Medical Assistant vs CNA has become the most of the searched topics in medical education world. The Healthcare industry is among the fastest-growing industries in the US. If you wish to build your career in this domain, you should first attend a medical school and understand the basics of these professions. With steady growth, this industry is known to offer some of the most progressive and versatile employment opportunities to the deserving candidates. 

Medical assistant vs cna
Medical assistant vs cna

Medical Assistant vs CNA – Outlook

Medical assistants and CNA are two of the most popular profiles of this sector. Interestingly, these roles are quite similar in many ways. At the same time, they also have some significant differences in terms of educational requirements and responsibilities. Let’s explore the different aspects of medical assistant vs cna salary, job roles and skills required to help you in choosing the right career path for yourself. 

You see, medical assistants are the health professionals who work to support the primary line of medical defense, the physicians. They are also actively involved with other medical professionals. 

Also called clinical assistants, these professionals work majorly in ambulatory or outpatient care facilities, like clinics and medical offices. Medical assistants are also cross-trained to handle both administrative and clinical functions. You can also look for medical assistant training .

Medical assistant vs CNA: How to be a successful healthcare professional?

In most cases, any individual working in a healthcare setting possesses the following characteristics:

  • Compassion
  • Kindness
  • Patience 

Although this may be accurate, rather than possessing a kind spirit, there is more to being a health practitioner. No matter whether you’re a hospital nurse, a medical assistant, or a CNA, you must have a feeling for your patient.

All great health practitioners possess those talents, attributes, and values that make them good at what they do. Before we discuss the difference between a medical assistant vs CNA, let us, therefore, evaluate the key attributes that you must have in order to succeed in the world of healthcare.

Passion for the mission 

First and foremost, it’s very important that you are passionate about what you do if you’re trying to join the healthcare business.

  • It isn’t about a task that will end at the end of the day, it’s a dedication to helping people.
  • Your job can be frustrating and demanding, but still satisfying, so you just need to enjoy what you do. 
  • It’s about having the right mentality and waking up every day, optimistic about what lies ahead, trusting that you can make a difference, no matter how large or small. 

Strong communication skills are mandatory 

It’s a rule of thumb for health practitioners to be able to interact effectively with patients. You’re not going to be spending all day in front of a computer. Rather, you would require meeting with people day in, day out, and building relationships.

In order to be respected and encouraged, you need to be able to listen and communicate with your patients and their family, consider their needs and be able to articulate their treatment plan in a manner that makes sense to them.

Multitasking capacity 

You will find yourself caring for several patients at one time while working in healthcare. A regular day will see you doing the following; if you are working in a hospital setting:

  • Checking in with any of your patients
  • Reviewing their health and well-being
  • Assisting with medicine
  • Liaising with doctors and nurses on their progress
  • Keeping your records up to date

There are many other things going on at once, so the ability to multitask is a must-have. Otherwise, your job may turn out to be an extremely stressful one. In our debate, no matter which side you support; medical assistant vs CNA, you should practice multitasking.

Stay productive and fit 

If you’re employed in a healthcare role, it’s pretty much a given that you will be on your feet for most of the day. You might also need to lift large items from time to time to get around the patients. So, you’ve got to be fit physically.

While you are not supposed to be a super athlete in any way, you need a moderate level of fitness so that you can keep up with the fast-paced nature of the job. This is particularly true if you are working in a hospital, checking in on your patients from room to room.

Not only are you supporting people with their wellbeing, but with all that walking, you’re still clocking up some pretty amazing miles!

Strong skills for problem-solving 

Every day is distinct from another when you are employed in healthcare. There is often a new task or dilemma, often in a very limited period of time, that you will need to solve. Hence, you need strong critical thinking capability.

Now, let us focus on our discussion: medical assistant vs CNA.

CNA vs Medical Assistant : Job Description

The major responsibilities of a medical assistant are:

  • Assisting doctors during medical examinations
  • Performing laboratory tests
  • Taking medical histories
  • Filling forms and coding 
  • Updating medical records
  • Managing the bookkeeping and billing functions
  • Explaining the probable treatment options and procedures
  • Collecting specimen for laboratory analysis
  • Preparing patients for the medical examinations

As we are discussing on the topic about cna vs medical assistant, one should have a clear knowledge on what a CNA is before going through its job descriptions.

What is a CNA
What is a CNA

What is a CNA?

CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) work directly and closely with the patients. They are healthcare professionals who help patients with certain healthcare needs. They work under direct guidance and supervision of a licensed or registered practical nurse. Also look out for accelerated nursing programs Houston

CNAs work in different places like nursing homes, hospitals, personal residences, adult care facilities, and supporting living facilities. In some critical cases, they also attend patients at their homes. Hope you got a basic idea on what is a cna and what their job roles are.

CNA job description:

The major responsibilities of CNAs are:

  • Assist patients in their basic living activities
  • Measure vital signs
  • Listen to the health issues of patients
  • Addressing patient problems and issues
  • Housekeeping 
  • Administering vaccinations
  • Recording patient medical history and symptoms
  • Performing catheterization
  • Performing diagnostic tests
  • Administering medications by IVs
  • Educating patients about their health conditions

The above mentioned points basically clears the idea of CNA job description. Once you properly get to know about CNA, you will be able to explore more.

Difference Between Medical Assistant and CNA

For gain more knowledge about these fields, let’s have a look at the major differences between these two professions based on:

  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Education
  • Scope of practice
  • Employment outlook and salary
  • Skills required

Can a Medical Assistant Work as a CNA : Duties and Responsibilities

You see, as we are discussing on the topic, certified medical assistant vs CNA, it is clear that they both handle a wide range of responsibilities that include patient care along with administrative duties. But still there are few job differences to know about.

Medical assistants have to strictly follow the instruction of the physicians. Whereas, CNAs also need to follow the doctor’s orders, but they are more involved in formulating patient care plans. The type of administrative work handled by both profiles is also quite different.

Medical assistants are more into answering phone calls, scheduling patients, and so on. Whereas, CNAs handle administrative tasks related to patient care only like writing care plans, recording their symptoms, and so on. This was a small idea on Medical Assistant vs CNA responsibilities.

Is a Medical Assistant the Same as a CNA : Scope of Practice

Medical assistants are responsible to work directly under the guidance of a licensed doctor, or, at times, a registered nurse. On the other hand, a CNA works as per their license. They can either be a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse. 

This offers them a wider scope of practice than medical assistants. Somehow in the topic of Medical Assistant vs CNA, CNA’s lead in this field. They also undergo more complex and skilled training sessions, enabling them to perform more complex and skill roles for the patients. 

Medical Assistant program vs CNA
Medical Assistant program vs CNA

CNA vs Medical Assistant

You see, medical assistants are required to complete a 2-year degree program to pursue a career in this field. Some of them are also trained on the job by participating in special employer-led training programs. Apart from this, some reputed and accredited online training programs are also available for aspiring candidates. Knowledge of Coding and billing adds extra stars to your medical assistant degree. Check out medical coding and billing schools near me for more information.

CNAs, on the other hand, need to complete advanced training to become a certified professional. The first step is to learn the fundamentals of this industry and gain relevant experience through clinical work. 

Once their education is completed, they can officially become a CNA by clearing a state-level mandate competency exam. It is to be noted that some states might have additional requirements like completing continuing education or clearing a background check. 

Medical Assistant vs CNA salary – Employment outlook

A good job profile is a perfect amalgamation of a satisfying job with a handsome salary package. The Bureau of labor statistics predicts that the market for medical assistants is expected to grow exponentially by 29% in the coming years. Moreover, they can enjoy a median salary of $32,480 on an annual basis.

On the other hand, CNAs can also expect significant job growth in the coming years. Also it has been cleared in what is a CNA topic about who they are and what they do. The Bureau of labor statistics predicts a growth of 11% in their demand by the year 2022. The annual median salary for a CNA is around $32,860. 

Skills Needed

Every profession comes with its set of skills and traits. Let’s have a look at the primary skills required in Medical Assistant vs CNA:

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants can work in the capacity of clinical medical assistant, administrative medical assistant, certified medical assistant, and registered medical assistant. Their primary skills are:

  • Vital signs measurements
  • Proactiveness
  • Knowledge about injections
  • Quick decision making
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Analytical skills
  • Detail-oriented


CNAs are expected to have impeccable knowledge about topics like anatomy, personal care, patients’ rights, physiology, nutrition and care, infection control, and first aid. A good CNA is the one who has skills like:

  • Home health assistance
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • ADLS knowledge
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Physical stamina

Medical assistant vs CNA has always been an important topic of discussion for industry experts. If you also aim to join the healthcare industry in the future, make sure you are well-aware of the basic differences of both the professions. For the right selection of colleges and courses, do contact us. Leave your details below and we’ll call you back. We are also available at