CMA or nursing??


I am starting my A.A.S in Medical Assisting this spring but with all the new graduates and the lack of jobs I am worried that this is a bad investment. I worry that the pay is not what I thought it would be and that there is a lack of respect for this profession. I have been thinking that I should just go ahead and get my nursing degree but I worry about the competition on getting in the school, the TEAS test (it has been awhile since I have had some science and math), trying to work while I am going, the stress, the death of a patient, burnout, and the hours. I work in retail now and I hate that I have to work every holiday and can't spend time with my family. These were the reasons I chose medical assisting instead but if the job market is bad and the money and respect aren't there then I am rethinking my decision. I don't want to spend all the money on student loans and either not get a job or get low wages when I can do that without an education. I already have an associates degree in liberal arts. My husband was in the navy and we moved ALOT and every school wanted you to take regionally accepted courses so I got frustrated and just put my courses together for the degree. But now that I am able to go back to school I also feel funny getting another associates degree. I only need Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2 before going in any direction I decide. Any advice??

Specializes in LTC. Has 6 years experience.

Nursing will offer you better pay and more opportunities than being a CMA. Since you are concerned about the money and jobs available, I would definetly consider doing nursing. Maybe you can become a LPN first and than RN. The LPN program is usually 12-15 months( depending on school), and the RN can be completed in 2 years or 1 year if you do the accelerated program. Good luck. Please do lots of research so that you can make an informed decision based on your circumstances and the info you have gathered.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

Keep in mind that as a nurse you will probably have to work some weekends and holidays...

Specializes in LTC. Has 6 years experience.
Keep in mind that as a nurse you will probably have to work some weekends and holidays...

It also depends where you work in nursing. There are so many different areas to work in nursing... you can work anywhere between beside nursing to school nursing to legal nursing to school nursing. School nurses have all weekends and holidays off.


6 Posts

Keep in mind that as a nurse you will probably have to work some weekends and holidays...

That was one of the reasons I chose medical assisting but I am having second thoughts. I make almost what a MA makes now plus weekends, holidays, and I have to deal with rude people lol. So why go to school for another year for the same pay. I was given some wrong information on pay. Not that I expected to make alot but I thought it was at least $12/hour. I think the job market is getting flooded with MA's as well. I am going to a community college that offers an LPN and a RN program so I just wanted some advice. I realize nurses carry a great deal more responsibility and I don't want to make this decision lightly and only because of pay. I want to be in healthcare and help people but I am not sure if nursing is what I should do. I have heard about the burnout and difficult patients and not having enough nurses to adequately care for the patients. I know that would bother me a great deal but I also know that it could be the place they work. So I guess I wanted to know the pros and cons of the nursing profession.

you can do cma work as an lpn but you can not do lpn work as a cma. good luck


7 Posts

I hope this helps. I went to school to be a CMA 12 years ago. Ended up being a bar tender for lack of jobs and pay. I am now in my last year of nursing school with a much brighter outlook for the future. Good luck in whatever you decide.

pagandeva2000, LPN

7,984 Posts

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I think that an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting will not go far. The pay will probably not be enough to pay off loans and it may be difficult to find a job. While, yes, I can say that becoming a nurse would be more rewarding and get you further, the process of applying to nursing schools and acceptance is competitive, long and tedious. If you are serious about medical assisting, then, I would look for a CMA program in a community college. It would be much cheaper...maybe $2000 tops and it can be completed within 4-9 months.

patrick1rn, MSN, RN, NP

1 Article; 420 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

yea bad idea to go to a medical assisting job. bad idea... go to RN school


1,975 Posts

I'd look into a community college RN program. The cost won't be bad and the RN pay will be much better than that of a MA. You will also have better advancement opportunities and a wider range of places you can work available to you.


2 Posts

I am currently a CMA making $14/hr straight out of school. I have been working about 5months now and I feel like I get no respect as an MA and I work very hard, I am currently in the process of applying to nursing school after already spending 15k on medical assisting school. I recommend an RN program.

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