Medical Assistant vs. Registered Nurse: Which Career is Right for You?
If you are considering a job in health care, you likely know of all the abundant opportunities you can pursue within the field. But how will you determine which is a best fit for you?
Two of the most in-demand career choices today are medical assistants and registered nurses. While medical assistants and nurses each share some similarities in their workplaces and day-to-day duties, their roles in the medical field are actually quite diverse. Let’s take a deeper look at each one of these careers.
Medical assistants are professionals who work under the supervision of a licensed physician or nurse practitioner. They are responsible for both clinical duties as well as administrative tasks, and can work anywhere from a large hospital setting to a small, private practice. In Connecticut, the starting medical assistant salary is now $26,691.
If you choose to pursue a career in medical assisting, you can expect to work directly with patients to record their medical histories, administer medications, measure vital signs, and assist with minor surgeries. You will also be responsible for scheduling patient appointments and completing health insurance forms.
To become a medical assistant, you will need to complete an associate degree program or certification program, then pass your state’s medical assistant certification exam. An associate degree medical assistant program is the most in-depth level of training and education you can receive preceding your medical assisting career. Most medical assisting professionals also require that you complete an internship or apprenticeship in a clinic or healthcare facility.
Registered nurses (RNs) are licensed nurses who both coordinate and provide patient care. Nurses can work in a variety of healthcare settings such as schools, hospitals, or private clinics. Currently, the entry level RN salary is $60,524 in the state of Connecticut.
Registered nurses perform detailed patient assessments and work with a physician to provide full patient care, from preliminary exams and treatment all the way to follow-up visits. In this way, nurses are able to give patients a more advanced level of care than medical assistants. Nurses plan the entirety of patient care. They can operate and monitor medical equipment, perform many diagnostic tests, and administer intravenous lines, chemotherapy, as well as educate patients on the long-term treatment options.
It is their in-depth level of training that allows registered nurses to perform these advanced tasks. RNs are required to attend at least a two-year nursing school or diploma program before working in the field. If you choose to attend a nursing program at Goodwin, you can expect to learn the ins and outs of physiology, biology, chemistry, psychology, and more. As your program progresses, so will your education. You will obtain advanced training in clinical rotations and upon graduation and passing the NCLEX; you will have the opportunity to pursue your bachelor’s degree through our accelerated RN-to-BSN program.
While medical assistants and nurses are two very different careers, both are imperative assets in the healthcare field. As a medical assistant or registered nurse, you will be well-respected and needed among patients, doctors, and other medical professionals.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.