical Nursing Program

Are you dreaming of a career in nursing but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re considering a career in healthcare, and practical nursing is one of your options. Whatever your circumstances are, a direct admission practical nursing program can be an excellent choice for you!

Employers are consistently hiring new nurses, making this a great career choice for entering the healthcare field. As more people have access to healthcare services and the baby boomer generation continues to age, the demand for nurses is projected to continue increasing.

With so many different options available for becoming a nurse, where do you begin this journey? A direct admission practical nursing program has many benefits and advantages. Check out our top reasons below on why you should choose a direct admission practical nursing program!

Start Nursing Courses Immediately


One of the main benefits of enrolling in a direct admission practical nursing program is that you will also immediately begin completing your nursing courses as soon as you start the nursing program. You don’t have to wait years, taking general education classes, before you’re accepted into a nursing program. In a direct admission program, you’re accepted “directly” into the Practical Nursing program.

When you choose a program that allows you to start your nursing classes right away, it gives you a lead over people who enroll in a traditional nursing program. You learn critical knowledge and hands-on skills immediately as you jump right into your nursing courses, setting you up to make a meaningful impact in your patient’s lives when you begin your new nursing career.

Take Exact Classes Needed

Most nursing programs that are not direct admission require you to take two years of general education classes, but you can avoid this when choosing a direct admission practical nursing program. This means that you don’t have to take courses that are not related to nursing and instead, you take the exact classes you need. By avoiding classes you don’t need, you save money and time.

At United, we designed our direct admission Practical Nursing program to get you on the fast-track to becoming a nurse. You begin nursing classes immediately and are trained in critical areas, including conducting physical assessments, caring for wounds, monitoring vital signs, and performing routine lab tests.

Graduate In Less Time

When you start your nursing courses right away and take only the classes you need to succeed as a nurse, you complete your courses quicker and graduate sooner. It can take four years or more to finish a nursing program and graduate from a traditional nursing school. If you don’t want to spend that much time and money attending school, a direct admission practical nursing program could be an excellent option for you.

Another reason traditional nursing programs are not as quick is there’s no guarantee you will be accepted into their nursing program. You could spend years taking prerequisites and general education classes and still never be accepted into the program.

Begin Your Career Sooner

When you choose a direct admission nursing program that accepts you right away, allowing you to begin your nursing courses immediately, you can start your nursing career much sooner. This can have a positive impact on your career now and in the future. By starting your career as a nurse quicker, you get to earn money and gain experience faster. When you choose this option, you will be years ahead of those who enroll in traditional nursing programs.

At United, our direct admission Practical Nursing program was created with one goal in mind: to train and prepare you for a nursing career in only 12 months. Our program is designed to give you the education, skills, and experience required to succeed in your nursing career. While enrolled in your nursing classes, you prepare for the NCLEX-PN* exam and have the opportunity to complete your clinicals at a variety of local healthcare facilities.

If you’re ready to take the next step toward achieving your goal of becoming a nurse and want a direct admission program that gets you on the fast-track to your new career, request information today!

 

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

Karen Mayle – Student Highlight

Karen Mayle is a medical assisting student at United Career Institute. This is the first post-secondary school she’s attended. Before she decided to come back to school at United, Karen was working at a restaurant and had been laid off due to circumstances of Covid-19.

Karen chose United Career Institute as her school because she has a daughter who also attends school here. While talking to her daughter about going back to school for healthcare, she told her about what United Career Institute has to offer. She gave Karen the contact information for Kathy Coddington, who works in admissions, and Karen started down the enrollment path.

Karen is a student in the Medical Assisting program, and when asked why she chose this field, she said, “I have always found myself falling back into the healthcare field. I considered the skills I already had in the healthcare field and put that together with the fact that I like working with computers and working with people.” So, being an MA was a “no-brainer” for Karen.

When asked who her favorite teacher is, she couldn’t choose just one. She says, “Rachel, and the way she always makes sure everyone is included. Jade, with her teaching techniques and offerings of tutoring all the time. Kelli is ‘straight to the point’ with things and tells you how things are going to happen so you know what to expect.” She also loves how all of the instructors take their time to make sure they talk with their students about everything, not just schoolwork, even if they aren’t that student’s advisor.

Karen’s ideal job is working in a hospital or doctor’s office as a medical assistant. Within the next five years, she wants to be worry free of financial burdens. She doesn’t want to worry about things from pay to pay. “Things like that are difficult for a single mom,” she says. “I think, once I graduate from UCI, I will be able to accomplish that goal.”

Karen’s favorite part about attending United Career Institute is the people. She says, “Everyone there is great. All the instructors and other staff are very helpful with everything.”

When asked about whether or not she would refer United Career Institute to a friend, she said, “Yes I would. People at UCI are great!”

To learn more about United’s healthcare programs, request information here!

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.

Meet the New United Fayette County Campus

We’re so excited to announce that Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Technology is now United Career Institute – Fayette County!

Meet the New United Fayette County Campus

As the new United Fayette County campus, we pledge to work with our community, local employers, students, and graduates to enable trained professionals to provide skilled service and care to the local community.

Our purpose is to empower change by creating opportunity, and we will continue this rich tradition under the new United Career Institute name.

“Our promise at the new United Fayette County Campus is to encourage and empower students to meet their full potential, enabling them to succeed in their careers and make an impact on our local community,” said Pam Hughes, Nursing Director at United Career Institute – Fayette County.

As experts in educating professionals, we train students in the hands-on skills and valuable knowledge needed to meet the needs of local healthcare employers and patients.

With our WE CARE approach to education, students are given the support and tools necessary to succeed. We believe in building a relationship with each and every student because at United Fayette County, you’re a person, and not just a number in a crowd.

Meet the New United Fayette County Campus

We help prepare students to succeed in their careers by providing valuable resources such as academic advising, career advising, and personal advising.

Designed with a personalized approach to learning in mind, we offer small class sizes and one-on-one attention to enable each student to thrive.

Helping students create a career development plan, offering a career prep course, providing resume and cover letter development help, and offering externships and job placement assistance are some of the valuable career services we provide.

At United Career Institute – Fayette County, our career training programs prepare students for successful careers in the healthcare field at facilities like hospitals, doctor’s offices, labs, and more. We offer Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Office Administration programs designed to meet the needs of healthcare employers.

Ready to get into your dream career with our fast track career training? Request information or call us at 724-437-4600 to get started today!