Depending on the program, a medical assistant is taught a variety of skills.
I'm currently an instructor in a MA program and the program is very well rounded, including clinical skills, phlebotomy, ekg, ethics and law, pharmacology, medical terminology, office administration and so on. There are many differences when you place an RN curriculum and a MA curiculum side by side. The RN has extensive Anatomy and Physiology, and specific training in most specialties. The Rn is taught critical thinking, prioritization, and organzational skills in order to facilitate the patients safe return to homeostasis. The nursing process is the tool we use to care for each patient. The medical assistant is only taught the raw skills for the ambulatory patient. I am a former Certified Medical Assistant and now a Registered nurse and if I was to calculate a placement for the MA I would put them between the CNA and the LPN. In our nursing shortage they will fill a void for our already overstressed healthcare system.