Medical Assistant During Nursing School?

Updated | Posted
by emilynuhwin emilynuhwin, CNA (New) New


Hi everyone! 🙂

Has anyone worked as a medical assistant during nursing school? Do you think it was beneficial for you? If so, all of your input is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 11,078 Posts

Moved to General Nursing Students for best responses. 

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience. 14,276 Posts

I am the nurse manager of a family practice clinic, and 3 of my MAs are currently in nursing school. I think absolutely, being an MA or CNA will only be beneficial - you learn valuable skills regarding interacting with patients, basic patient care, how to navigate around an EMR, etc. The only problem with being an MA is most places that employ MAs are M-F 8-5 type organizations (clinics) which may be challenging to schedule your clinicals around (every MA I've known who was working towards becoming an RN had to go per diem once they got to clinicals). Whereas a CNA can usually find work in a hospital, doing 12s, working nights, generally being better able to work around a school schedule.


emilynuhwin, CNA

14 Posts

Hi! Thank you for responding! Are you MAs certified or not? I recently applied for a medical assistant job in a derm clinic with no prior medical experience except in nursing clinical. Do you think it would be beneficial if I am certified as a MA or start here and branch out to different areas of being a medical assistant? 🙂

I also applied for multiple CNA jobs in hospitals but most of them require me to work 12 hour shifts. 😕

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience. 14,276 Posts

Prior to the pandemic our organization required MAs to either be an RMA or CMA. However, due to staffing shortages, they have since waived that requirement, and now hire non-certified MAs, as well as EMTs, in our clinics. My clinic only has one non-certified MA, who was hired before I came aboard (my personal preference is for MAs to have certification/registration, and if I have two otherwise equal candidates, I will choose the one who went through the process to become certified).

As far as your question, that completely depends upon what your goals are, and where you are in the process of nursing school.

Queen Tiye, RN

228 Posts

Congratulations on beginning your nursing journey.  If I'm not mistaken, MA programs are nine months long, they are also generally paid less than CNAs.  My CNA program was five weeks.  You might see more illnesses and higher acuities as a CNA in a hospital.  Do you hope to work in a clinic or inpatient setting?



Has 8 years experience. 430 Posts

I did not personally but some of my friends did. The benefit is your bedside manner and compassion will kick in way sooner. LOL! It Took me a while. I was afraid of every bodily fluid when I first started, and I liked nana’s and pop pop’s but I didn’t understand how other people could be so angry and demanding so I wanted to quit.  


Has 6 years experience. 1,691 Posts

Hi, getting a nursing student extern is key during nursing school. It really depends on your future goals whether you want to work in an acute setting, doctor office, rehab facility, nursing home, etc. I would like to suggest other non nursing roles that teach critical thinking and team collaboration such as medication Technician, unit Secretary, medical Scribe or EMT.