Medical Assistant vs. STNA: What’s the Difference?

For those exploring healthcare careers, you may be wondering what the difference is between a medical assistant and a STNA. Keep reading to learn more about the similarities and differences between these two popular positions.

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Job responsibilities

The main difference between Medical assistants and STNAs is their job responsibilities. Medical Assistants typically perform clerical and administrative tasks, while STNAs are responsible for providing direct patient care. Both roles may require some basic medical knowledge, but STNAs need to have a more intimate understanding of human anatomy and physiology.

Education and training

The medical assistant job description involves a lot of interaction with patients, and so medical assistants must be able to answer patient questions and have bedside manner. They might schedule appointments, take patients’ vital signs, chart their medical history, give injections or do other basic tasks as directed by a physician.
A STNA, or state tested nursing assistant, works primarily in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living residences. STNAs provide hands-on care to residents, often helping them with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and dressing. Some STNAs also provide basic health care services such as checking vital signs and changing bandages.

Certification

Medical assistants and STNAs are both vital members of the healthcare team, but they have different roles. Medical assistants are primarily responsible for clinical tasks, such as taking medical histories and vital signs, while STNAs primarily provide hands-on patient care, such as bathing and transferring patients. Both medical assistants and STNAs must be certified in their respective roles.

Salary

Medical assistants earn a median annual salary of $32,480, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). State test nurses earn a median annual salary of $39,540, according to the BLS. Therefore, STNAs earn more money than medical assistants on average.

Job outlook

In terms of job outlook, medical assistants and STNAs both have promising prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for medical assistants is expected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS also projects that demand for STNAs will increase 11 percent during the same time frame.

Pros and cons

There are many different types of medical assistants, and the duties of a medical assistant also vary depending on their specialty and the state in which they work. In general, medical assistants are responsible for a variety of administrative and clinical tasks in a healthcare setting. STNAs, on the other hand, provide basic patient care under the supervision of a registered nurse.

While both medical assistants and STNAs play an important role in providing quality patient care, there are some key differences between these two professions. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of each:

Medical Assistant Pros:
-Can work in a variety of healthcare settings
-Duties can vary depending on specialty
-May have the opportunity to work with patients of all ages

Medical Assistant Cons:
-Requires certification or completion of an accredited medical assisting program
-May be required to take continuing education courses to maintain certification
-State laws governing scope of practice may limit what medical assistants can do without supervision from a licensed healthcare provider

STNA Pros:
-No formal education or certification required in most states
-Can find entry-level positions with little to no experience
-Duties may include providing personal care to patients, such as bathing and dressing

STNA Cons:
-Patient contact may be emotionally demanding
-May be exposed to infectious diseases
-Work hours can be long and irregular

Medical assistant vs. STNA: Which is right for you?

Are you interested in a career in healthcare, but not sure which route to take? You might be wondering what the difference is between a medical assistant and an STNA. Both positions are vital to the healthcare industry, but they have different roles and responsibilities. Keep reading to learn more about medical assistants and STNAs, and which one might be right for you.

Medical assistants are healthcare professionals who perform administrative and clinical tasks in a medical office or clinic setting. They may work under the supervision of a licensed physician or nurse, and their duties can vary depending on state law and the specific practice they work in. Medical assistants typically have an associate’s degree or certificate from an accredited program.

STNAs, or state-tested nurse aides, are also healthcare professionals who provide basic nursing care to patients in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and home health agencies Unlike medical assistants, STNAs must complete an approved training program and pass a state-administered exam before they can work. In some states, STNAs may also be required to complete continuing education courses to maintain their certification.

So, which is right for you? If you’re interested in working in a medical office or clinic setting, then a career as a medical assistant might be a good fit. If you’re interested in working with patients who need more hands-on care, then becoming an STNA might be the right choice for you.

Key takeaways

There are a few key things to keep in mind when considering a career as a medical assistant or STNA. First, STNAs must complete an accredited training program and pass a state-approved certification exam, while medical assistants can pursue on-the-job training or postsecondary education to enter the field. Second, while both roles involve working closely with patients and providing basic patient care, STNAs may have more opportunity to provide hands-on care, such as bathing and dressing patients, while medical assistants are more likely to perform administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and taking medical histories. Finally, STNAs generally earn slightly more than medical assistants, though both roles offer opportunities for advancement.

FAQs

There are many acronyms in the medical field, and it can be difficult to keep track of what they all mean. In this article, we will be focusing on two of them: Medical Assistant (MA) and State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA). Both positions are in high demand, but what exactly is the difference between the two?

Medical Assistants:
MAs are professionals who provide patient care and perform administrative tasks in a medical setting. They must have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some employers may prefer candidates with postsecondary education or certification. MAs typically report to a licensed physician or nurse.

State Tested Nursing Assistants:
STNAs are certified nursing assistants who have completed a state-approved training program and passed a competency exam. They provide basic patient care under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. STNAs must have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some employers may prefer candidates with postsecondary education or certification.

Resources

In order to become a medical assistant, you will need to complete an accredited postsecondary medical assisting program. These programs typically last between one and two years and offer either a certificate or diploma. Alternatively, you could also earn an associate’s degree in medical assisting, which would take around two years to complete. Once you have completed your education, you will then need to pass the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

To become a STNA, you will first need to complete a state-approved training program. These programs typically last between four and six weeks and will provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to safely perform the duties of a STNA. Once you have completed your training, you will then need to pass a state-recognized certification exam.

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