Comparison of CMA vs. CNA jobs

If you are interested to work in the health care industry there are two roles that you can choose for a job either as certified medical assistant (CMA) or certified nursing assistant (CNA). While both the jobs have an equal importance in running the medical facilities smoothly they however don’t have the same responsibilities with different job duties to perform.


The certified nursing assistants have duties more related to personal care and attention towards the patients assisting them in feeding or hygiene and mostly work in nursing homes or as home care providers.

The certified medical assistants undertake more complex duties like handling both clinical and administrative tasks and also assisting physicians in surgical procedures, sterilizing medical equipment etc with more knowledge on anatomy, medical terminology and physiology.

Training to become a certified nursing assistant:

If you would like to become a CNA you need to join in a college, Red Cross office or a hospital that offers certification program for the nursing assistant job. The training consists of 75 to 180 hours of course based on the state requirements which includes training on topics like

  • Taking vital signs
  • Providing catheter care
  • Proving assistant to patient in bathing and eating
  • Documenting patient related activities
  • Dispense medication
  • Applying bandages
  • Clinical externship

Certified nursing examination

However, to become a cna you should be above 16 years of age and have a high school diploma or a GED. On completion of the course you can take the CNA certification examination that tests the theoretical knowledge and practical exposure of the candidate to assign the certification. One has to note that this is a state certified program.

Training to become a certified medical assistant

The job role of certified medical assistants is quite different from the cna’s as they are more into assisting and supporting physicians in treating the patients and also need to take care of the administrative duties. For the certification program you need to join in online or offline medical assistant schools to do a one year certification course or a two year degree program. Some of the training topics would include

  • Patient record maintenance
  • Processing bills
  • Completing insurance forms
  • Patient care
  • preparing laboratory specimens
  • first aid

Certified medical assistant examination

Once the training program on clinical duties and administrative duties is completed you need to take the certified medical assistant examination conducted by the American Association of Medical Assistant board (AAMA) to register as a qualified CMA. This is a national certified program rather than like the cna certified programs.

Salary for certified nursing assistants’ vs. certified medical assistants

The salary range of both the certified medical assistants and the certified nursing assistants vary based on the job responsibilities they handle and according to the statistics of the labor bureau the annual average medical assistants salary is $13.87 per hour that amounts to $ 28, 860 per annual while the annual average nursing assistants earn $11.54 per hour with an annual salary of $24, 010.

Work places and salary for CNA and CMA

The place where one works have an impact on the salary and the medial assistants who take care of clinical duties like drawing blood, assist physicians in surgical procedures, remove suture etc shall earn more than the CMA’s that take care of the administrative tasks.

While the CNA’s who work in hospitals taking care of the bed patients and their needs earn more than those in home health agencies or nursing homes.

Job opportunities

There is lot of demand for both the CNA’s and CMA’s with growing medical facilities and one can have career enhancement by regularly updating their knowledge and going for certifications that helps them to earn more salaries and find jobs in reputed health organizations.

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