For those who haven’t ever worked in the medical field, all the acronyms for the different types of professionals can be quite confusing. There are MDs, RNs, NPs, CNAs, LPNs, CMAs, EMTs, and MAs. Today, however, we are going to shed a bit of light on two of these health care careers and help you decide which one is best for you: CNA or MA.
CNA stands for certified nursing assistant, while MA stands for medical assistant. These are two of the most confused careers, mainly because they are so similar. The majority of the tasks required of these two after MA and CNA training are the same. Both can take vital signs, record medical information such as input and output, conduct in-home visits, and assist patients with basic mobility. There are some significant differences, however, that you should be aware of.
Differences Between MA and CNA Training
- CNAs work under the supervision of nurses, like LPNs and RNs. They act as mediators between patients and nurses. MAs, on the other hand, work under doctors.
- After CNA training, CNAs can provide basic bedside care. They can assist patients with bathing, dressing, perineal care, catheter care, and change an occupied bed. Medical assistants cannot.
- Medical assistants cannot work in nursing homes. This is because nursing homes generally do not have a doctor on staff, and an MA has to work under a doctor’s supervision. Because of this, MA jobs are not as readily available as those for individuals who have completed CNA training.
- CNA training can take as little as three weeks to complete, although some programs may take up to one year. MA training is guaranteed to take one to two years to complete.
- Not every state actually requires MA training. Sometimes a high school diploma and some on-the-job training is all that is needed.
- Most states require those who complete CNA training to earn their certification before becoming employed. On the contrary, while MAs can earn their certification, it isn’t always required. However, many do simply because some employers are more likely to hire those who are certified.
- Those who finish CNA training can expect to earn $24,010 a year, while those who complete MA training can earn higher wages, about $30,170.
CNA Training or MA Training?
When you’re trying to decide whether or not to take CNA training or MA training, consider all the distinct differences between the two. While MA training may allow you to work under the supervision of a doctor, that does not necessarily mean it is better. Actually, it has some significant downfalls. As an MA, you are restricted in the tasks you complete, even though you spend almost the same amount of time in school as you would if you became an LPN. It might be harder to find a job as well, because you have to work with a doctor. On the other hand, attending CNA training means you can enter the medical field quickly and work almost anywhere you want to.
So, what’s your choice? MA or CNA training?