- LPNs: LPNs work in hospitals and clinics under the supervision of RNs and doctors. They’re in charge of keeping track of patient health, giving basic patient care, and maintaining patient records. LPN employment is predicted to expand by 9% between 2020 and 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- Medical assistants: Medical assistants operate in clinical or administrative settings under the supervision of a doctor or other healthcare professional. Administrative or clinical work are possible specialisations for medical assistants. Although employment responsibilities vary by jurisdiction, a clinical medical assistant conducts tasks such as drawing blood and sterilising medical devices. Medical information is gathered for insurance companies, appointments are scheduled, and phones are answered by an administrative medical assistant.
Education Requirements for LPNs and Medical Assistants
While both of these careers share similarities, the educational requirements are different.
LPNs must have a practical nursing diploma, which can be obtained in as short as 12 months. To work as an LPN, LPN candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) after completing the curriculum.
Medical assistant education requirements vary by state, but most need specialised training or completion of a postsecondary medical assisting programme. You can become a medical assistant in as little as 10 months if you complete a diploma programme, or in as little as 16-20 months if you complete an associate degree programme. Exams like the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) or Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) can provide candidates a leg up on the competition in the employment market.
Choosing Between a Career as an LPN vs. Medical Assistant
If you’re uncertain about which career is best for you, here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering becoming an LPN:
- You can immediately enter the workforce. While you may want to pursue a nursing degree, you may not have the time to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). You can become a licenced practical nurse (LPN) in as short as 12 months and start working immediately after graduation.
- You’ll be joining a rapidly expanding field. Many states are experiencing a nursing shortage, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting that another 203,700 nurses will be needed each year until 2026 to avert a further deficit. Nurses of all types will be in high demand as the need for healthcare grows due to the ageing baby boomer generation. By 2028, the BLS predicts 78,100 LPN posts to be filled.
- There are clear paths to take in order to advance your nursing profession. Herzing University offers a range of methods to further your profession when you earn your practical nursing diploma, including:
- Earning an Associate Degree in Nursing (ASN) prepares you to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and become a certified registered nurse (RN). A nursing associate’s degree qualifies you for work in hospice care, home services, rehab centres, schools, nursing homes, and other clinical settings.
- LPN to ASN: If you want to become an RN quickly, the LPN-ASN bridge programme can have you ready to take the NCLEX-RN in as little as 16 months, making it one of the fastest ways to get your degree. This curriculum accepts previous courses, allowing students to transfer up to 54 recognised credits.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): Herzing’s BSN programme may be the appropriate option for you if you’re new to nursing or currently an RN. While salaries vary by state, nurses with a BSN have a better chance of earning a higher wage and progressing to leadership positions faster than nurses with an ASN. You can also earn dual credit toward a Master of Science in Nursing while enrolled in this programme (MSN).
- LPN to BSN: This bridge program, designed for licensed practical or vocational nurses, also prepares you for the NCLEX-RN to obtain RN licensure and can be completed in as few as 28 months, depending on transfer credits.
- MSN: Students who acquire an MSN will be prepared to work in a specialised nursing job with advanced knowledge and abilities. The MSN programmes at Herzing are for registered nurses with an ASN/ADN or a BSN.
- RN to MSN: Students can further their careers by enrolling in the RN to BSN to MSN track or the expedited RN to MSN programme, which takes as little as 20 months to complete. Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP), nurse educator (MSN-NE), Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), and nursing leader/administrator are the four concentrations available (MSN-NLA).
If you’re considering a job as a medical assistant, consider the following:
- You’ll be a member of a rapidly expanding field. Medical assistants are in high demand due to the ageing Baby Boomer demographic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistant employment is predicted to expand by 23% between 2018 and 2028.
- You’ll be able to work in a range of environments. As a medical assistant, you could work in a hospital, a physician’s office, an outpatient care facility, or a chiropractor’s clinic.
- There are prospects for advancement. Working as a medical assistant has the potential to be a rewarding long-term career, but it may also be a terrific place to start. Some people want to get a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management, while others want to be a nurse.