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.

 

Amber Berdar – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce you to our July Student of the Month, Practical Nursing student, Amber Berdar.

Amber started her journey with United as a student in our Medical Assisting degree program. She said, “I attended United before for the Medical Assisting program, and I had a very good experience. Everyone was very helpful, and you learned a lot of information that helps in the long run.”

Many United students who have long-term dreams of being nurses choose to start their journey in the Medical Assisting program. This program is slower-paced than the Practical Nursing program so that students can gain a base knowledge of the medical field in a less stressful environment. Students can often work while attending school because the United Medical Assisting program is a smaller time commitment than our Practical Nursing program. This was the case with Amber. “I was working at Mount Macrina Manor nursing home as a CNA and went to school for Medical Assisting at United. After I got my MA certification, I got a job at Adagio and worked there full time until it was time for me to start the PN class,” she said.

Amber discovered United when she was still in high school and trying to determine what to do with the rest of her life. “I was at a job fair in Cal U while still in high school, and the school really caught my eye. I took the brochures home and was deciding which program I wanted to do. When I went for a tour of the school, [it]wasn’t too big or too small, and all the people there seemed very kind and inviting when you came in. I just knew that the school was a place for me, and it was going to be a good experience.”

Amber has many family members who work in the medical field, and that is what initially got her interested in a long-term career in healthcare. “All my family is in the medical field, and they encouraged me to go for nursing. But, most importantly, my mother and boyfriend are my biggest support systems, and they are the ones that pushed me to go further, and I’m glad that I made the decision to become a nurse,” she said.

The hands-on clinical experience she gets is Amber’s favorite part of attending United, and her favorite instructor is Danielle. She also really loved her Med Surg class. She said, “This class was very fast-paced and a lot of information, but I loved learning about all the different diseases and disorders that can happen and how to take care of the patients while they are sick.”

Amber’s ideal job after graduation is no surprise, considering how much she loved her fast-paced Med Surg class. “I would like to work as either a trauma nurse, ER nurse, or on the Med Surg floor. I like a fast-paced environment with a lot of things to do,” she said.

In five years, Amber hopes to be working as a trauma nurse in a hospital, but her educations dreams haven’t ended either! “I also see me furthering my education by becoming an RN or going for NP,” she says.

Amber had this to say about her overall experience at United. “I would refer a friend to United because this school is great for someone who wants to be in the medical field but does not want to go to a large college to become a nurse. You get a lot of great education attending this school, and I would want my friend to get the same experience I got.”

To learn more about United’s Practical Nursing program, request information here!

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 Emerging Trend of Skills-Based Learning

According to a LinkedIn research study, the upward trend of skills-based hiring continues to grow in the United States, which has led to another emerging trend of skills-based learning. The benefits of skills-based learning should not be discounted, especially since 77% of hiring professionals in the LinkedIn study stated that they are hiring candidates based on their skills and competencies.

This week at United, we’re sharing all about skills-based learning and the ways you can benefit from it. Read on to find out all about it!

What Is Skills-Based Learning?

Skills-based learning teaches students new concepts and valuable knowledge in the classroom that can then be applied to real-life scenarios. By emphasizing skills and hands-on training, students learn to use the competencies they’ve learned in various situations like externships, hands-on practice, and interactive labs, which can benefit them in their careers.

Why So Much Focus on Skills?

Hiring candidates who already possess the skills required to do the job is more cost-effective for employers, saving them money and time because they don’t have to train new employees. When employers hire qualified candidates who are already trained, they can perform their specific skills from the very first day.

With the ever-increasing advancement of technology, skills-based learning allows individuals to stay updated regarding best practices, trends, and the technology itself in their area of expertise. One example is the nursing field. Nurses must have the latest skills and know-how to apply them in order to efficiently and safely care for their patients.

The skills required for various job markets are always changing. Learning and practicing hands-on skills in the classroom helps bridge the gap between what employers need and the skills students will have when they graduate.

What Are the Benefits of This?

Skills-based learning will benefit students by enabling them to take only the classes needed for their chosen field of study. This allows you to complete your degree in less time because you don’t have to spend years taking general education classes.

Additionally, many students are better suited for learning in a hands-on environment instead of just listening to a lecturer talk. This enables students to learn new skills faster and practice their critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills.

At United, our degree and diploma programs are designed to meet the needs of local employers, so students in our career training classes are prepared for professional, skills-based certifications that are career-specific. As part of their program, students also complete an externship, allowing them to apply the skills they’ve learned in real-life situations. Having the right skills and an externship helps students gain important work experience and is beneficial in helping them stand out when they enter the job market.

