Medical assistants (MA) and certified nursing assistants (CNA) are both important members of the health care team, but they have different roles and responsibilities. Understanding the difference between these two professions, as well as their educational and licensing requirements, can help you decide which one is right for you.
What’s the Difference Between a Medical Assistant and a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A medical assistant is a trained professional who works alongside physicians, nurses, and other health care providers to support patient care. They might work in medical offices, clinics, or hospitals.
MAs typically perform administrative and clinical tasks, such as taking patient histories, measuring vital signs, and preparing patients for examination. They may also assist with procedures, draw blood, and administer medication under the supervision of a physician or nurse.
Certified nursing assistants, on the other hand, are healthcare professionals who work under the direction of licensed nurses to provide direct care to patients. They are responsible for assisting patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They also take vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature, and assist with mobility and range of motion exercises. CNAs typically work in nursing homes, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.
How Do You Become a Medical Assistant?
To become a medical assistant, you typically need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a medical assisting program. These programs can be found at vocational schools, community colleges, and universities, and typically take about one year to complete. Some programs are even available online. Some states may require medical assistants to be certified, but this is not always the case.
While a certification is not required in California, many employers prefer it. The exam is administered by various organizations, such as the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants (CCBMA). Applicants must pass the basic examination and one specialty (either administrative or clinical).
How Do You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
To become a CNA, you typically need to complete a CNA training program and pass a certification exam. These programs can be found at vocational schools, community colleges, and adult education centers, and typically take about four to twelve weeks to complete. CNA programs are also available online, but there is a clinical portion(externship) that must be completed in person.
CNAs must be certified by the state in which they work, and must pass a criminal background check.
Where are the MA and CNA jobs near me?
Both medical assistants and certified nursing assistants are both important members of the health care team, but they have different roles and responsibilities. MAs typically work in outpatient settings, providing administrative and clinical support to physicians, while CNAs typically work in inpatient settings, providing direct care to patients. To become a medical assistant, you typically need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a medical assisting program, while to become a CNA, you typically need to complete a CNA training program and pass a certification exam.
Job opportunities for MAs and CNAs are in high demand and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. This is especially true in Southern California.
If you’ve completed your MA or CNA program and have the other necessary requirements, you can apply for MA and CNA jobs today at Eisenhower Health to get your medical career started. We not only provide a healthy work-life balance, but working in the Coachella Valley gives you access to world-class dining, shopping, wellness amenities, and outdoor activities.
Originally posted on 24/2/2023