Medical Assistant / CNA Career

What You Do in This Career

Medical Assistants and Certified Nursing Assistants may sound like the same thing, but while the jobs are similar, the options for advancement are different. If you want to become a nurse go for the CNA. Medical assistants do not provide bedside care, which is the main difference between the two jobs since the other responsibilities mostly the same. Medical assistants interact with the public, but Nursing assistants interact primarily with patients and RNs or LPNs. CNAs also care for patients’ hygiene, helping them bathe and cleaning bedpans among other responsibilities. Medical assistants cannot work in nursing homes or in home health care, however, certified nursing assistants can. Certified nursing assistants generally answer patients’ call signals, record patients’ food and liquid intake and output, monitor vital signs, clean rooms and change linens.

Salary and Career Path

The median annual salary for a Certified Nursing Assistant is $26,630, although the top paid CNAs earn $35,377. Job security is good since there will be an increased demand for home health aides as the baby-boomer generation ages. While certification regulations vary by state, the National Association for Home Care offers national certification for home health aides. Opportunities for advancement are limited unless the Certified Nursing Assistant wants to pursue an Registered Nursing degree.

What Kind of Degree or Coursework You Need

State approved training programs require 50 hours of theory and 100 hours of supervised clinical training, and aides who complete the programs qualify to be put on the State registry of nursing aides. Nurse aides must participate in 48 hours of continuing education classes every two years to maintain certification. Since the nurse aide’s job is to primarily help patients, the coursework is necessarily more hands-on. No book can teach how to help a 98 year old walk to the bathroom. Becoming a Certified Nursing Aid is not required to become a registered nurse, but the experience may be beneficial for those who wish to become nurses.

Top Online Health Services Programs

Herzing University
AS in Medical Assisting
Herzing University — With a 45 year history, Herzing University is an accredited university that offers associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees as well as diplomas in over 45 different programs. The AS in Medical Assisting program builds on the online diploma program by incorporating the general education requirements required for this level of degree. Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Adventist University of Health Sciences
BS in Radiologic Sciences
Adventist University of Health Sciences — Founded in 1992, the Adventist University of Health Sciences is formerly the Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences, a school focused on privding higher education in the several fields of healthcare. The BS in Health Information Technology program prepares students to become radiologic technicians. Adventist University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Pima Medical Institute
BS in Radiologic Sciences
AOS in Radiography
Pima Medical Institute — Pima Medical Institute, founded in 1972, is a private, regionally accredited career university offering certificates, associate, and bachelor's degrees for careers in the healthcare industry. The BS in Radiologic Sciences program prepares students to perform the duties and responsibilies of a radiologists. Pima is accredited by organizations in several fields of healthcare including the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology

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