CMA to LPN?? - page 3

Hi to all, I am new in the CMA field in North Carolina. I am working in a doctor's office now. I have been there close to six months. I have an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting. I was wondering... Read More

  1. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from orangepancakes
    I think it's highly unlikely that someone would go from being a CMA to LPN to RN because that's a whole lot of schooling and a lot of wasted time and money. Wouldn't it make more sense to just go to school to be an RN, and skip the whole LPN thing completely, seeing as how you don't even have to start off as an LPN to be an RN?
    Although I have absolutely nothing to prove to anyone on these forums, my schooling actually reflects the aforementioned pattern. Some of us actually had to "stair step" up a career ladder to get to where we are today, because pursuing an RN license directly might mean being unable to work and earn a good wage for several years. I take offense at being indirectly called a liar.

    I completed an MA program in 2000, at the age of 19, without doing complete research on this career pathway. After a year of job seeking and no employment offers, I accepted a factory job and worked there from 2001 to 2004.

    While the factory job paid well, it was a dead-end job with no career advancement, so I decided to pursue nursing. However, I could only devote one year to my education at that time in my life, so I attended a 12-month LVN program as the quickest route to a new career and more money. I completed the LVN program in 2005.

    I am currently employed as an LVN and work 16-hour weekend double shifts while attending an RN program during the week. I am scheduled to graduate in a couple of months. Although my route to an education seems wasteful and improbable, this is the way I did things.

    And one more thing: how do we know you're telling the truth? We don't really know, do we?
  2. by   ndragonfly
    Quote from orangepancakes
    There seems to be a lot of biased comments on here, mainly from people who are either LPN/RN's, or who are in school to be one or the other.

    I'm in school to be a CMA. The school I go to also has an LPN program.
    It used to take 2 years of schooling to be a CMA. My program is 9 months long, but it is very fast paced and intense. The LPN program is longer at about 13 months. But is it as intense and fast paced?-I don't know. What I do is that my instructors tell me that what we do is very similar to what an LPN does, only we are also trained to do administrate work. I have also been told they are phasing out LPNs (at least in my area). I can also tell you that the outlook for CMA's seems to be more promising. Where I am located, they are in high demand. Mainly because they can go in many directions. We can work for government agencies, insurance companies and obviously doctors offices and hospitals. We can even branch off and work for cardiologists, in labs, etc.

    Also, the potential to make good money is there. Obviously, it depends where you work and what exactly you are doing. I know the average starting pay around here is between $16-$18 an hour if you are Certified-Not bad starting pay for just 9 months of schooling.

