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CNA vs Medical Assistant – What is the Difference?

If you were wondering which field is better for you regarding CNA vs Medical Assistants, we have all the details you need to make an informed decision for yourself. Both are healthcare jobs that can be similar in some ways and much different in others.

Any idea what the differences between them are? Well we are going to answer all your questions below with a detailed comparison between the positions of a Medical Assistant vs Certified Nursing Assistants.

CNA vs Medical Assistant – The Full Breakdown

Going from a Certified Nursing Assistant to a Medical Assistant is easier tan you may think. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the differences and the reasons as to why you could consider becoming an medical assistant even if you are a CNA already.

You and as do we, already know that the work of a CNA is vital and extremely important. But that does not mean you should not be looking to improve your job and career outlook.
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On the job Differences Between a CMA and a CNA

Below we take a look at the job descriptions and duties of nursing aides, assistants and orderlies vs medical assistants. The CNA job description is focused on observation and documentation. The medical assistant job description and duties are focused on administrative and clinical tasks. Lets compare starting with the CNA core duties and then the CMA core duties!

CNA Observational Duties

  • Taking Patient Vital Signs
  • Watching for Changes in overall Condition
  • Obtaining Necessary Samples for Lab Work
  • Monitor Equipment
  • Monitor Dietary Intake
  • Watching for Signs of Discomfort/Pain
  • Observing Speech Patterns for Issues
  • Measuring Height/Weight
  • Checking for Infections/Bedsores
  • Measuring Stool/Urine for Change

CNA Documentation Duties

  • Updating Patient Records at all Times
  • Tracking All Equipment Data
  • Measurements of Stool/Urine
  • Record Fluid/Food Intake
  • List Accidents and or Mistakes/Errors
  • Keep a List of Medications Taken
  • Report all That that Happened on Shift
  • Report and Inform Supervisors of Any Changes/Concerns

Medical Assistant Administrative Duties

  • Efficiently Use Office Software
  • Answer Telephone Calls, Faxes and Emails
  • Greet Patients, Vendors and any Office Visitors
  • Medical Record Filing, Record Updating and Maintaining Organization of all Medical Records
  • Basic Medical Billing and Coding Procedures
  • Schedule all Patient Appointments
  • Manage Laboratory Services
  • Basic Bookkeeping in some cases

Medical Assistant Clinical Duties

  • Handling/Giving any Medication per the Physician/Doctor
  • Authorize Medical Prescription Refills
  • Perform any Venipunctural/Phlebotomy Procedures
  • Remove Sutures/Dressings from Patients
  • Basic Patient Instruction
  • Perform any Necessary Basic Lab Testing
  • Collect and Organize Patient Medical History

Medical Assistant vs CNA Salary

CNA vs Medical Assistant
It is common understanding that a Certified Medical Assistant makes more than a Certified Nursing Assistant and enjoys a faster growing future too. Both fields are growing above the national average according to the latest BLS.gov statistics listed below.

Nursing Assistant vs Medical AssistantCNACMA
2015 Median Salary$25,710 per year $30,590 per year
2015 Median Hourly
$12.36 per hour
$14.71 per hour
Common Education NeededEarn CNA CertificationEarn CMA Certification
Is Work Experience Needed?N/AN/A
Is On-the-job Training Needed?N/AN/A
Total Jobs Number 20141,545,200591,300
Job % Increase 2014-2417% (Above National Average)23% (Above National Average)
Employment Increase 2014-24267,800138,900

Medical Assistant vs Nursing Assistant Education

Becoming either a CNA or CMA requires that you earn a certification to be eligible to be either a medical or a nursing assistant. What that entails differs for each one. The duration of time is much shorter for nursing aides and assistants than medical assistants. The length of time for CNA certification is commonly done in less than 3 months!

Medical Assistant certification takes longer at the shortest time frame and basic level of certification. Most require a 6-12 month training for certification and in some cases an associates degree is done. That being said both are relatively short in the long run and have advantages for each.

Why Going from CNA to Medical Assistant can be Easy

If you are already a CNA and want to become a medical assistant there are a few things to consider. First there is some crossover in the education of becoming a CNA and a CMA so you may be able to advance faster in your training due to the fact that you have already taken some of the courses. Secondly, you will be much more advanced and ready to excel in the CMA training because of your experience as a CNA. Lastly, the change for the better and natural progression will lead you to take full advantage of the wonderful opportunity in front of you.

Another wonderful angle is the ability to take courses online while you are working or if you are deciding whether a CNA or a CMA career is better. Online CNA training programs and online CMA programs are amazing tools for your success! They are cheaper, more time efficient and allow a ton of flexibility while you are working.

Certified Nursing Assistant vs Medical Assistant Final Outlook

Now that we have seen that both CNA and CMA fields are growing well above the national average and have competitive pay scales you can see what to do next! Enroll in a CNA to medical assistant program today and get started!!

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