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Is a CNA different from a Medical Assistant (MA)? Which one is a better career option?

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and a Medical Assistant (MA) indeed have a few similarities which often lead to confusion between the two. In reality, a CNA is very different from a Medical Assistant. While they perform various duties involving working with patients and providing patient care, the two are different career fields. The key difference between a CNA and a Medical Assistant is that a CNA is more involved in providing direct patient care. A medical assistant is primarily involved in patient assessment, evaluation, and assisting doctors during treatment procedures.

    What does a Certified Nursing Assistant do?

    The CNA performs the following key responsibilities:

  • Assisting patients with daily activities like bathing, eating, and dressing
  • Recording vital signs
  • Safely transferring, lifting, and adjusting patients as they get out of bed, dress, stand and walk.
  • Monitoring any changes in a patient’s condition
  • Handling medical emergencies
  • Communicating with patients to understand their pain, symptoms, etc.
  • Explaining different medical procedures to patients
  • Maintaining a clean and safe environment for patients.
    What does a Medical Assistant do?

    The Medical Assistants performs the following key responsibilities:

  • Safely drawing blood for lab testing procedures
  • Handling various administrative tasks
  • Preparing patients for medical procedures and patient care
  • Collecting and updating patient’s medical history
  • Handling computerized medical billing and coding
  • Performing medical laboratory procedures
  • Inventory management
Certification requirements

Other than different responsibilities, the qualifications and certification requirements are also different for starting a career in both fields. To start a career as a medical assistant, the candidates need to complete an accredited Medical Assistant training in NY. Candidates can begin pursuing employment opportunities quickly after completing the course. Although certification is not mandatory to start your career in this field, it is highly recommended to earn a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) to expand your employment opportunities.

On the other hand, to start a career as a CNA, candidates must have a school diploma or GED. Furthermore, students must enroll in a state-approved Certified Nurse Assistant program in NY and earn a certification to become a qualified nursing assistant. It is required for candidates to meet the state government-mandated certification or license requirements.

Which is a better option?

The employment opportunities for Medical Assistants and CNAs both have rapidly increased since the start of the pandemic. The best way to determine which path is right for you is to o assess your career aspirations. If you are someone with excellent communication and interpersonal skills and want to be involved in direct patient care, a career as a CNA might be ideal for you. But if you are skilled in analytical abilities and would like to handle clinical and administrative tasks, a career as a Medical Assistant might be the better choice for you.

If you have more questions about which career might be best for you, consult with our team for expert guidance.