Certified Nursing Assistants provide intimate and bedside care to patients. Often they are responsible for meeting basic needs of their patients, which include feeding, bathing, dressing, and recording vital signs. Certified Nursing Assistants report directly to the Registered Nurse on staff.
Medical assistants help physicians during examinations, prepare necessary medical equipment, and collect specimens that are to be sent out to the lab for testing. Medical Assistants report to the doctors they are assisting.
Although both positions play the part of a team helper, the Medical Assistant often earn a couple more dollars an hour than the Certified Nursing Assistants. This may be due to the fact of the hierarchy of the medical staffing (The CNA assists nurses while Medical Assistants work with doctors) as well as the amount of training it takes to become a Medical Assistant.
According to recent facts collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage of a Certified Nursing Assistant is anywhere from $10-$14. The median wage for a Medical Assistant ranges from $11-$16 per hour.
Training Requirement Differences
In order to become licensed, Certified Nursing Assistants must complete 75 hours of training. This makes for a pretty quick entrance into the medical field. On the other hand, Medical Assistants are required to have a one year certificate, or a two year associate degree. Of course this extra training is not something that everyone has the time or financial ability to complete, which again, is one of the reasons why a career as a CNA is so attractive.
Other Factors that Affect Pay
There are certain areas that offer higher pay rates to both Medical Assistants and Certified Nursing Assistants. For example, if you live in Phoenix or Chicago, your average annual salary as a CNA can range between $32,000 and $34,000. On the opposite end of the spectrum, both Dallas and Houston were 2009′s lowest paying cities for CNAs. Average income for these Texas cities were between $27,000 and $29,000.
For Medical Assistants, Chicago came in at $41,000, while Houston averaged just at $36,000.
Place of employment also affects the annual salary levels of both Medical Assistants and Certified Nursing Assistants. Working in a hospital, especially a surgical or teaching hospital will improve your chances of landing a job that pays out the highest annual wage. Surprisingly, obtaining a job with a private practice physician doesn’t pay as well as one might think. Working in a doctor’s office generally earns two to three dollars less than the starting rate at a hospital. A hospital also offers the job security that a private practice may not.
Regardless of where you choose to work and which career path you take in the medical field, be sure that you are choosing the environment that will prove to be the most rewarding in the long run. A proper balance of happiness with your facility and a comfortable pay scale is the way to go. By balancing these two vital factors properly, you’ll have what it takes to stick with your career for the long haul.