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Career Comparison | Clinical Medical Assistant vs. Certified Nursing Assistant | Healthcare Careers

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Americation Career and Training School (ACTS)

CMA vs. CNA: The Comparison

Clinical Medical Assistants (CMA) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) are two professions with their own unique health care focus. Despite there being only a letter difference in the title, the job responsibilities for each profession are quite different. Clinical Medical Assistants typically have a greater scope of practice, meaning they are qualified to carry out more tasks with patients than the CNA. People who are currently working as a Certified Nursing Assistant often transition into the CMA position seeking greater fulfillment in their work. The primary focus of a Certified nursing assistant is to bathe and dress patients, while Clinical Medical Assistants can administer EKGs, perform Veni- and dermal punctures, task vitals, and perform some administrative work as well.

Is Working in Health care Worth it?

Working in healthcare can have its drawbacks, but it is nearly impossible to find a career that doesn’t. It is common knowledge that when entering healthcare, working long shifts can sometimes be expected of you. However, this is dependent on the facility you work in. Clinical Medical Assistants is one of the few positions where you can avoid those tasking 12-hour hospital shifts. Many CMA’s find employment within primary care facilities, like Doctor offices where the workday can be the typical 8-hour shift. To work in healthcare, you have to be compassionate and empathy while being able to set aside time for yourself to recharge. Working in healthcare can give you job security with a 26% projected growth and fulfillment in your work by helping better your patients. Having both job security and fulfillment in your care is hard to come by.

Why should you consider taking on a Career Advancement program from a CNA to a CMA?

Career advancement opportunities should be taken up whenever possible. Advancing your skills and overall knowledge is extremely beneficial to you. The benefits can help elevate your current position and help you find a job if you currently are not employed. Apart from increasing your scope of practice, transitioning from CNA to a CMA will increase your overall medical understanding and make you a standout employee, in a good way!

How Can Career Advancement Programs make the transitioning between these careers easier?

Career Advancement Programs help to transition from positions by providing you with the skills and know-how to start your new career. Career Advancement programs are aimed to train people to become qualified to take on new positions. This is done by providing education and training in the respective field. For example, while becoming a Clinical Medical Assistant you are trained in all the duties of a CMA. These being phlebotomy, EKG and the Administrative work. You also receive certifications in these areas of study boosting your resume and capabilities as a healthcare professional.

So, do you want to take on a Career Advancement Opportunity?

Find that school that offers Bridge Programs form Certified Nursing Assistant to Clinical Medical Assistant! Finding a school that offers a bridge program is important because it ensures that you will be in a learning environment that will push you to achieve your goals. The school can also provide appropriate course work to strengthen the skills you obtained from your existing medical experience.

Get to know the potential schools better!

Visiting schools for tours and scheduling appointments with advisors will enable you to make the best decision possible when it comes to choosing your school.


Once you find your school you will have to start the enrollment process. Here’s what you need to know!

  • Providing Documentation: This typically involves providing Photo ID, SSN, and High School Diploma (G.E.D or HESI A2)

  • Making the Time: What you also should consider is whether not you are going to be able to dedicate a few hours out of each day to school. Before starting any type of program, you have willing rearrange your schedule to fit in some time for school and studying.

  • Getting the Schedule that suits you: Many schools offer a range of programs that vary on the amount of time required of you each week and how fast you want to finish. Longer programs usually offer you the ability to spend less time during

  • Payment Options: You should ask the school what their payment options are. Some schools offer a payment plan while others will request the full amount prior to the start of the program.

Choosing your type of Education

Some schools offer students the option of online classes. Online is best for people who have families and jobs but still want to further their careers. Most schools have on-campus classes that are good for those that need a classroom setting. Choosing between online and on-campus education is not something that should be taken lightly. When investing in education you want to make sure you are making the best decision for yourself. Figuring out what kind of learner you are is extremely important when deciding between online or on-campus options. For learners that like to go through the material at there own pace whether it be fast or slow, online may be a good fit. However, for the learner that needs someone else to explain a topic in a lecture setting an on-campus option may be a better suit for you.

Top 5 tips on how to successfully complete a Clinical Medical Assistant Program


  2. Be active in class and pay attention, ask questions when needed.

  3. Eat right! No fast food, it will make you sluggish!

  4. Develop a good sleeping schedule

  5. Stay on top of classwork and homework!

Tips on how to master your clinical skills

  1. Read your competency checklists.

  2. Watch videos online and pay closer attention during your next doctors’ appointment to watch real CMA’s out in the field

  3. Practice patient interactions!

  4. Practice again!

  5. And Practice some more!

How to ace your midterms and finals!

Many schools with test students throughout the program challenging there understanding of the content. Taking notes in class and write down anything your instructor puts an emphasis on is a good way to ensure that you don't overlook any important information. If an instructor takes the time to talk about something odds are you will encounter it in the clinical setting or on an exam. Review your notes and study the textbook in the coming days before the exams. Complete all homework assessments at the end of each chapter ensuring the top level of understanding of all possible content that could be on the exam.

How to get the highest score on your National Certification Exam


  2. Find your weak points and make them your strong points

  3. Complete ALL homework and practice exams in your textbook

What Now? What to do once you receive you Certifications

Once you have finished the program and obtained all the certifications you can now the real fun begins! Job hunting! Having a great resume that looks pretty and conveys all the right information is very important in the hunt for a job. However, preparing yourself for interviews is really what makes you or breaks you. Interview skills are often overlooked however, being prepared to be asked questions and prepping yourself to be comfortable in an interview setting can really help you land a job.

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