Picking the right career at the right point in time is the most crucial decision you will make in your life. Therefore, it is immensely essential to understand the nuances of the course you have decided to study and how it impacts your potential employment scope.

Numbers show that employment in a healthcare occupation will grow 16% from 2020 to 20301. While these numbers sound enticing, do we know what the designation of a vocational nurse or medical assistant involves?

The roles have different names, but is that enough to ascertain how they are different? What exactly is the difference between vocational nurse and medical assistant work? If these questions entice you, then you are on the right page. Here we explain what these roles mean and how one is distinct from the other.


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What is a Vocational Nurse?

A vocational nurse is the beginning level of the nursing profession. They are nurses that provide basic medical care under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors2. A vocational nurse is a vital member of any healthcare team they work with.

What are the LVN Duties?

The duties of a licensed vocational nurse are multifarious. Although these duties vary depending on the work setting and state they work in. LVN duties consist of:

  • Monitor patients’ health
  • Administer basic patient care
  • Provide for the basic comfort of patients
  • Discuss the care they are providing with patients and listen to their concerns
  • Report patients’ status and concerns to registered nurses and doctors
  • Keep records on patients’ health2

To explain in more functional terms, the LVN duties might include checking blood pressure, changing bandages and inserting catheters, helping them bathe or dress, etc.

How to Become a Vocational Nurse in California?

The first step towards this career is applying and finding the right vocational nurse training program in California. Look for a program that will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in your training. Find a vocational nurse training program that prepares you with the concepts required for the NCLEX-PN examination and entry-level work into the nursing profession. Once you have found the right program, enroll and complete the program. Students are then required to take and pass the NCLEX-PN examination.

Once all that is completed, you may be asking yourself the question “what is my next step?” You have two different options: You have the opportunity to continue your education - maybe become a registered nurse, or you could seek employment with an entry-level job.

How Long is the Vocational Nursing Program?

The right licensed vocational nurse programs could only take less than 14 months to complete.

What is a Medical Assistant?

Just like an LVN, a medical assistant is a critical member of any medical office. A medical assistant not only performs clinical tasks, but also administrative tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals and other healthcare facilities3.

What are the Medical Assistant duties?

The role of a medical assistant comprises administrative elements and relates to the clinic and patient management. To explain the functional nuances, a medical assistant duties might consist of the following:

  • Record patient history and personal information
  • Measure vital signs
  • Help physicians with patient examinations
  • Give patients injections or medications as directed by physicians
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Prepare blood samples for laboratory tests
  • Enter patient information into medical records2

Medical assistants work on both front and back office procedures.

How to Become a Medical Assistant in California?

The first step in becoming a medical assistant is to find the right program for you. Find a program that will prepare you for the duties and responsibilities a medical assistant does on a daily basis. Some programs offer externships that will give students more hands-on experience before seeking employment. Once you have enrolled into the medical assistant program that is right for you become eligible to sit for the Medical Assistant National Certification Exam through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) Organization. Once completed, you have the opportunity to seek entry-level employment.

How Long is the Medical Assistant Program?

The right medical assistant program could only take less than 8 months to complete.

Vocational Nurse vs Medical Assistant

The difference between vocational nurses and medical assistants lies in the type of work they do. An LVN’s duty is more focused on the direct clinical care aspects, while a medical assistant focuses on the administrative side more. However, there are overlaps, where their duties intersect.

For instance, an LVN also needs to manage patient history and keep track of records, like the medical assistant. On the other hand, an LVN also needs to know how to measure and track a patient’s vital parameters. Both these roles are immensely vital to the American healthcare system, and that is why one could see a notable rise in demand for these roles throughout the next decade.

Enroll in the Vocational Nurse Training Program or Medical Assistant Program at National Career College

At NCC, we are designed to work with our students to get them to achieve their goals. We offer both licensed vocational nurse programs and medical assistant programs to any students interested. We want to put our students and their needs first, so why not give it a shot?

Our in-person Vocational Nursing program will only take you 60 weeks to complete with the right preparation for the NCLEX exam. During the day, you could enhance your technical and interpersonal skills into becoming a well-rounded healthcare professional.

In just 32 weeks, you could complete our in-person Medical Assistant program. Just like our licensed vocational nurse programs, our medical assistant course is designed to help you gain the knowledge and skills needed for entry-level employment. We offer morning, afternoon and evening classes for our students with a busy schedule.

Our highly trained professors want to help YOU out. Enroll in either NCC’s Vocational Nursing program or our Medical Assistant program. Do you have the goal of becoming a registered nurse? Consider the LVN program for the hands-on training and stepping stone opportunity. Are you interested in both administrative and clinical tasks? Consider the medical assistant program where you could work on both sides of the healthcare industry. Enroll today at National Career College for your medical training.


Learn more about Vocational Nursing at National Career College



  1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm
  2. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm#tab-2
  3. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-2