Pre-nursing student seeking advice: MA vs CNA?

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by H.marie H.marie (New) New

MA vs CNA: Which contributes more to a good nursing school application?

  1. 1. MA vs CNA: Which contributes more to a good nursing school application?

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12 members have participated

This topic is an inquiry. I am at the beginning of my journey to becoming a nurse. I am 25 and currently completing pre-reqs. My short term goal is to take on either a CNA or MA certificate so that I can begin to gain some clinical experience and exposure to prep myself for nursing school. I am having a tough time deciding which certificate to pursue. The MA takes so much more time and will likely push applications to nursing school back a whole year, but I have had so many people tell me how much I am going to hate being a CNA. I'm tough I know I can handle being a CNA as long as I feel like it is truly going to help me become a better nurse. I really want to be a nurse, and a good one at that. I am seeking advice from the nursing community on this decision and any other advice you would like to offer to someone who has little to no medical experience, but will be beginning applications in the upcoming year. Thank you.

oldsockventriloquist

1 Article; 210 Posts

I think it depends on where you are at with your prerequisites. If you are just starting, maybe you could take MA classes, along with your prerequisite classes. It also depends on when you are starting your program. Meaning if you are not starting for a year and can somehow finish an MA program in that time, it might be worth it. To me, from a work standpoint, it would seem MA would be more fun, since you are doing blood draws, vaccines, etc. that you cannot do as a CNA. If it would delay the start of your nursing program, then I would not do MA, instead I would do CNA, if needed. If the program does not care about your licenses or clinical exposure, I might find a job that pays more than a CNA. Although if you do have a CNA, you can work and network, while you're in nursing school or pre-nursing.

I loved being a CNA and it was a good introduction to nursing.

WanderingWilder

WanderingWilder, ASN

Specializes in Med-Surg. 385 Posts

I wouldn't delay nursing school in order to be a MA first. Cna is a much shorter course. So if you really wanted to start working in health care I'd do that. Also some rn schools require a cna before you are admitted so you may want to look into that with the schools you want to apply too. Before deciding.

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 11 years experience. 3 Articles; 5,540 Posts

Start nursing school and you won't need a CNA certificate you can just get a job as a NS

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience. 2 Articles; 2,552 Posts

Hi H.Marie. is there a reason you just don't go to LPN/RN school? I don't know of any CNA/MA bridges to LPN or RN school. In the geographic area where I live, CNA's get far more hands on patient contact than MA's. Yet, having that clinical experience doesn't guarantee doing well on the theory side (aka clinical thinking / clinical judgement) side of nursing school.

pixiestudent2

993 Posts

I wouldn't put off being nursing school to gain either certification.

AliNajaCat

AliNajaCat

1,035 Posts

Hi H.Marie. is there a reason you just don't go to LPN/RN school? I don't know of any CNA/MA bridges to LPN or RN school. In the geographic area where I live, CNA's get far more hands on patient contact than MA's. Yet, having that clinical experience doesn't guarantee doing well on the theory side (aka clinical thinking / clinical judgement) side of nursing school.

MAs don't learn much theory or clinical judgment at all. Youll get it in nursing school. Do the CNA course. Eyes on the prize.

Miss Infermiera2b, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Oncology. Has 2 years experience. 380 Posts

CNA would probably be the best transition to bedside nursing.

Personally, I was a medical scribe. I learned an enormous amount of pharmacology, medical terminology, and the flow of the ER. I credit that job to doing very well in the last two semesters of nursing school.

AspiringNurseMW

AspiringNurseMW

1 Article; 942 Posts

I wouldn't delay nursing school for either. Many of the people at my school got CNA certification WHILE taking prerequisites or over the summer.

I didn't bother, but in my state you can also take the CNA exam after your 1st semester, no additional courses.

CNA is helpful, but not required to be a nurse. I'm about the start my 3rd semester, and you wouldn't be able to tell which one of us was a CNA before nursing school.

oldsockventriloquist

1 Article; 210 Posts

Start nursing school and you won't need a CNA certificate you can just get a job as a NS

I will say that it does depend on the program. Some programs do require that you have a CNA certificate, prior to starting the program. Make sure you meet all the requirements of a program, so that you have no trouble starting it.