Medical Assistants vs. Nurses; Discover the Difference!

Both medical assistants and nurses are common sights at the doctor’s office. Often, most people can’t tell the difference between the two. Both professions require scrubs, and both support doctors as they meet with patients. However, there are fundamental differences between the two positions, and we’re here to explore them.

At Montes HealthCare College, we set our medical assistants up for success. Our 6-month course includes in-depth studies and an externship at an actual clinic. Throughout your time with us, you will learn what sets this profession apart from others. But, before you sign up, here are some of the differences between nursing and medical assisting.

The Difference in Education

One of the aspects that makes becoming a medical assistant so enticing is education. 

While an aspiring nurse has to get either a Bachelor of Science, Associate’s Degree in Nursing, or a diploma from a nursing program, an aspiring medical assistant only needs to pass a competency test to begin a program here at MHCC. A program at MHCC takes six months to complete and provides you with the training you need to start your career.

After their prerequisite education, nurses need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to begin work. However, a medical assistant doesn’t need to complete an exam. While taking the NCCT Medical Assistant exam can help an assistant’s career prospects, it is not a requirement to begin work.

Beautiful smiling young female doctor in white medical jacket isolated on white background. Brunette woman cosmetologist holding books, notebook, folder. Copy space

The Duties of Medical Assistants and Nurses

While there is some overlap, nurses and medical assistants are often tasked with differing duties. Medical assistants perform both clinical and administrative tasks. These include scheduling appointments, recording medical information, checking patient vital signs, and preparing blood samples for testing.

Nurses are primarily involved in patient care. Creating and modifying patient care plans, operating medical equipment, and administering treatments are just some of their responsibilities. As a general rule, nurses often have more patient interaction and responsibility. This can be a positive for some, but if you’re considering whether you want an administrative or patient-focused role in the future, becoming a medical assistant may be a better choice.

Room to Grow and Change

Becoming a medical assistant can act as a great first step into the medical career. The education needed is minimal compared to nursing, and the duties are wide in scope. During your time at MHCC you will be shown what you can expect as an employee at a medical clinic.

After you finish our course and find a position, you can then consider whether clerical duties or patient interaction is what you enjoy. Once you’re ready for the next step, you can always pursue higher education. Becoming a medical assistant is not terminal, rather it is an opportunity to learn, grow, and expand your horizons.

Ready to Get Started?

Ready to give the program a try? Schedule a tour of our campus today! We look forward to meeting you and helping you pursue your future. Call us at (310) 436-7000 or schedule by clicking HERE.


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