CNA vs Medical Transcriptionist

Certified Nursing Assistant and Medical Transcriptionist


When it comes to choosing a vocational training program, it's important to consider your interests, skills, and career goals. Two popular options in the healthcare field are becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or a Medical Transcriptionist. Both careers offer unique opportunities to contribute to the healthcare industry, but they have distinct differences in terms of job duties, education requirements, and career outlook. In this blog post, we will explore the similarities and differences between a CNA and a Medical Transcriptionist to help you make an informed decision about which path is right for you.

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What is a CNA and Medical Transcriptionist?


A Certified Nursing Assistant, often referred to as a CNA, is a healthcare professional who provides direct patient care under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). CNAs work in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home healthcare, assisting patients with activities of daily living (ADLs) and providing emotional support.

Medical Transcriptionist

A Medical Transcriptionist is responsible for converting voice-recorded medical reports dictated by healthcare professionals into written documents. They listen to audio recordings and transcribe them into written format, ensuring accuracy and proper formatting. Medical Transcriptionists typically work in hospitals, clinics, or from home as independent contractors.

Difference between a CNA and Medical Transcriptionist

While both CNAs and Medical Transcriptionists work in the healthcare industry, there are several key differences between the two roles:

  1. Job Duties:

    • CNAs provide direct patient care, including assisting with bathing, grooming, and feeding, taking vital signs, and documenting patient information.
    • Medical Transcriptionists focus on transcribing and editing medical reports, ensuring accuracy and clarity of information.
  2. Work Environment:

    • CNAs primarily work in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes, where they interact directly with patients and collaborate with healthcare professionals.
    • Medical Transcriptionists may work in healthcare facilities or remotely from home, often working independently and having minimal direct patient contact.
  3. Level of Patient Interaction:

    • CNAs have regular and direct contact with patients, providing hands-on care and support.
    • Medical Transcriptionists have minimal patient interaction, as their role is primarily focused on transcribing medical reports.
  4. Skill Set:

    • CNAs require strong interpersonal skills, physical stamina, and the ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment.
    • Medical Transcriptionists need excellent listening and typing skills, attention to detail, and a good understanding of medical terminology.

CNA vs Medical Transcriptionist: Job Description

CNA Job Description

As a CNA, your primary responsibilities will include:

  • Assisting patients with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and eating.
  • Taking and recording vital signs, such as blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.
  • Documenting patient information and reporting any changes in condition to healthcare professionals.
  • Assisting with mobility and transferring patients.
  • Providing emotional support and comfort to patients and their families.

Medical Transcriptionist Job Description

As a Medical Transcriptionist, your job duties will include:

  • Listening to voice-recorded medical reports and transcribing them into written documents.
  • Editing and proofreading transcriptions for accuracy and clarity.
  • Ensuring proper formatting and adherence to medical transcription guidelines.
  • Researching medical terminology and procedures to accurately transcribe reports.
  • Maintaining patient confidentiality and data security.

CNA vs Medical Transcriptionist: Education and Training

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CNA Education and Training

To become a CNA, you will need to complete a state-approved training program, which typically lasts between 4 and 12 weeks. These programs are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, and healthcare facilities. The curriculum includes both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training. After completing the training program, you must pass a competency exam to become a certified CNA.

Medical Transcriptionist Education and Training

Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist typically requires a postsecondary certificate or associate degree program in medical transcription. These programs are available at community colleges and vocational schools. The curriculum covers medical terminology, anatomy, transcription techniques, and computer skills. Additionally, aspiring Medical Transcriptionists need to develop excellent listening and typing skills to succeed in this field.

CNA vs Medical Transcriptionist: Career Outlook and Salary

CNA Career Outlook and Salary

The demand for CNAs is expected to grow in the coming years due to the aging population and increased need for long-term care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of CNAs is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for CNAs was $31,090 as of May 2020, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $42,520.

Medical Transcriptionist Career Outlook and Salary

The demand for Medical Transcriptionists has declined in recent years due to technological advancements and the transition to electronic health records. As a result, the BLS projects a 2 percent decline in employment for Medical Transcriptionists from 2020 to 2030. However, there may still be opportunities for those with specialized knowledge or who work in niche areas of transcription. The median annual wage for Medical Transcriptionists was $34,770 as of May 2020, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $51,260.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a career as a CNA or a Medical Transcriptionist ultimately depends on your interests, skills, and career goals. If you enjoy hands-on patient care and want to make a direct impact on people's lives, becoming a CNA may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you have excellent listening and typing skills and prefer a more behind-the-scenes role in healthcare, pursuing a career as a Medical Transcriptionist could be a good fit.

Consider your preferences for patient interaction, work environment, and skill set when making your decision. It's also essential to research the job market and employment outlook for each career to ensure there are ample opportunities available in your area.

No matter which path you choose, both CNAs and Medical Transcriptionists play vital roles in the healthcare industry and contribute to the well-being of patients.

Dreambound's programs are available in different places. Check these blogs for a good look at the two vocations, including what you need and tips on how to start:

Stephanie Dayak
Written by
Stephanie Dayak

Stephanie Dayak is the go-to person for everything related to automation and integrations at Dreambound. As a Certified Tax Technician turned tech whiz, her sharp eye for detail and passion for efficiency become evident in every project she undertakes. When not solving tech puzzles, she's out exploring the local food scene, cozying up with her dogs, or plugged into a thought-provoking podcast. She's an ardent believer in mixing fun with functionality!

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