How Do You Choose the Right Program?

With so many options available, choosing the right school or training program that offers great skills-based learning can be confusing. United Career Institute makes it easy to find a program that teaches the skills you’ll need for the career you want to pursue. For example, if you’re interested in healthcare and would like to work as a medical assistant, then you’ll need a program that specializes in the skills that medical assistants utilize every day, including performing lab tests, taking vital signs, and drawing blood.

You should also choose a program that includes practical ways to practice your skills while gaining valuable experience, such as interactive labs, hands-on training, an externship experience, and certification or license preparation, which are included in our degree programs here at United.

Are you ready to enroll in a career training program that gives you the hands-on experience and skills-based learning you need to succeed? We are here to help you get started!

Discover our fast-track healthcare training programs in Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Practical Nursing today! Contact us now to start your journey to a great career!

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.

Tammy Kerner – Staff Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is excited to introduce you to our Front Office Manager/Registrar, Tammy Kerner! Tammy started at United in August of 2020 and has quickly become a very valued member of our team!

Tammy’s background is in business administration and she has spent the majority of her career working in the administrative side of offices. “Most of my career I’ve worked in an office environment, working administrative roles. I worked at the Herald Standard Newspaper for 12 years. I managed the store accounts. I worked at BAE systems for 13 years. I was promoted to three different positions while employed there. I started at the front desk with administrative duties. I worked with the material team as their assistant. My last position I held there was in procurement.”

If you were to ask Tammy what she does in a day, the list would go on and on because her responsibilities are varied. Among other things, she is in charge of greeting and checking in students and guests, overseeing attendance submissions, and processing and sending student transcripts. She is also always willing to lend a helping hand for student events, fundraisers, or staff events. This variety keeps her motivated and challenged each day and is part of why she enjoys working at United. “I love variety, and this position offers changes to my everyday workload,” Tammy said.

Some of Tammy’s favorite parts of working at United include working with the staff and talking with the students each morning. She loves to see the students excel and grow! Tammy feels the same way about her passions outside of work. She is very involved with her church, specifically the music team. She is very motivated by her team. “I love watching them learn new music and grow in their talent,” she says.

Tammy’s family is very special to her. When asked what she is most proud of, Tammy said, “My son and daughter, and how they have exceeded in their jobs and how hard they work to achieve their goals.” While Tammy enjoys her work, she hopes to one day retire to spend time with her kids and two grandkids who call her BB.

It is clear that Tammy is passionate about her family and her music team. When asked to share something that others may not know about her, she said, “I love music. I’m a musician and worship leader at my church. I have two grandchildren. They call me BB. I have a passion for helping others when in need.” Tammy’s desire to help people is clear to anybody who interacts with her at United. She is always willing to jump in and help out whenever needed and is always available should a student need something, whether it be copies of something or just an encouraging word! United Career Institute is lucky to have her!

To learn more about the staff at United Career Institute, request information here!

Southwestern Gastrointestinal Specialists – Externship Highlight

United Career Institute is excited to introduce you to one of our externship sites, Southwestern Gastrointestinal Specialists (SWGI).

Southwestern Gastrointestinal Specialists has been in business for 29 years and specializes in helping their patients lose weight. They are a four physician, six physician’s assistant practice, and their goal is to help their patients understand how and why they gain weight so that they can lose it and keep it off. Their services include a structured plan and guidance and support from a personal weight loss coach.

SWGI is happy to share that the climate for their business is good right now. “We are a very busy practice,” says externship site coordinator, Toni Shearer.

The value that United Career Institute students get from an externship with SWGI Specialists is simple, and the thing that all students are looking for from an externship site…hands-on experience.

The United Career Institute externship program doesn’t just offer value to United students; it is also beneficial for the employer partner. “Having students from United creates a good relationship with the school and the community, which helps with recruitment in the future. We have hired several of the students who have externed with us,” says Shearer.

We are happy to report that Shearer believes the five-year business outlook for SWGI Specialists to be very positive, and United is excited to continue building a relationship with this dynamic employer.

Shearer has some excellent advice for students looking to further their education. She says, “Continuing education is always a big decision. It is not the right path for everyone, but if you have the opportunity to further your education, no matter what field you choose, do it. Knowledge is power!”

To learn more about United’s externship program or if you are interested in getting the training you need to work at a place like SWGI Specialists, request information here!

