The healthcare field has been calling your name. Every time you’re at the doctor, you wonder what it’d be like to be the one wearing scrubs, assisting doctors and helping patients. Lately, that call has gotten too strong to ignore. You’re ready to stop daydreaming and start narrowing down your options for healthcare careers.
Committing to at least an associate’s degree to become a registered nurse sounds like too much for you right now. Luckily, there are plenty of other entry-level healthcare jobs to get your foot in the door of this satisfying field—you just might not know the difference between them. Two of those potentially confusing job titles are medical assistant (MA) and certified nursing assistant (CNA).
Deciding between a medical assistant versus a CNA career doesn’t have to be difficult. We’re breaking down the differences between these vital healthcare roles so you can take your vision further and choose the best healthcare position for your skills and interests. Keep reading to learn all the ins and outs of a medical assistant versus a CNA job.
Medical assistant vs. CNA: Job duties
Medical assistants enjoy the best of both worlds in healthcare facilities as they move between direct patient care and administrative tasks.
On the patient care side, their job duties typically include taking vital signs, administering shots and medication, preparing blood samples for lab testing and helping physicians complete exams. On the administrative side, you can find MAs scheduling appointments and keeping patient records up to date with correct family history and new information from the visit.
CNAs, on the other hand, work directly with patients all the time. They have less of a hand in traditional medical duties and instead focus on helping patients with basic care in hospitals or nursing homes.
Their job duties include helping patients get dressed, bathe or shower, eat their meals and transfer between a bed and a wheelchair. They also take patients’ vital signs and communicate their patients’ health concerns to nurses.