LPN or MA...

  1. Hi, so I am stuck getting into a nursing program and feel the only option is possible moving to a State with more options for school.

    I figure if I can have some type of cert or license to my name can easily find work somewhere else and go from there.

    Now this might make people want to vomit. However, some LPNs at various facilities in my State make more money than an MA. However, most make similar pay to an MA $20-$22 an hour. There is more open MA positions than LPN openings in current State of residence.

    Also MA programs are more flexible, done sooner than an LPN program, and more cost effective than LPN programs in current State of residency.

    The only down side is your not a nurse as an MA; where as an LPN you are a nurse.

    Which of the two should I choose?

    Appreciate the feedback.
  2. Visit WCSU1987 profile page

    About WCSU1987

    Joined: Jan '10; Posts: 901; Likes: 134


  3. by   AmyJo2018
    Hi..I am having similar thoughts. MA is attractive to me due to the lab training and flexible job assignments. I would much rather be working with samples and microorganisms than macro humans!
    I will be watching this thread to see what advice is offered up.
  4. by   lindseylpn
    I guess it depends on your end goal, cost, pay and what kind of facility you want to work at. Usually when someone becomes an MA that it's their end goal as there really isn't any upward mobility and you can't transition to a nurse. MAs usually only work in clinics as well, I've known a few to work in the hospital but, they're just utilized as a tech or phlebotomist. LPNs have a much larger scope of practice and can work in all areas of healthcare, LTC/SNF, ALF, home health, private duty, corrections, occupational health, insurance, clinics, etc and even some hospitals. Upward mobility is easier for an LPN too, there are LPN to RN transition programs. Depending on your area/state too LPNs can move upward in their place of employment without becoming an RN, they can be charge nurses, unit supervisors and even DONs in ALF facilities. Schooling for MA can be much shorter though if that's a factor for you, in my area it's a 5 month program, 3 days a week and the LPN program is 12 months, 5 days a week. There are also diploma and associate degree (1-2 year) MA programs but, if you're going to go for an associate degree just go for your RN instead. As for pay, LPNs in my area make quite a bit more than MAs, $5-$10 more an hour I'd say. The last time I worked in a clinic, the LPNs made around $5 more per hour. I think it's like that in most areas.

    I'd make a pro con list and ask yourself these questions:
    What's your end goal?
    Do you care about upward mobility or want to be a nurse in the future?
    What kind of facility do you want to work in, are you okay with just clinic work or do you want to be able to work in a more wide variety of facilities?
    Is school time an option, do you want a quick program or can you devote yourself to a longer one?
    Is pay important to you? Pay can vary wildly in different areas.
    How important is scope of practice to you?

    Look at job postings too, see what is more in demand in your area. In my area LPNs are much more in demand but, I know that's not the case in all areas. Look at job duties and pay if that's included in the job posting.

    Also, do a search here on allnurses. These questions pop up from time to time and I'm sure there are some good older threads on the subject.
    There are pros and cons to each profession I'm sure. I know there are some comments on older threads where people have been both an MA and an LPN so, those might help you more. Good luck with your decision.
    Last edit by lindseylpn on Apr 17 : Reason: Grammar
  5. by   PRican
    The above poster gave some good advice. I'm almost on the same boat as you, except that I am trying to leave the CNA field as soon as possible. I don't care if it is medical assistant or LPN. It is whatever I can get into first because I am tired of being a CNA.

    One note I want to add on career mobility. I know some medical assistants who went on to become RNs and some LPNs who went on to be RNs. Either way, you still have to go back to school and some of the classes will transfer. Yes it is true that LPNs can bridge over to RN, but I don't think it is necessarily an easier route. The LPN to RN programs in my state require that you work as a LPN for a year and then you must pass a skills validation exam, which you get one chance to pass. Plus a critical thinking test and the TEAs test.

    I think it is easier to just go straight to RN. But I don't know if you want to be one right now. Good luck on whatever you decide.
  6. by   WCSU1987
    Be a pay cut at some locations and some places pay be the same if go MA route
    MA pay here is equal to most LPN pay
    The State pays MAs $45,000 a year. Only downside is most MA jobs are 9 to 5 jobs there is only one evening RN program in the State.