What is the Difference Between a CMA and LPN?

Posted by Athena Career Academy on May 10, 2016

Working directly with patients in the medical field can be an exciting and rewarding career. A field where job growth is seemingly never ending, nursing is also a financially stable career path to embark upon. With so many different job titles and opportunities available within the healthcare industry it is extremely important to know the differences between them. This can help you determine which path will allow you to meet your career goals and give you the most satisfaction. If you have considered working with patients, either a clinical medical assistant, licensed practical nurse, read on as we break down the differences and similarities between these two equally viable careers.

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Work Environment 
One of the major differences between a clinical medical assistant and a licensed practical nurse is the setting in which they are employed. While a clinical medical assistant may work most often in clinics, ambulances, or hospitals, a licensed practical nurse will find themselves working in hospitals, nursing homes, or other long-term care facilities. This can dramatically impact the tone and nature of your work, as well as the kind of tasks you will be asked to perform.

Job Description

What is the difference between a CMA and LPN?A clinical medical assistant will often assist with a variety of duties, including administrative tasks. They will work closely with the doctors and nurses who supervise them, preparing their patients and rooms for exams, managing supply inventory, obtaining patients’ medical histories, recording vitals, and assisting in medical procedures and patient exams. They may also be instructed by their supervising physician to dress wounds, collect blood samples, and dispense medication. While the duties of a licensed practical nurse may overlap with those of the clinical medical assistant, they will usually be tasked with the responsibility of dispensing medication, responding to patient calls as needed, and starting IV fluids. A licensed practical nurse is also responsible for taking a patient's temperature and blood pressure, treating bedsores, performing catheterization, and dressing wounds.

Necessary Skills

Due to the nature of each job, there are different interpersonal skills and strengths that you will need to have before you will be considered a viable applicant Many of these involve various personality traits, your level background knowledge and your technical skillset. Clinical medical assistants find themselves working on variety of tasks, from clerical work to patient care, and as such it is important that they be able to easily master computer skills as well as exhibit excellent customer service practices and a professional bedside manner. A licensed practical nurse will not need as much skill with computers or clerical work, but they will need to cultivate an immaculate bedside manner and be at least somewhat educated in psychology in order to provide quality care to their patients.

Schooling and Salary

The education path for both a clinical medical assistant and a licensed practical nurse is an exciting one with a variety of methods of obtaining certification. Both of these positions also offer excellent job security within the healthcare field. However, they will generate different incomes. A clinical medical assistant can obtain certification through either a two year associate's degree program or a certification program. It is to be expected, however, that those who seek out a longer, more in depth program (such as the associate's degree) will be able to obtain higher paying positions and may find themselves receiving priority selection for jobs. The average income for a clinical medical assistant is $29,960 per year according to the Department of Labor. Those wishing to obtain a career as a licensed practical nurse will find more extensive schooling which comes with a higher pay rate. Schooling for this includes graduation from a licensed practical nursing program. The schooling for this can be done is as little as one year, though it is very in depth. As far as salary goes, the Department of Labor reports an income of $42,000 per year.

As it stands, both of these career choices are stable and lucrative. With jobs in health care growing exponentially either is a safe choice for anyone who values job security. Prior to enrolling in a program, make sure you know the path you are interested in pursuing so that you can get the most out of your career as a practical nurse or a clinical medical assistant. There’s no better place to get started on either path than Athena Career Academy.

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To learn more about a career as a Practical Nurse, and whether it’s the right fit for you, schedule an appointment with Athena Career Academy today. One meeting with our Admissions counselors could help put you on the path to a successful new career that could change your life for the better. 

Athena Career Academy is located at:
5203 Airport Highway
Toledo, Ohio 43615
Hours: Monday - Friday 7:30AM to 4:30PM
Phone: (419) 329-4075

Topics: Nursing Education