What’s the difference between a CNA (Certified Nursing Aid) and a CMA (Certified Medical Assistant)?

CMA versus CNA Blog Post

The healthcare field, according to the Virginia Employment Commission, projects that healthcare and social assistance careers will be the leading industry in growth heading into 2024. And two of the top leading careers in those fields? Certified nursing aids (or certified nursing assistants) and certified medical assistants.

These two careers are entry-level positions in healthcare and are achievable through short-term training programs. Both can be first steps to a life-long career in healthcare or down the pathway to becoming a nurse. And both are achievable through enrolling in a G3-eligible healthcare program.

What is a certified nursing aid or certified nursing assistant?

A certified nursing aid or certified nursing assistant plays a more physical role in patient care and is almost always on the clinical side of healthcare. In a long-term care facility, nursing homes and other residential healthcare centers, a CNA is likely the person that will have the most direct, ongoing and active role in a patient’s care. Responsibilities include monitoring vitals, bathing, moving and positioning a patient, assisting in basic daily care and monitoring and recording things like food and water intake and bodily output.

If you are kind, patient, caring and have a passion for helping others, then you may make a great candidate for a CNA.

What is a certified medical assistant?

Certified medical assistants may specialize in either front-of-house or back-of-house activities. For example, a CMA who works on the administrative side of things may do things like updating patient records and scheduling appointments.  Clinical, or back-of-house, activities include tasks like preparing exam rooms, collecting specimens and administering medications. That said, depending the size and the type of medical facility, you may do a combination of the two.

What makes a good certified medical assistant? Having strong attention to detail, likes working in a team, flexibility and has the ability to juggle a variety of tasks at one time.

Either way, there are a variety of clinical and non-clinical healthcare careers, and these two careers are just two pathways to consider.

To learn more about G3 funding and what options are available where you live, visit Learn how to Qualify and Programs for more information.