Very Confused!

  1. Hi everyone! I'm very new & very confused! (Sorry if I posted this in the wrong place too!)

    My question....I am about to start school to get my Associates in Medical Assisting. The paper I am looking at says that I will be considered a CMA. What's the difference between a CMA and CNA? I don't wanna be doing paperwork all day. I would really love to work with patients or even more so in a hospital.
    Do I need to take this course first in order to become an RN? Because that's what I wanna do.

    Any help is greatly appreciated! I feel really silly. :uhoh21:
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    About jTank01

    Joined: Apr '07; Posts: 1

    14 Comments

  3. by   jetsetter
    medical assists generally work at doctor's offices, but there are other options. they can take vitals, give immunizations, that sort of thing. NO. this class is not related to getting an RN in any way, but any experience is always a good thing.
    A friend of mine just did this class and is in her clinicals, that's how I know about this.
    good luck!
  4. by   fultzymom
    A CNA is a Nursing Assistant who has taken et passed the test et is certified. A CMA can work in the MD's office does vitals, gives injections, acuchecks,ect. I think they can do insurance et some billing also. Either occupation could work directly with the pts. It would depend on what type of facility you prefer to work at.
  5. by   classicdame
    I recommend talking to a counselor in the nursing department of the school you plan to attend for guidance.
  6. by   emmycRN
    CNA=certified nursing assistant. CMA=certified medical assistant
    They are two different things but both include hands-on pt care. If you want experience in nursing, I would go CNA and on to nursing school ASAP. Working as a CNA in a hospital setting is valuable experience and you will really find out what nursing is all about.
  7. by   TazziRN
    Um......an Associate's Degree in medical assisting? MA is a certified position, not licensed. Most medical jobs that require a college degree are licensed.
  8. by   AnnieOaklyRN
    Personally I would not waste your time taking a two year MA program since you can go get your RN in the same amount of time with more money and many more options in the end. just my oppinion.

    Swtooth
  9. by   donsterRN
    Quote from TazziRN
    Um......an Associate's Degree in medical assisting? MA is a certified position, not licensed. Most medical jobs that require a college degree are licensed.
    Many schools offer an Associate's Degree in Medical Assisting.
  10. by   TazziRN
    Ah.......I learned something new!
  11. by   kat7ap
    I my opinion, if your ultimate goal is to be an RN then go for your CNA first. A CNA does the very basic nursing care, sometimes what we call "dirty work". Like bathing, dressing, incontinent care, bedpans, feeding, vital signs, and most importantly reporting to their nurse, because they are the eyes and ears for the nurse. However if you get a hospital job depending on where you work, you might get training to do a few more skilled things.

    CNA training is pretty short, from a few weeks to a couple months. I wouldn't waste my time with an associate degree CMA program if you want to be an RN. I had people in my nursing class who were CMA's and said it had been a waste of money considering their low starting wages. Also some RN programs require you to have your CNA as a prerequisite.
  12. by   chesara
    This has been good information for me. I'd like to be an LPN but I'm really wanting to jumpstart my career into the medical profession and was thinking of doing CNA first since it's the shortest course. Then after working a bit, get my LPN diploma, then eventually maybe RN. My only reservation about getting the CNA first is if I can't find a job right away, I might as well be in school for LPN instead. Many job advertisements ask for experienced CNA's but how can I get experience if I can't get hired for the "first job?" I think speaking to the counselors at whatever school one wants to attend is the best idea and what I plan to do. At least now I know not to pursue CMA since it wouldn't be a direct route into nursing.

    By the way, my niece is in school in Atlanta for CMA (all nights, less than a year program) and they are teaching that LPN's will become obsolete and CMA is the way to go. I don't know if that's true but I'd still rather go LPN because of the bridge to RN programs. I haven't seen any CMA to RN bridge programs so I think I have my answer on that one.
    Last edit by chesara on Apr 11, '07
  13. by   kat7ap
    Quote from chesara
    they are teaching that LPN's will become obsolete and CMA is the way to go.
    maybe more obsolete in Dr.'s offices... But LPN's are very much in demand in nursing homes, rehab, assisted living, home health, some acute care hospitals, where CMA's typically are not employed. There is no way that a CMA can take over an LPN's job in those settings.

    Another great thing about being a CNA or LPN is that you can have extremely flexible hours while you are going to school for your RN, which may not be possible if you had a 9-5 mon-fri office job.
  14. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from chesara
    By the way, my niece is in school in Atlanta for CMA (all nights, less than a year program) and they are teaching that LPN's will become obsolete and CMA is the way to go.
    Remember the source. Schools that pump out medical assistants don't want to lose prospective students to LPN programs, and vice versa.

    Aside from that, LPNs have a license to do much more, legally, than a CMA. They have a license, not a certificate. So as for who is more marketable, I think you'd have to know what the hiring is like in your area for different types of facilities. Many medical offices don't care if it's an LPN or a CMA they're hiring. They're usually interchangeable. But when it comes to nursing homes, the LPN wins the spot, not the CMA (unless the CMA is willing to work as a tech). When it comes to hospitals, the CMA isn't going to find employment AS a CMA, but only is going to find a spot as a care tech (nurse's aid, CNA, whatever). The LPN MAY find a spot in the hospital as a nurse, but only if it's in an area that still hires LPNs in hospital units. Some do, some don't, it varies greatly. And, of course, the RN is marketable anywhere.

    Look at what the job opportunities ARE in your region, and use that to make some sound decisions. Best of luck to you!

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