Do you know the difference between a State Tested Nurses Aide and a Medical Assistant?

You’re ready to use your caring personality and interest in the medical field to pursue a healthcare career.  As you review the many job opportunities the field has to offer, you come across a State Tested Nurses Aide (STNA) and Medical Assistant.  What is the difference between these two job titles?  You’re not alone – many people confuse the two.

The main difference between Medical Assistants and State Tested Nurses Aides is Medical Assistants are required by law to work in a facility with a physician, which means they must work in medical clinics or doctors’ offices.  STNAs report to Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses, so they are not required to work under the supervision of a physician. 

Medical Assistants work in medical clinics interacting with patients. Medical Assistants will often greet patients, take vital signs, complete medical records, educate patients on ways to improve health, and provide instruction on how to take medications. Medical Assistants work closely with physician and help perform tests and lab work.

Graduates of OBC's Medical Assisting Program are eligible to take two national certification exams: CMA-AAMA and RMA-AMT. Holding both credentials will give medical assisting graduates an edge in securing employment in the medical field.

Medical Assistants and State Tested Nurses Aides both must comply with healthcare facility’s HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments), OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), and JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) laws, and react calmly and effectively in emergency situations.

When choosing between becoming a Medical Assistant or a STNA, it’s important to think of the environment you’d most like to work – hospital or clinic – and whether you want to work with physicians or perform direct patient care.  Both jobs provide the opportunity to use a caring personality and medical knowledge to change lives every day.


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