    Where do you live? I was a CMA then went back to school for my LPN and doubled my income. Plus I have more options. As a CMA in Indiana I was very limited on where I could work & all companies were looking for a nurse. I have always said that I wasted 2 years getting my CMA when I could have spent that 2 years getting my RN...but live and learn I guess. Maybe in your area the statistics are different but here CMA is a waste of time..
  3. by   tajasmom
    Well with all due respect to everyone when i graduated Nursing school(RN) I worked at a clinic with both LPNs and CMAs and what i found out was that most of the Medical Assistants had associate degrees and were doing the exact same thing as the Lpns and all Lpns have to do is go to school for a year and don't even need a degree so lets support and not badger each other cause there are many points that can be made like CMAs do with an associate do have more education and most classes do transfer lpns just have to take basic anatomy and physiology where CMAs like RNs have too take a separate anatomy and physiology plus microbiolgy so all im saying MAs if you want to advance your career go straight to RN don't waist your time on becoming an LPN and stop listening to people you know what goes on and there really isnt much difference between CMA and LPNs except a few things but as a Medical Assistant you do have more education.
  4. by   OLIVIALEN
    I am still trying to get back into school. Here in my state there are extremely long waiting lists, and registration only happens twice a year. I have been a CMA now since 2006. I have found that some schools will let you transfer your anatomy classes and some other classes but not everything. I have found tht the LPN programs offer more hospital related care classes. A lot of the education is the same but more hospital based for LPN. I do have a two year degree, and in my state you can complete the LPN in one year, but they do not accept a lot of students per year. I also was not stating I do the same job as a LPN or RN in the hospital! I work in a doctors office and there we all do the same exact job!!! I am now training a LPN that just started and she told me that most of what we do in office they barely went over in her classes, such as preforming EKGs injections and vaccinations. She said she had courses related to trach care, IVs and such which we did not have. Things we did take the same were anatomy 1 & 2, pharmacology, pathophisiology, and invasive procedures. I am still wanting to go back but now have decided that RN is the best route. I have kept my CNA1 current so i will not have to retake that. I do feel that some nurses look down on CMAs and some LOVE us and accept us as we do play a key part in healthcare in our communities. There are good CMAs and bad just as there are good nurses and bad. I truely do want to say I have loved being a CMA but I have hit the point where I would need to go futher in education to make more money and remove the ceiling of what I am able to do in my healthcare profession. I have read many threads and noticed so many people do not realize exactly what all CMAs are responsible for doing, or what the scope includes. You do work under a doctor liscence and they or an RN must sign off on your compentcy and skills, but you can loose your certification just as a nurse could loose a liscense. I would never go outside of my scope of practice or outside of what I have been trained to do. I feel some do and that is why we get such a bad rep. I do have people still call me a nurse and I guess it's because I have seen them everytime they come in and have given them injections, called in their medications. taken care of their needs or given their children the vaccinations they need. I do correct them but I just think that it is the same as when a PA is called doctor by a patient. They either do not understand the difference or are trying to be respectful. I understand that nurses get upset at this but in the same token I see why it happens. I feel lucky to work with great nurses and docs and patients and I am proud of the work I do -- more importantly they are proud of my work too. That is the best accomplishment. I am still trying to get there though it seems to be a battle. Wish me luck, perhaps I will get to have that RN behind my name one day. Thank you for all the responses. I wish everyone visiting much luck in their careers.
  5. by   Italia23
    okay-i have to say i totally disagree with some of the previous posts about cma being the same thing as an lpn/lvn. i have an associates degree in medical assisting and am due to graduate from my lpn program this summer. i am not just saying this because i am almost finished with the lpn program but there is a huge difference here in nys. medical assistants can't administer medications triage assess position pts and the list keeps going on. yes, if you enroll in an associates degree program for medical assisting you go to school for 2 years which was longer than my lpn program. but to say an ma is more educated is just not true. in an lpn program you are there all day doing nothing but nursing. day in and day out-nursing. but an associates degree medical assisting program has a bunch of classes that don't even apply to being a medical assistant. fact of the matter is that anyone here in my state can apply for a medical assistant job. there are no educational requirements. you don't have to have a certificate of completion or an associates degree. to be a nurse you must have passed the nclex. i am not saying all of this to put anyone down in any way shape or form. it is just the truth. and someone mentioned that you had to take the cma or rma exam to work as an ma. here that is just not true. i only enrolled in the medical assisting program because i didn't do my research and was fooled by what they said. on a daily basis we were told ma is the same thing as lpn. i got out there and started working and realized real fast how that wasn't true. the school is constantly calling their ma program a "nursing" program which to me should be illegal since it is illegal to call oneself a nurse in my state if infact you are not an lpn rn or np. if you want to be a nurse then you have to go to nursing school. period. i learned the hard way! from an academic standpoint the ma program did help me because i knew some of the med term and a little a&p. it wasn't a total waste and to say ma programs are a waste isn't true either. some people want to be an ma and do a great job @ it. i just wanted to be a nurse! so i went to nursing school. the reason some people go through an lpn program before rn is because we have other issues that need to be taken care of like children family etc. the rn programs here are very very very very competitive and honestly i wasn't ready to apply. now going the lpn route i will be able to work and have more points to get into an rn program. i think that everyone deserves credit for what they do. regardless of your title. people shouldn't be so quick to judge!!!!!!!!!!!
  6. by   demylenated
    I know in my vocational school it was the same thing. It was 11 months for CMA and 12 for LPN. I could not understand why anyone would not go the extra month...

