At Advantage Career Institute Medical & Dental School, we train our students for in demand careers in the healthcare field. With jobs in the medical and dental fields growing at a much faster rate than other professions and more positions than employers can fill, there has never been a better time to pursue a career in healthcare.
With so many possible career paths to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. In our Career Comparison blog series, we’ll look at some different healthcare positions so you can make an informed choice. In this post, we’ll compare the Medical Assistant vs. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
What is the Difference Between Medical Assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN)?
While these careers may seem similar and have some responsibilities in common, they are very different jobs.
Job Descriptions and Responsibilities
A Medical Assistant is a flexible member of a healthcare team with a wide range of responsibilities. Medical Assistants work with physicians, nurses, and other professionals to perform various patient care duties, including clinical and administrative tasks.
The responsibilities of a Medical Assistant include, but are not limited to:
- Performing EKGs and phlebotomy procedures
- Assisting doctors in physical exams and minor surgeries
- Taking patients’ vital signs, height and weight measurements
- Dressing wounds and administering medications
- Sterilizing medical instruments and preparing examination rooms
- Updating patient electronic health records (EHR)
- Front office duties including answering phones and scheduling appointments
A Licensed Practical Nurse works with physicians and Registered Nurses (RN) to provide hands-on care for patients. LPNs are focused on the caregiving side of healthcare and tend to have a more advanced skill set than a Medical Assistant.
The responsibilities of an LPN include, but are not limited to:
- Provide bedside care for sick and injured patients
- Performing daily checkups for inpatients
- Observing and reporting on patient health to doctors and other nurses
- Perform diagnostic tests
- Ensure patient comfort
- Give injections, dress wounds, and administer medication
- Inserting catheters and starting IV drips
A key difference between a Medical Assistant and an LPN lies in their workplace and schedule.
- A Medical Assistant can work in a variety of healthcare facilities including doctor’s offices, clinics, urgent care centers, and hospitals. While their schedule will vary depending on their workplace, they can have the opportunity for a more standard 9 to 5 work week.
- Licensed Practical Nurse positions exist in hospitals, nursing care facilities, and home health care. LPNs tend to work long hours and must sometimes be on call any time of the day or night depending on their workplace.
Both of these healthcare jobs have a promising outlook over the next decade, growing significantly faster than positions in other fields:
- Medical Assistant jobs are projected to grow 23% between 2018 and 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Licensed Practical Nurse jobs are projected to grow 11% between 2018 and 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Both of these positions require a minimum of a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED), but from there they differ in the amount of education required.
At ACI Medical & Dental school, students can be certified to become a Medical Assistant in just four months, with both day and evening classes available.
Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse requires one or two years of full time nursing education depending on the program and institution.
Medical Assistant Certification in Monmouth County, NJ
If you feel that the Medical Assistant career is right for you, contact ACI Medical & Dental School today. By completing our Medical Assistant Certification Program with EKG, phlebotomy and patient care technician certifications, students will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to take on the responsibilities of a Clinical Medical Assistant in just four months.
Classes are starting soon! To learn more about this exciting new career opportunity and take the next step towards an in demand job in a growing industry, contact us today.