Jump to content

CNA vs CMA and training

Nurses   (7,202 Views 8 Comments)
by jstreat0418 jstreat0418 (New Member) New Member

555 Profile Views; 1 Post

I recently separated from the Army as a medic. My ultimate goal is to become a physician assistant, however I would like to get a degree in Nursing first. So my question is in the mean time to get a good paying position applying/learning new skills towards my goal is it better to become a CNA or a CMA until I am ready to go to nursing school. Also is it even an option to test out of any classes in either program, or just take the certification? I have been looking online trying to answer my own question and it seems everything I have found says that I have to graduate from an accredited program before I can become certified....any thoughts/advice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Xbox Live Addict has 8 years experience and specializes in LTC/SNF, Psychiatric, Pharmaceutical.

473 Posts; 8,292 Profile Views

I recently separated from the Army as a medic. My ultimate goal is to become a physician assistant, however I would like to get a degree in Nursing first. So my question is in the mean time to get a good paying position applying/learning new skills towards my goal is it better to become a CNA or a CMA until I am ready to go to nursing school. Also is it even an option to test out of any classes in either program, or just take the certification? I have been looking online trying to answer my own question and it seems everything I have found says that I have to graduate from an accredited program before I can become certified....any thoughts/advice?

Generally, CNA and CMA certification mandate x number of minimum hours of training at a state-approved CNA/CMA training program. As far as I know, no state allows a person to become certified until they are documented to have completed all the required training, under any circumstances.

Getting a CNA/CMA may give you an idea of some of the fundamentals of patient care, and may help you decide whether you want to continue on in becoming a licensed nurse. However, CNAs are very limited in scope of practice. They are oriented towards basic patient care tasks such as feeding, hygiene, and vital signs. They are not allowed to act on situations that require nursing judgement, and MUST report these situations to the charge nurse for follow-up. That said, an observant CNA can be an real asset to a nurse.

Notably, certain nursing programs may count your experience as an Army medic towards your nursing program, or at the very least, your experience may improve your chances of being admitted into a program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HeartsOpenWide is a RN and specializes in Ante-Intra-Postpartum, Post Gyne.

2 Articles; 2,889 Posts; 26,507 Profile Views

I recently separated from the Army as a medic. My ultimate goal is to become a physician assistant, however I would like to get a degree in Nursing first. So my question is in the mean time to get a good paying position applying/learning new skills towards my goal is it better to become a CNA or a CMA until I am ready to go to nursing school. Also is it even an option to test out of any classes in either program, or just take the certification? I have been looking online trying to answer my own question and it seems everything I have found says that I have to graduate from an accredited program before I can become certified....any thoughts/advice?

My first question to you is why you would want to do nursing before becoming a PA. PA degrees do not require this, and if you become a RN first you might as well get your FNP.

Either CNA or CMA would be good for you; CNA for the nursing part and CMA to get the office part of it (unless of course you plan on being a PA in a hospital setting instead of an office) I worked with two PA-C that were CMA before to get the required hours of hands on experience before getting into a program. Talk to Roy Faulker on here (at least if I remember correctly he is a PA-C) PA programs are more competitive to get into because they require less than the FNP which is changing to a MSN entry level and DNP exiting.

I do not know about challenging the CNA, but in California I know that some nursing homes will train you while you work for them.

As far as CMA in my state, you have to have graduated from an accredited MA program or have certain number hours experience to take the certification exam; although I am not sure how many because I did the education route.

Advice? If you want to become a PA-C don't bother with nursing school first (or just go ahead and go the FNP DNP rout if you do) and become a CMA to get the number of hours while you take your pre-reqs (some schools give you your PA in a certificate of achievement way, others you have a AS and other even hire degrees. My friend graduated from UCDavis with a certification)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

78 Posts; 3,051 Profile Views

I`m a hospital Tech atm with no Certifications. I`ve looked into becoming a CMA, & CNA. The CNA is the cheaper route. Do not waste any money or GI Bill or Army Benefits on becoming a CMA.

CMA= Physician. or Health Care Instutes Attempt to replace nurses with Cheaply paid contair part. This may depend on were you live to. Do Not go for any CMA program that produces an assoicates degree. The same amount of money could get you Assoicates degree as a RN.

In Indiana anyway you can become a RN for as little as 9k. Sad thing is the same 9k is used to turn people into CMA at the local community college. You can become a LPN for half the cost and make more money.

You can become a CNA for about $700 dollars in Indiana. Some nursing homes will train you for free. However, there will be obligation to work for a period of time. Depending on your military rank as a Medic you might be able to challenge State boards to be a LPN. At the very least Medic= EMT B. You definately can challenge the state board for EMT Certification.

Becoming a Physican Assistant is going to be costly on money. Use whatever money you get from the Armed Forces towards that. Or at the very least make sure whatever course you take the credits transfer over.

Personally, I just want to be either a LPN or Paramedic. however I don`t see it happening personally. This is do to finances, family, time, & bills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perpetual Student has 4+ years experience and specializes in PACU.

682 Posts; 9,294 Profile Views

Are you an EMT-B? If so, I recommend getting a volunteer EMS position and a job as an ER tech. This will be decent experience to prepare you for PA school. You might be better served just completing whatever prerequisites (and bachelor's degree, if needed for the programs you're interested) and applying to PA school without ever becoming a nurse. Your experience as a military medic, combined with civilian hospital and/or EMS experience, will make you a competitive candidate for many PA programs assuming you also have decent grades and meet all of the other requirements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

86 Posts; 2,027 Profile Views

It depends on where you want to work and what you want to do. If you want to work in-patient or long term care, then CNA is for you. Your skills will be based on bed-side care of the patient. Training is quick and cheap and just about any training program will prepare you for the CNA exam in your state.

If you want to work in a medical office, do injections, EKGs, phlebotomy, learn about insurance/coding and the U.S. health care system, then you want to be a CMA. You must graduate from a CAAHEP-accredited program in order to sit for the CMA exam through the AAMA (You can read more about this on their Web site). It will likely take 1.5 to 2 years, depending on what credits you have going in.

PA entry requirements vary wildly from program to program. You may want to zone in on 3 or 4 programs you would like to apply to eventually and look at the requirements for each. The prerequisite courses are likely very close, but each may be a little different. Some require a Bachelor Degree, some require a minimum of 90 hours of college coursework with specific classes needed (A&P, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, psychology, etc.). You will need to make sure that any MA courses you take will transfer for any potential PA program so you won't need to retake things like A&P.

Best of luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

49 Posts; 2,158 Profile Views

When you search online, punch 'Challenge letter CNA'. You will see where you can use some training as credit, instead of taking the classes for CNA. My LPN classes, qualified me to simply take my test for certification. I passed my cert for CNA, and I am working while finishing my LPN school. Good luck!:twocents::up::D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pagandeva2000 is a LPN and specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

7,984 Posts; 25,821 Profile Views

I think it is better to take the CNA course with the additional classes in EKG and phlebotomy rather than CMA, because it is cheaper and CNAs have more options for employment. CNAs work in hospitals, nursing homes, home care (as home health aides), clinics and even doctor's offices if they have the phlebotomy and EKG piece, while the CMA course basically trains one to work in a doctor's office. They do not learn bedside care (while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it does limit places to work) and most of the CMA programs are too darned expensive for either not being able to find a position after completion and the pay is not much. As mentioned most can do LPN and RN programs for either the same or cheaper than what a CMA program charges.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×