Difference Between CNA and CMA

The Healthcare field is an ever-growing and constantly evolving field. There is always a high demand for healthcare workers to date and these numbers will continue to grow in the years to come.


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CMA and CNA both are important parts of healthcare workers who constantly look into the welfare of their patients. Despite having many similarities, they are quite different from one another.


The difference between CNA and CMA is that a CNA is responsible for personal care duties which include the bathing of their patients and other daily routines while CMA is responsible for medical assessments such as physical, checking vitals, etc. It takes 4 to 10 weeks for a person to become a certified nursing assistant whereas CMA takes up to 2 years for certification.


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A CNA is a professional medical professional that is an important part of a hospital. The responsibilities that CNAs carry on their shoulders make them a very important part of the healthcare society.

They assist patients with their daily routine which includes eating, drinking, bathing, etc, which means they look for the overall personal health care of a patient.

It takes between 4 weeks to 10 weeks for a CNA program to get completed along with the licensed certification.

A CMA directly works with a doctor or a nurse and is generally the primary responsible person for assessing patients with their allergy data, medical history, checking vitals, etc.

The CMA helps patients to prepare for the doctor and even looks after their medications as per the prescription.

Other than these duties, they also assist doctors in performing surgeries or they can also take upon clerical responsibilities. It takes 1 to 2 years for the completion of the CMA program with the certification.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCNACMA
DefinitionCNA is a medical worker that assists patients with their daily routine. CMA works directly with the doctor in assisting the medical reports, checking vitals etc. 
Scope of practicePractice includes a patient’s daily routine. Practice includes checking medical history, allergy or any medical responsibility. 
EducationHigh school diploma +  an accredited CNA training program. High school diploma + educational training such as medical terminology, basic pharmacology, anatomy. 
Area of workNursing homes, retirement centres, living centres. Hospitals, clinics, physician offices. 
Starting SalaryLess compared to CMA. Little more than CNA. 

What is a CNA? 

A CNA or also known as a certified nursing assistant is a medical worker who works under the guidance of a doctor. They are an integral part of the housing society.

A CNA provides care and comfort directly to the patient and also assists them in doing daily routine tasks.

Their responsibilities include helping their patients eat and drink properly, making beds for them, helping them to bathe, reporting to doctors if any abnormalities are seen.

Though CNAs are considered to be on the first level or entry-level, they hold a huge responsibility.

As trained medical workers, they are the first ones to get in direct contact with the patients, for nursing and overseeing their health status.

It takes between 4 weeks to 10 weeks for most of the CNA programs to get completed. The programs include enclosed classes, medical training, and experiences, and giving written exams to achieve their CNA’s license.

The route of CNA worker is a good alternative for people who want to kick start their medical career and build a strong caring relationship with their patients.

This route is considered to be rewarding and fruitful on its own and a great option for those people who want to continue and be licensed nurses.

What is a CMA? 

A CMA is a person who works in assisting patients with their appointments with their doctor or any special care.

Their responsibility includes works like collection and documentation of a patient’s medical history, checking their vital signs, helping the patients to prepare themselves for the doctor’s appointment.

CMAs can also provide some additional tasks of authentication of their insurance coverage, settling of the transaction, and organizing records of patients.

It usually takes 1 to 2 years for a CMA program to get completed.

Their program includes classroom sessions, predefined clinical time that is needed to be completed, and a written exam for passing the Class certification exam.

This career field is growing at a rapid pace, with a hike of 29% in the years to come.

This career option has opted very fast as there is always an increase in the numbers and kinds of patients who need assistance from a CMA person.

A CMA person can also help a doctor in assisting them with the surgeries. CMA can also do the duties of a clerk which includes refilling prescription, cleaning, and sanitizing the patient room.

They are also trained in additional skills of collecting samples, vaccination, changing the dressing of wounds, etc.

Main Differences Between CNA and CMA

  1. A CNA helps their patients with their daily activities like eating, bathing while a CMA person organizes their medical records. 
  2. CNA serves food and water and helps patients eat while CMA schedules appointments for them with doctors. 
  3. CNA monitors the vital signs of a patient on the other hand CMA makes arrangements in the hospital. 
  4. CNA helps immobile patients to turn to the other side of the bed to avoid soreness or ulcers whereas CMA performs bookkeeping duties. 
  5. CNA oversees their patient’s health conditions and reports to the doctor if any abnormalities are seen while CMA assists the doctor while checkups. 
Difference Between CNA and CMA
  1. https://search.proquest.com/openview/463e86842b4aedf6ece4bc21f105b77d/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=41610
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1487760/
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