Hello everyone, welcome to an eye-opening article comparing LPN vs MA.
By reading this post to the end, we certify that you will have a more transparent understanding of the Licensed Practical Nurse and Medical Assistant career paths, their differences, similarities, and significance.
Ultimately, this article covers the following:
Let’s dive right in!
Nursing is likely at the top of your list if you’re looking for a fascinating job in the healthcare area that allows you to serve others.
However, you should be aware of many various degrees of nursing to make an informed decision that will have a huge impact on your future.
Starting with medical assistants (MA) and licensed practical nurses (LPN) is excellent.
Many students may not be aware of the differences between a medical assistant and a licensed practical nurse (LPN) while starting a nursing profession.
While these occupations have some similarities in terms of job responsibilities, there are significant differences in educational requirements, job description, and average salary between a medical assistant and an LPN.
In general, an LPN is responsible for providing direct patient care under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or physician.
Whereas a medical assistant is responsible for administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, preparing insurance paperwork, and basic clinical tasks such as taking a patient’s vital signs.
Another distinction between medical assistants and LPNs is their work environment and hours.
Many medical assistants work regular daytime hours in physician’s offices or ambulatory clinics, whereas LPNs work various hours and shifts in hospitals, nursing homes, and even patients’ homes.
LPN vs MA, what’s the difference?
LPN vs MA Job Duties
Medical assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) do many of the same responsibilities daily, including basic patient care under the supervision of an RN or physician.
These responsibilities include:
- Performing a vital sign check on a patient
- Obtaining information about the patient’s symptoms and medical history
- Vaccinations and medicine administration
- Obtaining samples (e.g., urine, blood, etc.)
While LPNs and medical assistants perform many of the same activities, LPNs provide more in-depth patient care, especially for patients who require long-term care, such as those in nursing homes.
Medical assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are important parts of the medical care team, providing crucial support to ensure that patients receive high-quality, efficient care.
While the two jobs have some similarities in basic responsibilities, the medical assistant provides additional administrative support to a physician or clinic, while the LPN provides greater hands-on patient care.
The LPN also performs the following tasks under the direction of an RN:
- Assists in the treatment of wounds
- Assists patients with daily activities such as showering, dressing, and using the bathroom
- Cares for and inserts the urinary catheters
- Cares for patients on ventilators and tracheostomy tubes
- Feeds patients using nasogastric or gastrostomy tubes
- Monitors the progress of patients and notifies the proper physicians when necessary
- Performs CPR in an emergency
- Under the supervision of an RN, carries out a nursing care plan
Medical Assistant Duties
In addition to the fundamental patient care activities stated above, medical assistants typically do administrative tasks to maintain the effective and seamless operation of a physician’s office or clinic.
The following are some examples of administrative responsibilities:
- Obtaining insurance information from a patient
- Filling out patient forms and insurance documentation
- Making patient appointments, greeting patients, answering phones, filing medical records, and other administrative tasks are all part of the job.
- Tasks such as bookkeeping and medical billing
- Equipment for patient examinations and treatments that needs to be sterilized
LPN vs Medical Assistant Annual Salary
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for medical assistants was $37,500 in May 2021, compared to $47,500 for LPNs.
Geographic location, type of company, years of experience, and education level are all factors that may influence income levels in both of these professions.
For example, a medical assistant or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) may earn more than the national average if they work in an area with a higher cost of living and/or has several years of experience.
LPN Average Salary
The cost of living in a state and the demand for LPN jobs in that location will affect salaries.
The average income for an LPN is over $47,500, with a mean hourly average of $23, according to the 2020-2021 Occupational Outlook Handbook (US Bureau of Labor Statistics), with projected job growth of nearly 8-9% from 2019 to 2030.
Medical Assistant Average Salary
The cost of living in a state and the demand for MA jobs in that location will affect salaries earned.
The average income for a Medical assistant is over $37,500, with a mean hourly average of $15, according to the 2020-2021 Occupational Outlook Handbook (US Bureau of Labor Statistics), with projected job growth of nearly 18-19% from 2019 to 2030.
LPN vs Medical Assistant Education
If you’re thinking about pursuing one of these careers, you might be wondering what kind of education and training you’ll need to get started.
While the educational requirements for both of these jobs are similar, they are not the same.
Medical Assistant Education Requirements
Medical assistant education requirements vary by state, but most need specialized training or completion of a postsecondary medical assisting program.
