MA or LPN?

  1. hi guys, i have a problem. im new to new jersey, i have a husband and two little divaz...they are 9 and 5. now, i just got accepted into a ma program and a lpn program. i dont know which one to chose. my husband works 5am-5pm two weeks out of the month and 5pm-5am two weeks. now i have been a stay at home mom since i had my oldest daughter...they are both very attatched to me & with my husbands schedule i cant work crazy hours. so, my concerns are the hours. which one of the two jobs have the best hours that would work with my familys schedule? please help me...
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    About MooreDiva

    Joined: Mar '08; Posts: 2


  3. by   catlynLPN
    Is the MA program for like office work or is it like assisting the doctor in his office?
    Personally, I would go with the LPN, because that is a better stepping stone to an RN program in your future.

    But if you need "office" hours, then the MA might be best, but do consider that an MA program, depending on what it is, may not be something that will help you if you decide to go on for RN one day.

    I've read threads on here where people think the MA program was a waste of time and money.
    Check it out and consider all your options before committing to it.
    Last edit by catlynLPN on Mar 18, '08
  4. by   ukstudent
    MA's are pretty much confined to working in Doctors offices. Hours are normal office hours.
    LPN's have a large career option. From doctors offices, to nursing homes and in some areas hospitals. Hours can be more flexible as these jobs can be 24hrs/day.
    I believe that the pay for LPN is higher than for an MA.

    The best way to find out for your area is to call around after looking at job advertisements and asking about pay and hours.
  5. by   casi
    I think it really depends on what you consider a good work schedule. a MA is more likely to be a 9-5job in a doctors office. I don't know how flexible they would be though when it comes to working part-time or getting time off for school events.

    The LPN job will require working everyother weekend and everyother holiday unless you are in an office setting. There is also a good chance of working evenings or nights. The good thing is they tend to be pretty flexible.
  6. by   mrsraisinkain
    I would agree with what the above posters say about the MA's schedule. As an MA you're basically stuck working in a doctor's office which is typically a 9-5 job. As an LPN you could work any kinds of hours, including the 1st shift hours if you like. But with an LPN, you could advance that further should you chose to later in life. Also, you would have a wide variety of places to work, doctor's office, hospital, LTC, etc, the opportunities are endless. I'm not sure about where you live, but here the MA course is 15 months (I could only find part time) and the LPN classes are 11 months if you go full time. I was told an MA would start at approximately $9 - $11 per hour while an LPN would start at about $15 an hour in an acute facility or more if you work LTC.

    Good luck in whatever you chose!!
  7. by   pagandeva2000
    If you got accepted into both programs, I say go for the LPN. There are plenty of LPNs that work in doctor's offices, but the medical assistant is limited to just the doctor's office. The course for medical assisting may be easier to complete, but, many complain that they cannot find jobs.
  8. by   RNsRWe
    Something that should be answered first and foremost, but which you did not, is whether you WANT to be a nurse, or if you'd be fine with being an office helper.

    A MA is not a nurse. They may do some of the most basic of nursing skills, but they cannot assess or perform many (most) nursing functions. An LPN is a nurse, whose scope of practice (for which they are licensed by the State in which they live) is considerably different than an MA (whose scope of 'practice' is defined by the medical professional for whom they work, no license involved).

    Once you decide why it is you want to be an MA, or why you want to be an LPN, and then compare what those two titles enable you to do, you'd be better able to answer your own question.

    For what it's worth, as the others have said, you do have much greater flexibility in positions, hours, and career options as an LPN than you would as an MA. The most frequent complaint I seem to hear is that MA education is often at least as expensive (if not more so) than LPN education, and they earn less and "get less" as an MA than they would have as an LPN. Just food for thought.

    Also, as a consideration, I am VERY family-oriented and choose to work three nights a week BECAUSE I want more time with my family. Those kinds of hours are available to nurses in my area, not MAs. Perhaps you could work out a rotating-shift schedule based on your husband's schedule to better free up your available time with your kids? Of course, NO schedule is absolutely perfect, as there will certainly be time away from your kids either before they go to school, after they get home, or on days you are working and they are home. I do my best to avoid those conflicts, and for the most part it's great, but sometimes some time is sacrificed either from work or from family now and then.

    Good luck in your decisions!
  9. by   Jas0nRN
    I worked for 6 yrs as an MA before going back to school to be an RN. Here's what I found to be the biggest benefit to being an MA. Very low stress levels. Your biggest stress will be scared parents and hurried schedules which can be stressful but generally much less than that of a nurse. The MA tends to have very set hours. Since fewer people work in an office they aren't as able to be as flexible unless you work part time anyway.
    LPN make a whole lot more money and there are a lot of options. MA have virtually no chance to do anything different if you get bored or need more money. LPN can easily move up to RN. MA start generally from ground zero.
    The length of the programs tend to be about the same for about the same cash.
    Go for LPN. If you want to work in a doctors office you can always do it as an LPN and command an extra 3-4 dollars an hour.
    Something else to consider is if your MA program is CMA or RMA. The standards are very different from program to program. I think the market is going to be flooded with MA in a couple of years. All of the false advertising is leading people to the schools thinking this is a stepping stone when its not. No one should 20k for a job that makes 25K a year when they could pay 20K for a job that pays 30K starting out. I've met a lot of MAs who haven't been able to find much work here in Ohio. Run my friend run from the MA school.
  10. by   mrsraisinkain
    I looked at the MA classes at Southwestern College here in Ohio. The admissions representative actually told me that the MA position is slowly replacing the LPN position!! Can you believe that?!?!
  11. by   1TachyRN
    I went to school for and was an MA for eight years before finishing nursing school. I originally saw an "advisor" intending to enroll in the LPN program but like the above poster says, she basically told me that LPNs would be obsolete, replaced with MAs. I don't consider it a total waste of time, but the MA "school" I attended was very expensive (probably close to what I paid for nursing school) for what I got in return. I would go with the LPN program. Final word of advice, check your state BON for the NCLEX pass rates for that school's program.
  12. by   HeartsOpenWide
    As an LVN you can work nights or days; just like your husband. MA usually work in Dr.s offices and work 9-5 and get paid a lot less than LVNs
  13. by   Little Panda RN
    MA for 11 1/2 years LPN for almost 2 years. My advice go for the LPN and be done with it, unless of course you decide to go for your RN. LPN's also work in doctors offices, if that is what you want to do. Dont waste you time and money on the MA program.

    Just my 2 cents.
  14. by   pagandeva2000
    I do want to express that you should do what is comfortable for you. I have no issues with medical assistants. I know many that are trained exceptionally well and understand their scope of practice. As long as they understand that they are not nurses, and try not to act as such, there is no issue for it with me.

    I do feel that since you have already been accepted into an LPN program, just complete it and have the creditials available for you to do what you wish. I am an LPN (since 2006) that works in a clinic in a hospital. Monday thru Friday, weekends and holidays off. My husband works evenings, my son is 21 years old, and I get to do side jobs doing fun things as an LPN that would not have been available to me as a medical assistant.

    I go to army bases as a vaccination nurse and only a licensed nurse can do that. A medical assistant can be trained to do just what I am doing, read the side effects and all, however, because she is not a nurse, she would not be able to do this great assignment. I get paid very decent money doing this and get to see gorgeous guys (but, I am not cheating...just enjoying the show...LOL). I do 1 on 1 home care assignments on occasion, and get to know my patients very well. LPNs have become case coordinators, work for insurance companies, the department of health, corrections, clinics, etc. More chances to get employment. And, of course, if you want to become an RN, there are bridge programs.