Medical Assistant VS Nurse: What’s The Difference?

Medical Assistant VS Nurse

There are lots of people who decide to work as a medical assistant or nurse.

Each of them has their own reasons to pursue one of those careers.

The fact is that lots of people don’t see the difference between medical assistants and nurses.

Nevertheless, it is two different careers and these specialists perform different duties.

However, both these options are great for those people who look for great long-term career options in the healthcare sphere.

One of the most significant points is that both these career options can expect significant growth of job offers in the nearest future.

Moreover, in most cases, you can complete your training pretty fast and start working right after graduation because of the growing demand.

In this article, you can learn about both these career options as well as training and certification issues.

Also, there is info about the differences between these career options.

If you don’t know what career to choose, first of all, you need to learn the difference between nurses and medical assistants.

The first thing you need to remember is that a medical assistant is a great entry-level career in the medical sphere.

It can be a perfect starting point for those who want to work as a registered nurse in the future.

To become a medical assistant, you need to obtain a diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree in this sphere.

After it, you can continue your education and enroll in a nursing training program.

How Do I Become A Medical Assistant Or A Nurse?

Vocational Training, Education, Nurse, Medical Assistant

Med Assistant Licensing and Certification Guidelines

When it comes to differences between medical assistants and registered nurses, certification is the most significant aspect.

If you want to work as a certified medical assistant, you need to complete an approved training program.

Usually, you need about 9-12 months to complete a diploma or certificate program.

However, an Associate’s degree program may last as much as two years.

After completing your training, you need to pass the certification exam that is held by the American Association of Medical Assistants.

Just keep in mind that you need to be well-prepared for this exam so make sure to get ready properly.

Registered Nurse Licensing and Certification Requirements

If you want to become a registered nurse, you need to complete an accredited Bachelor’s degree program.

Also, after completing it, you’ll be obliged to pass the licensure exam through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

You need about 4 years to complete your training and start working as an RN.

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) program can be a great stepping stone for those interested in RN career.

While you need about 4 years to complete RN training, an LPN training program can be completed faster.

There is a number of schools that provide medical assistant and nursing programs to shorten constantly increasing demand for specialists with such skills.

The truth is that a medical assistant career is a great opportunity to understand whether the healthcare sphere is a great option for you.

There are also online training options for medical assistants out there to check out.

What Do Medical Assistants and Nurses Do?

As we said before, medical assistants and nurses perform different responsibilities that require different sets of skills.

Speaking of medical assistants, usually, their responsibilities balance between administrative and clinical issues.

It means thy can take the patient’s vitals and make appointments or manage files.

When it comes to clinical responsibilities, MAs work under the direction of doctors, nurses, or physician’s assistants.

Usually, they closely work with other medical specialists especially nurses.

Speaking of clinical responsibilities, MAs help patients’ get ready for different procedures, answer their questions about these procedures, and so on.

It is absolutely clear that nurses closely work with patients in order to take care of them and provide them with all possible support.

The fact is that nurses mainly focused on patients’ care while performing almost no administrative tasks.

Usually, they do only those records that are related to their work directly.

Also, RNs are responsible for writing care plans for patients.

You need to know that RNs have more contact with physicians than medical assistants.

One other significant difference is that RNs can provide doctors with some analysis of a patient’s state while MAs only report to physicians and follow their orders.


A medical assistant career is a great stepping stone for those who want to enter the healthcare system.

If you like working with people and helping them, it is a great option for you.

Just keep in mind that this career requires lots of dedication and energy.

As soon as you start your career as a medical assistant, you’ll be able to reveal easily your future path that usually leads to a nursing career.

If you are interested in this career path, just look for schools that offer appropriate programs and start your training.

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