NEED ADVICE Lpn or Medical assistant?

  1. I was recently accepted to a Lpn program about 30 miles from where I live. I accepted this route only because I have been wait listed for a local Rn program and I'm tired of waiting. However, I have noticed that the job market for Rns & Lpns in my 50 mile radius has declined drastically. On the other hand, I have seen atleast 30-40 job openings for medical assistants in my local area alone. I know that a medical assistant is not a nurse, but it appears they're the ones getting jobs. In my area the pay difference between a medical assistant and a Lpn is only $2 on average. I'm really considering possibly becoming a medical assistant to have income while I play the wait game for the Rn program. Would that be a mistake? Should I just enroll in the Lpn program and hope for the best? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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    About soladylike1

    Joined: Nov '08; Posts: 31; Likes: 9

    10 Comments

  3. by   miamiCHICK305
    Hey,

    I would stick to LPN because you can always upgrade to RN. Once you start school for Medical assistant, your stuck for good! I do not know where you live, but in Miami it is booming over here, atleast with the home health agencies.

    BTW, where can I post my own questions? I just registered to the website today (:
  4. by   soladylike1
    If you've registered, submit your question or topic under the forum you're addressing. Click at the top,submit new thread. Thanks for your input!
  5. by   Cyn2school
    Keep the big picture in mind. MA's don't have opportunity for advancement LPN's have. @ some RN programs, having an LPN moves you to the front of the line. Jobs for every occupation are in decline right now so don't let a few newspaper/online ads have you thinking so short sighted. Get your LVN, and IV endorsement and you will be so much better off when the economy gets going.
  6. by   mmt4
    If I were you I'd still do the LPN program. Some medical offices will hire LPNs to MA positions, at the same or very similar pay (so expect lower than say LPN work in LTC), so you can always apply for those jobs if you need to, but you will have the advantage in the overall job market of being a LPN.

    Especially if you plan to be a RN in the future, I'd say go for the LPN vs. the MA. The program lengths are usually similar and the cost can be similar as well.
  7. by   kat7ap
    Stick with the LPN program especially if you plan on becoming an RN in the future. Where I live the difference in pay for a starting LVN/LPN is about $17-20/hr, MAs start at $9-12 so the difference is much greater. Another good thing about becoming an LPN is the variety of settings that you can be employed at such as offices/clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, home health, hospice. MAs are mainly employed in offices and clinics without the flexibility of hours that a LPN can have. It would impossible to keep an 8-5 M-F position while going through RN school. At least in some areas, most MA positions require or prefer experience whereas many LPN positions are entry level. Another positive is that as an LPN you usually get advanced placement in RN programs or some schools offer an "LPN-RN bridge" so you get about a years credit for being an LPN and can finish your RN program much faster. Normally no credit is given for being an MA. Of course this being allnurses.com, we will biased!
  8. by   caliotter3
    Stay with the LPN program. Your peception of MA jobs being available may be erroneous or even if correct, it could be a short lived trend. If you get an LPN license you will always be ahead of the game, even if you never go on to become an RN. Good luck with your studies.
  9. by   2bnursekemmie
    The best option is to go to lpn school. I am currently a new grad myself and its hard to find a job but I'm optimistic. I can work anywhere I want to. In the nursing field you will have "job security". I can always go back to get my RN, which I will do someday. Look at the bigger picture.
  10. by   Blessed2beStressed
    The very first thing I would do in your position is call the LVN school that you are planning on attending and ask them about testing out for MA during the LVN course.

    I did not know that this was an option until I did a little research. I was told by my LVN school that after appx 6 months of LVN training, you can 'challenge' the board to sit for the MA certification test to become a Certified MA.

    There are specific steps you will need to take which can take up to a few months (after appx 6 months of LVN training)....but you can start working as an MA while still obtaining your LVN training, which may just secure you a job so you will already have one when you graduate LVN school.

    From there, your chances of being promoted from within, from an MA to an LVN may increase after you become a Licensed LVN depending upon where you will be working.

    This is what I personally am planning on doing. Call your school and check into this. My school has a program called 'Home Helpers', where you can begin to volunteer immediately (non-medical) and by the time you are a certified MA, you have your foot in the door. And like I said, you will still be on course to becoming an LVN.... but you can begin working as an MA while still in school.

    Best of luck to you whatever your decision....
    Last edit by Blessed2beStressed on Jun 23, '09 : Reason: spelling error
  11. by   kat7ap
    Quote from Blessed2beStressed
    The very first thing I would do in your position is call the LVN school that you are planning on attending and ask them about testing out for MA during the LVN course.

    I did not know that this was an option until I did a little research. I was told by my LVN school that after appx 6 months of LVN training, you can 'challenge' the board to sit for the MA certification test to become a Certified MA.

    There are specific steps you will need to take which can take up to a few months (after appx 6 months of LVN training)....but you can start working as an MA while still obtaining your LVN training, which may just secure you a job so you will already have one when you graduate LVN school.

    From there, your chances of being promoted from within, from an MA to an LVN may increase after you become a Licensed LVN depending upon where you will be working.

    This is what I personally am planning on doing. Call your school and check into this. My school has a program called 'Home Helpers', where you can begin to volunteer immediately (non-medical) and by the time you are a certified MA, you have your foot in the door. And like I said, you will still be on course to becoming an LVN.... but you can begin working as an MA while still in school.

    Best of luck to you whatever your decision....
    I'm fairly certain that to become a Certified Medical Assistant through AAMA (the national certifying board) you have to graduate from an accredited MA program. http://www.aama-ntl.org/becomeCMA/how.aspx. Most states have no regulation of the certification of Medical Assistants. So yes in theory you can obtain an MA position while in LVN school with no certification whatsoever.

    When I attended LVN school we could apply to become a Certified Medication Aide after we completed pharmacology - maybe you are confusing the two? I also think we had the option of becoming a Certified Nurse's Aide (CNA) after we completed our basic nursing skills portion. I think either job will give you a good experience towards becoming an LVN. However, my LVN school was rather intense and left little time to keep employment. I went to class or clinical M-F, 8 hours a day, plus commuting and study time.
  12. by   Blessed2beStressed
    Quote from kat7ap
    I also think we had the option of becoming a Certified Nurse's Aide (CNA) after we completed our basic nursing skills portion.
    YES! you are right and I was mistaken ... so sorry. It is a Nurses Aide, and not a Medical Asst, and it is after you complete the basic nursing skills portion of the LVN schooling.

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