Are CNAs and Medical Assistants the same?

The short answer to the above question is no, both of these CNA and Medical Assistans job titles have many differences between them. However, there are also a lot of similarities between them which is why it is possible for a lot of people to confuse them.

Where they work and what they do

CNAs and medical assistants mostly work in similar places and have somewhat similar tasks, but there are some differences. Both work in hospitals, clinics and private practices, but CNAs tend to work under RNs or LPNs, while medical assistants are more likely to take orders from office managers or physicians. CNA job descriptions include checking the patients’ vitals, providing bedside care, feeding and bathing the patients, updating charts and other such tasks, while medical assistants help with procedural or administrative preparations and housekeeping.

Educational requirements

To become a CNA you need to complete 75 hours of training at an accredited school and get certified by passing a competency test. This can be done right out of high school at a community college over a course of 6 months. On the other hand, medical assistants don’t have any specific education requirement or certification and licensure required by the state, but individual employers may have their own requirements in their hiring process.

Pay and Career outlook

If you’re looking for a career in the healthcare field, especially as an LPN or an RN, a CNA is a better place to start than a medical assistant. This is because your hour or training as a CNA can be credited towards your nursing school, while as a medical assistant you will have to start from scratch. You may also be able to demand a higher salary as a CNA as you will be certified. Both jobs, much like any job in the healthcare industry, are expected to grow faster than average in the next 5 years.

What you eventually decide to do will depend on your personal preferences and requirements, but if you plan to advance your career as a nurse it is much more beneficial to go with working as a CNA.