Individuals with merely a high school diploma and no more education or training may be able to start a career as a medical assistant.
Aspiring medical assistants merely need to identify a physician who is ready to provide on-the-job training in these situations.
On the other hand, employers prefer medical assistants who have finished a rigorous training program.
Medical assistant training programs are available at many community colleges, and technical schools, and they typically last one to two years.
Students may be able to receive a diploma in as little as nine months or an associate’s degree in as little as 18-24 months, depending on the school.
Online programs, traditional in-person classroom programs, or a combination of the two are frequently available to students.
Because working as a medical assistant does not require a license, aspiring medical assistants can begin working as soon as they complete their training program.
Exams like the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) can provide candidates a leg up on the competition in the employment market.
LPN Education Requirements
Aspiring LPNs must first finish a rigorous training program, typically taking about a year.
LPN programs are available at many community colleges and technical schools like other medical assistant programs.
However, LPN programs require students to complete much of their coursework in person.
An LPN curriculum is oriented around learning the necessary clinical skills for taking care of patients.
Still, a medical assistant program incorporates coursework related to administrative tasks such as medical insurance and accountancy, and clinical tasks.
Unlike medical assistants, LPNs must meet more stringent requirements.
Candidates must complete a state-approved licensed practical nursing program, which can take as little as 12 months.
They must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) after graduation before they may work as an LPN.
LPN diploma programs cover basic nursing and health science principles, such as:
- Human development
- Nursing care is available to persons of all ages
LPNs who desire to further their careers and gain more responsibility and salary might enroll in bridge programs.
These programs make it easier to transfer into new nursing roles and obtain certification.
Bridge programs span transitions from LPN to RN Online, CNA to LPN, LPN to ADN, LPN to BSN, and LPN to RN.
Students should be aware that medical assistants and LPNs have various licensing and certification requirements.
LPN vs Medical Assistant Licensing and Certification
LPN License and Certification
After completing their state-approved and recognized Practical Nursing program, LPN students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).
Candidates who pass this exam will be able to work as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
LPN can also be an entry-level profession that lets you work as a nurse while pursuing a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing science (BSN).
Medical Assistant License and Certification
Medical assistants are not required to have any licensing to start working as one.
While many job vacancies for medical assistants do not require certification, medical assistants may choose to become certified after college to boost their earning potential and employment.
Candidates who have completed a medical assisting program accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) are eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification examination offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (ABHES).
Some MAs want to get their licenses so they can focus more on clinical patient care and even become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).
They benefit from a prior patient care experience and can already execute basic nursing activities autonomously, such as:
- Taking vital signs and looking for unusual readings
- Simple wound care
- The use of orthopedic splints
- Obtaining relevant information from patients
- Injection administration
How Long it Takes to Become an LPN or Medical Assistant
It is common for LPN programs to take between 12 and 18 months to complete.
However, for individuals enrolled in a degree program (associates), the time frame can be somewhat longer—approximately two years.
If you can transfer courses from an MA degree, this time frame can be significantly reduced.
Most prospective medical assistants spend between nine months and two years to complete their education, while the actual length of time can differ.
Being a medical assistant requires several steps, including graduation from high school, completing medical assistant training, and acquiring certificates.
Choosing the most appropriate professional path for you requires a thorough consideration of each option and selection of the one that is most closely linked with your interests and future ambitions.
Approximately the same amount of schooling is required for both.
However, becoming an LPN may take longer than expected because of the stringent licensure standards.
Medical assisting may be a good choice for people who want to begin their jobs straight away without obtaining a license in the first place.
Nurses have one of the most fulfilling careers available, especially for those who regard nursing as simply the first step on their way to a graduate degree program or who want to devote more time to direct patient care.
This undoubtedly is a feasible choice for those who would like to work in a hospital or long-term care facility.
Both of these professions have a promising future ahead of them. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of LPNs is expected to expand by 8-9 percent.
That figure is 18-19 percent in the case of MAs.
Also notable is the salary gap, which is about several dollars an hour on average.
Those who have completed a certified nursing degree will have more opportunities for advancement.
While working as LPNs, they can continue their education and pursue advanced nursing degrees.
Bridge programs enable people to enroll in an RN program online and complete it in months, earning a degree that increases their earning potential and provides them with more professional growth prospects.
In fact, there is no correct or incorrect response to want you would love to become.
However, it is important to note that these healthcare fields have a plethora of opportunities and are personally rewarding.