What is the Difference Between a CNA and a Medical Assistant?

Posted by Athena Career Academy on Nov 5, 2019

What is the Difference Between a CNA and a Medical Assistant

Are you thinking about pursuing a career in the medical field? If you are, then there are a lot of opportunities to consider. Certain positions may require certification, but they take less than a year to obtain, which means that a career in the medical field is a very obtainable goal. 

However, if you do even a little bit of research, you'll see that there are several types of positions that may seem very similar, such as that of a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and a medical assistant. However, the medical assistant duties and responsibilities do differ from those of a CNA.

What Does a CNA Do?New Call-to-action

A CNA works under the supervision of a nurse in order to care for patients. As a CNA, you'll have a variety of duties and responsibilities, including taking the vital signs of a patient, feeding the patient, dressing the patient, bathing the patient, keeping their rooms clean, setting up medical equipment, observing the condition of the patient, and assisting with some medical procedures. CNAs work in a variety of settings, including nursing care facilities, assisted living facilities, and hospitals.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assistants do a lot of what a CNA does in terms of caring for the patient. The medical assistant duties and responsibilities include taking vital signs, administering some medication, administering shots, preparing blood samples, and assisting physicians with health exams. However, unlike a CNA, a medical assistant may be responsible for administrative tasks as well. This can include recording the family history of patients, keeping patient records up to date with new information, answering phones, scheduling appointments, and more. As a result, it's helpful if you are detail-oriented and have analytical skills if you are to become a medical assistant.

Most medical assistants maintain normal working hours compared to a CNA. This is because the majority of them gain employment at physician's offices, which typically have normal daytime hours. Medical assistants do work in hospitals, outpatient facilities, and chiropractor's offices as well. One of the advantages of becoming a medical assistant is that they are much less likely to be scheduled to work night shifts. CNAs are often required to work overnight, on the weekends, and even on holidays.

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Career Opportunities

Both CNAs and medical assistants will have a great foundation on which they can further their medical careers. However, it is worth noting that finding a job will generally be easier as a medical assistant going forward. This is because employment for medical assistants is expected to grow 29 percent through 2026, which is almost three times as much as the expected growth of CNA jobs over the same time period. The median annual wage is slightly higher than that of a CNA as well.

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While the medical assistant duties and responsibilities are not that different than those of a CNA, a medical assistant will require that you learn administrative as well as clinical skills, which puts you at an advantage over CNAs. It's likely one of the reasons why the demand for medical assistants is expected to grow much higher than that for CNAs over the next seven years. The fact that medical assistant jobs pay slightly more and rarely require overnight, weekend, or holiday work can be seen as quite an advantage as well.

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If you're interested in becoming a medical assistant and pursuing a career in the medical field, contact us at Athena Career Academy in Toledo, OH, for information on how to enroll in our medical assistant program today.

Topics: Medical Assistant, Medical Assistant Program Toledo, OH., MA Program