medical assistant or nurse

  1. hi, I am a new member. I have enjoyed reading all of the postings and have actually gotten very motivated to go into nursing. Right now I have been taking a few classes towards certified medical assisting, but I am so confused, should I stay in MA and get certified or just go into nursing. Some classes for the CMA are also the same supporting classes needed for nursing. I am 33y/o, and I just can't seem to decide which to follow. Any advice? someone.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   ajf
    I say get your MA so that you can do that while your in nursing school. Any medical experience/exposure you have will help you in nursing school. It also opens doors for future RN jobs. I say go for it, meanwhile taking courses for your nursing degree. Also, when you get a MA job, let the nurses know you are in nursing school. Frequently they will show you more things than if you arn't a student! Good Luck.
  4. by   GLORIAmunchkin72
    I don't understand this reasoning. It's like doing the same thing twice and paying for the same thing twice. If you ever decide to quit the MA program and go directly to nursing school the credits are not transferable.
    Quote from ajf
    I say get your MA so that you can do that while your in nursing school. Any medical experience/exposure you have will help you in nursing school. It also opens doors for future RN jobs. I say go for it, meanwhile taking courses for your nursing degree. Also, when you get a MA job, let the nurses know you are in nursing school. Frequently they will show you more things than if you arn't a student! Good Luck.
  5. by   DSplendid
    Here is what I know...If in deed your taking an assoc. degree medical assistant program, (not just certified), then yes, some community colleges' do except those credits (mostly if the medical assistant program was at that college.) An example was a girl in my nursing class, she was a medical assistant, she had a degree in it. However, degree medical assistant programs are not really around anymore, and she took hers 9 years ago. So any class credit she could transfer was already out dated (sciences) I also know that your transferable sciences, are different. At least in my neck of the woods. For instance you don't have A&P or Microbiology, you have Medical Anantomy or Health care lab, Intro Microbiology...something like that. So just be very careful, find out first, if in fact some credits would be transferable.

    IMHO....start on nursing...if for some reason, you didn't get in or was wait listed...whatever, then medical assistant will always be there. I just feel, if you do medical assistant first...you'll work, you'll get comfortable, and then you won't go for your Nursing. But only you know you....Is the medical assistant program 9 mo's. vs. 2 years (min,) for Nursing, would it be easier, do you have children. That is what you have to ask yourself. But if Nursing is what you want, then I would just do that. Good luck -
  6. by   RN and Mommy
    Go to Nursing School! My mom has been a medical assistant for 25+ years and told me that she would never recommend it. She says the pay is not great (around $12/hour where we live). From what I understand, the classes do not transfer for your RN. If you are thinking about MA, check into LPN school instead. Your LPN classes transfer and you can usually get into an LPN to RN program that will only take around a year to complete. IMO, LPN or RN. NO MA. Good Luck!

    RN Student, Graduating in May 2006:hatparty:
  7. by   dawn1971
    I think there are other threads on this site regarding this subject....do a search! However, a MA has a MAJOR glass ceiling!
  8. by   pagandeva2000
    This is a late response to a thread that started last year. From what I have seen, medical assisting is primarily a day job with regular office hours. It may be hard to enter into a nursing program with such a position (if you really need to work), because most nursing programs are held during daytime hours. Also, working in a clinic may be unpredictable, especially if you are the only medical assistant around. It is not always a guarentee that you will leave exactly on time, and some clinics have late hours at least once a week, and some run on Saturdays. I am sure that by now, the OP has made his/her decision and is close to being on their way to the chosen career. Good luck!
  9. by   TheCommuter
    I completed a medical assisting program a little over 7 years ago, and I regard this move as a big career mistake. I was unable to ever find a job as a medical assistant because the local job market was flooded with many new MA grads. Now that I possess the LVN licensure, I have not had any problems landing a nursing position.
  10. by   Jenny67
    Hi,

    I have my AD in Medical Assisting, and am Certified thru the AANA.

    I decided to go the Medical Assisting route because I was tired of the Nursing waiting list.

    All of my credits were transferrable and when I finally entered the pre-nursing program I needed 5 pre-reqs (besides the nursing program/lab/clinical of course).

    I think each college is different in credits accepted from other colleges and this is where it gets rough. Thankfully all of mine were accepted.

    I have worked 5 years in Family Practice and 2 years in Pediatrics and chose to continue for my RN due to the lack of significance of my degree and certification, but most importantly the desire to be a "NURSE". Many organizations don't even look for CMA's as they can hire a person off the street with no degree, teach them on the job training and start them at less per hour/or the same per hour as a CMA.

    Concerning a post where I read about a glass ceiling, it is true that working as a CMA is typically doctor office based, a CMA can do anything under the roof of a health care facility as long as they have been trained appropriately by a MD.

    I have been very lucky and was able to work my pre-reqs around office hours working later on certain days tomake up for time missed etc.

    I personally am happy that I chose to become a CMA, but I would not recommend it if you are able to get into a RN program (or a LPN program) due to the extra financial cost. If I hadn't of pursued my CMA I would probably still be working as a CNA and my back would be in worse condition than it already is.

    Good Luck to you.
  11. by   Whitney09
    I am so happy to finally see someone say something positive about MA's I really want to become one but reading these people were discouraging me.
  12. by   ~Mi Vida Loca~RN
    Quote from Whitney09
    I am so happy to finally see someone say something positive about MA's I really want to become one but reading these people were discouraging me.
    There isn't anything wrong with becoming an MA, but if you want the flexibility and higher pay and ability to work in more areas then nursing would be the route to go. They are NOT the same thing nor the same scope of practice. Our hospital here doesn't hire MA's, they are primarily found in private Dr's offices (at a lot of places I know. Even the Family Practice center that is same company as our hospital primarily uses nurses.

    I know my mom is a CMA and her schooling was 16 months long back in 95/96 and she has really considered going into nursing for the reasons listed above. She makes a good wage in CA but COL is very high where she lives (san diego), my friends that are CMA's in WA and NH and the pay here is not very good. The nurses here that are new grades are making double. I saw a post saying it's the same thing and it's not and this is a big misconception.

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