Should You Be a Medical Assistant or a Certified Nurse Assistant

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It is common among prospective students or trainees to have difficulty settling on the right career choice. Both medical assistant and certified nurse assistant jobs have seen noticeable growth in popularity in the past few years. Young people head over for these healthcare professions, because they don’t require intensive and time-consuming education mandatory for doctors and nurses, but at the same time provide access to the healthcare system and high job satisfaction to those who practice it. How to choose between being a medical assistant or a certified nurse assistant then? First you need to know what the actual difference is.

Medical Assistant
A medical assistant’s main responsibilities are centered around providing administrative and clinical help to physicians and nurses. The properly trained professional is able to assist doctors in patients’ admission, initial collection of health information, administering medications and other minor patient procedures. In addition, medical assistants are responsible for the maintenance of patient records and handling other relevant paperwork. According to this Top 50 Rated Medical Assistant Programs review, the special training programs for medical assistants provide full instruction and practical experience in both clinical and administrative tasks. These programs tend to be a bit more expensive than the programs for acquiring assistant nurse status, but affordable options are available as well. Consult this Top 50 Rated Medical Assistant Programs review for an idea of how long it takes to get certified in various organizations, as well as the costs associated with your training.

Certified Nurse Assistant
The certified nurse assistant’s duties are slightly different from those of the medical assistant and mainly include patient care. A certified nurse assistant may expect to be responsible for patients’ daily hygiene regimen (bathing, wiping, grooming, etc.), feedings and all other bedside care. Nurse assistants have no administrative responsibilities. These trained professionals usually find work in either hospitals or nursing homes. Sometimes they are even hired in private homes to take care of old patients. Training and certification for nurse assistants is more affordable, but they can expect lower income, compared to medical assistants as well.

So, the main decision making factor remains the question whether you are really determined to help people, no matter what tasks you are asked to perform, in which case you should select a career as a certified nurse assistant, or whether you feel more comfortable being in charge of administrative duties, in which case you should go for obtaining medical assistant certification. If you have set your mind on pursuing a medical assistant’s course of training, it might be useful to carefully examine the Top 50 Rated Medical Assistant Programs review to find the optimal training program. Some of the organizations listed actually offer certified nurse assistant programs as well and it might be a good idea to choose an institution, which offers both in case you end up changing your mind and deciding to go in the other direction. Please, note that the Top 50 Rated Medical Assistant Programs review is based on objective factors such as graduation rate, retention rate and overall rating.

5 Personal Qualities That Make It Difficult for You to Start Your Medical Assistant Career

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Sometimes, motivation and determination alone are not enough for being the right fit for a chosen career. Every profession requires a set of personal qualities that would make a candidate successful, so honestly approaching yourself and assessing your personality can help avoid future disappointment or highlight areas where you can take conscious actions toward improvement. We are taking a serious look at some character traits that are counterproductive for the aspiring medical assistant and suggesting strategies for dealing with them. So, what qualities are either not typical or downright foreign to the good medical assistant? The ideal candidate is NOT:

Selfish – If you are considering a career in medical assistance, you probably already know that it revolves chiefly around helping people. Displaying some degree of selflessness when taking on your tasks is then essential for thriving in your new job position. Timely reaction to a doctor’s requests or providing a comfortable experience for patients must come first with the dedicated medical assistant.

Squeamish – Do you feel comfortable being in a hospital setting? Are you bothered by hospital smells? Are you strong enough to be around wounds, serious health problems and bodily fluids? You must truthfully answer this question for yourself before you proceed to embarking on a medical assistant career. Check out this great resource for a list of training programs that provide realistic practice to acquaint you with your future duties.

Impatient – Patience is another quality that is key for a successful medical assistant career and it should not be underestimated. Taking care of ill or old people, providing information to family and relatives may require a certain degree of tolerance and empathy. You cannot rush through your duties if you expect to provide quality patient care. Strategies for dealing with difficult patients, family members or uncooperative colleagues are discussed at length in the best medical training programs (a detailed listing can be found here:

Unsociable – If you are not up to communicating with doctors, nurses or patients for a major portion of your time alongside answering phone calls and helping out concerned family members and hope to hide out in heaps of paperwork, this might not be the right profession for you. While it is not a matter of changing your personality (as this is simply not possible), some programs offer detailed training in handling these interactions, so that they are less stressful or burdensome for you. Carefully select a program (here is the list: that can help you work through this problem before giving up on the career completely.

Scattered – A good medical assistant is meticulously organized. You need to know where everything is, where people are supposed to be at what times, what procedures or other actions need to be performed, and basically coordinate a massive flow of paperwork and people (both medical staff and patients), so impeccable organization skills are a must. Head over to to choose a training program to help you hone these skills with a variety of practical methods.


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