    You said you have you associates degree? If you do, I recommend looking into the community college for the RN. It sounds like you will only need the nursing classes (just like for LPN) to get your RN, since you already have an associates degree (sorry, only read page one... this may be addressed).

    I say go for it. That is what pushed me into LPN school. In VA, they had "Med Techs." For 5 days they "taught" me to pass meds. They "passed" a student who could not even take a bp. I felt VERY unsafe passing meds, because they told us it wasn't necessary to know the meds, just to follow the MAR. Then, I was doing the LPN's job at the nursing home, basically... so I stopped the med tech, after a week, and went to LPN school... happened before I knew it, LOL.

    Good luck. I hear you on the loans. I went to a private vocational school, didn't look around, and didn't realize I was paying 3 times as much as I would have had at a community college... and then, because it was a vocational school, none of my classes were transferable. That sucked, I had to take all my basics again for RN school.
  7. by   aw70
    I have stumbled upon this site last week, as I was looking into go back to

    school for nursing. I am 40 years old. When I was fresh out of high school I

    started college and was planning on doing what was needed to go into the RN

    program. Needless to say, I never quite finished even my associates due to

    starting a family and following my husband and his career.

    Since then I have worked as a cna, did some tech work in an ER, worked for

    several years doing registration work and billing for the ER, hospital business

    office, and a clinic of nine doctors. Then went on to doing HR work in the

    hospitality field, and was recently laid off of an office assistant job.

    Decided to go back for what I've always wanted to do and was deciding between

    what program and school, using an MA or lpn program as a step towards the RN

    to basically refresh myself with school, studying, tests, etc. And so I could break

    the big goal into a couple of obtainable steps, while obtaining a certifiate and/or


    After researching the training available for lpn and ma, the job market, including

    pay and qualifications for each, and job descriptions, I decided on cma. I

    based it on realizing I could be certified in as little as 5 months up to 18

    depending on if I wanted my associates included and lpn in 13 to 23 mths

    (certificate or associates). Where Im living, the lpn and ma programs

    each include mostly the same classes, but with the lpn going more in depth. The

    scope for lpn and cma here do have some differences, but I am comfortable and

    that program doesnt begin for another 5 months so that would be longer for me

    to get out there and start working which would add time to me beginning and

    finishing my rn. Everyone has different reasons as to why they have chosen the

    path they have to achieve thier goals, while it may not make sense to others.

    It's not my fault or others that have chosen ma that we do not have to be

    licensed or have quite as much as it takes for lpn, and that we are allowed to

    do some of the work we do. In fact, after realizing what all a cma can do in my

    state I personally feel as though perhaps they should have to be licensed even

    while working under the direct supervision of a doctor.

    And for those that say ma's can work and don't even HAVE to be

    certified....true...but after going thru a 10 month program that includes 200

    hours of externship, why not get certified? Also, as I have been steadily looking

    at job openings for ma's ...good luck finding one that doesn't require

    certification and 1 year experience. The one year experience is asked for often

    and hopefully the externship along with the fact that I have some cna, tech

    work, and billing experience it will not be a huge obstacle.

    So, with that all said....I came on this site to find knowledge from other cmas,

    lpns and rns so I would feel as though I made an informed decision as to my

    plan of action! I must say it did help me, reading thru the you know what

    contests between cmas and lpns and rns...reading lpns complaning or simply

    stating that it wasn't right for some cmas to be making almost as much if not

    as much as lpns verified some what I was thinking after reading thru recent job

    postings for Florida.

    As for cmas doing thinks they arent allowed...shame on

    them...for cmas to call themselves nurses....shame on them...nurses go thru

    more extensive and different training as ma's do and deserve their title. You

    get what you work for!

    Now that I've made the informed decision for myself at the moment I suppose I

    will continue to read thru the posts to learn from others about my new future

    job and the goal I have at the end of the light!

    Good look to all that are continuing their educations!
  8. by   olivialen1
    Well as an update I did decide to go back for my RN and I start at DCCC in the fall. I know it will be a tough journey but having some background I hope will be helpful. Thanks for all the great advice!!