Christmas Giving: How To Give Back During the Holidays

The holidays are here, and that means Christmas music, festive cookies, and tasty food. For many, this is truly the most wonderful time of the year. But for some people who are less fortunate or going through hard times, the holidays can be a real challenge.

This presents us with an opportunity to give back to others during this time of year. Keep reading as we share some ways to help people by giving back during the holidays!

Volunteer Your Time

Giving your time by volunteering is a great way to give back to those who are less fortunate. This year has been especially hard on many people, so now is the perfect time to begin your volunteering journey. Making or serving food at your local food pantry or soup kitchen can help those suffering from food insecurity and hunger.

Volunteering to help make care packages for local families is another great way to donate your time. Nonprofit organizations and churches often prepare and send out holiday care packages, so check with those in your local community to see where you can help.

Since many nursing homes have been unable to see family most of this year due to the pandemic, it’s easy for them to feel alone during the holidays. Check with your local nursing homes to see if you are able to remotely visit people via video calls to lift their spirits during this time. For those of you who are blessed with the gift of song, singing Christmas carols can really bring joy to nursing home residents!

Contribute Food

Many people suffer from hunger and food security issues, so giving food around the holidays is a great way to help others. Gather nonperishable food items like canned goods, pasta, and rice, and take these to your local food banks, shelters, and churches that distribute or serve food to those who need it. Feel free to contact these local organizations before you donate food to see any specific items they need.

Additionally, many employers, schools, and other organizations hold food drives during the holidays to help those who cannot provide holiday meals for themselves or their families. Donating nonperishable items to these food drives can go a long way in helping support your community and those in need.

Give Toys

Donating toys to local toy drives is another common way to spread the Christmas spirit and give back during the holidays. Just think of the smile you could put on the face of a child in need by giving them a toy! Check with children’s hospitals, homeless shelters, and children’s shelters to determine if they have children there currently who will not receive anything for Christmas. Be sure to ask the children’s age, so you can get them an age-appropriate gift they will love!

In addition to donating directly, many local organizations do toy drives around the holidays, and there are also national nonprofits that donate toys to underprivileged children.

Donate Money

Another great way to spread holiday cheer is by donating money directly to organizations and nonprofits that help others. These can be local charities in your community or national groups that serve the whole country. For many nonprofits, you can donate money directly on their website. For those that do not have this option, you can call them to ask how to donate. Some national charity organizations you could donate to include:

In addition to money, you can also donate other items that those less fortunate may need, like clothing and blankets.

Be There For Others

The holidays are the perfect time to spread joy and love, showing the true meaning of Christmas to those around you. Due to the pandemic, many people will be spending Christmas alone and away from family this year. You can make a difference just by being there for others during this time. Reach out to someone who may be alone for the holidays to let them know you care.

Remember, when you give back to others, you are not only bringing joy to them but you as well. Happy Holidays from United Career Institute; we hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Romona Thompson – Graduate Highlight

United Career Institute Mount Braddock is thrilled to introduce you to one of our graduates, Romona Thompson. Romona graduated from our Practical Nursing program and is now working in a nursing center while she works on becoming a registered nurse.

Romona came to United straight from Albert Gallatin high school. She chose United because it seemed like a great opportunity when she was looking for schools. Romona especially loved the hands-on classes that she had heard so much about. United offers students small classes, which not only gives students plenty of hands-on time, but also allows them one on one time with instructors.

Romona has always wanted to be a nurse, so when she was nearing the end of her high school career, she started to look for short-term, hands-on programs. She found what she was looking for at United Career Institute.

In addition to having short term programs, Romona also liked that United helped her through the financial process*. A part of United’s enrollment process is sitting down with a financial aid advisor so that they can help walk you through the financial side of going to school. This includes filling out your FAFSA and answering any questions you may have.

Romona’s favorite part of attending United Career Institute was the hands-on training she received. She also LOVED the annual holiday celebrations, such as room decorating for Halloween, Thanksgiving dinner, and Christmas door decorating!

Romona loved all the instructors she had while attending United’s Practical Nursing program, but two that stood out to her were Amy and Amanda. She said they both had major impacts on her. Her favorite classes while in school were her lab classes because they were a change from normal lecture.

In five years, Romona hopes to be a registered nurse and living in her own house, but for now, is enjoying her time working at Cherry Tree Nursing Center.

When asked if she would refer a friend to United, Romona said she absolutely would because it provides a great experience in the chosen field of study.

If your story sounds like Romona’s and you want to learn more about United Career Institute, request information here!

 

*Financial aid for those who qualify.