What’s the Difference Between a Medical Assistant and CNA in Palm Beach?

Medical Assistant

You love the idea of working a job that truly makes an impact, so you’re considering the healthcare field. You don’t necessarily want to be a doctor, but you’ve heard about other jobs, like medical assistant and certified nursing assistant, and they sound appealing. 

There’s plenty of demand for MAs and CNAs in the Palm Beach area, and now you want to know some of the differences between the two jobs so you can decide which one to pursue. We’ll compare and contrast the MA and CNA roles in this article.

Education Differences Between CNA and MA

Becoming a medical assistant requires a longer course of study than becoming a CNA, but both programs can be completed quickly. 

At Cambridge’s Palm Beach campus, our MA program is 36 weeks. Upon completion, you earn your MA diploma and are ready to take any certification exams that might be required for employment (the Basic X-Ray Operator exam, for example). 

Cambridge’s CNA program can be completed in only five weeks. It includes 120 clock hours and thoroughly prepares you for Florida’s Nursing Assistant Certification exam.

Medical Assistants Perform Both Clinical and Administrative Duties

MA jobs usually include a combination of working with patients and completing more office-related tasks. When it comes to working with patients, an MA might be responsible for measuring vital signs, drawing blood, applying bandages, sterilizing equipment and collecting lab specimens. Part of your day as an MA might also include administrative/business tasks like scheduling appointments, handling medical and insurance coding, and general office management. 

Certified Nursing Assistants Provide Patient Care Constantly

CNA jobs are focused solely on patient care; there are no administrative tasks. The CNA role tends to be more physically demanding as CNAs are responsible for moving patients who can’t move themselves, as well as helping patients bathe and dress. 

Being a CNA means you really get to know patients intimately, so your responsibilities also include spotting any changes in patient behavior or physical condition and reporting those changes to nurses.

What Are the Job Outlooks and Salaries for CNAs and MAs?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the demand for both MAs and CNAs to increase as the American population gets older and more people need care:

  • Demand for MAs should grow 18% by 2030, far faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Demand for CNAs should grow 8% by 2030, about as fast as average for all occupations

Medical assistants tend to make a few thousand dollars per year more than CNAs. The BLS reports that the 2020 median annual pay for MAs was $35,850 versus $30,850 for CNAs.

Explore the Programs at the Palm Beach Campus of Cambridge College

The Palm Beach campus of Cambridge College of Healthcare & Technology offers diplomas in medical assisting and certified nursing assisting. Our academic advisors are always here to explain more of the differences between a CNA and an MA so you can make the right choice. Call 877-206-4279 or send us a message to discuss your educational and job goals.