Pre-Medical Students working in hospital setting as medical assistants and scribes

Medical Scribes vs. Medical Assistants: Which is Better for Pre-Medical Students?

Are you a pre-health student aiming to gain invaluable medical experience and secure a rewarding job in the healthcare sector? It’s vital to choose the right path that aligns with your professional goals. 

Traditionally, becoming a medical scribe has been viewed as a stepping stone into the medical field. However, we’d like to highlight an alternative route that might better serve your long-term goals: becoming a certified clinical medical assistant (CCMA).

Read on to learn the crucial differences between medical scribes and certified medical assistants and how Advanced eClinical Training’s online medical certifications like our online medical assistant certification, can help you achieve your career goals in less time.

Comparing Medical Scribes vs. Medical Assistants

When it comes to making a career choice between becoming a medical scribe or a CCMA, a clear understanding of their roles is necessary. Let’s start with the basics: what does a medical scribe do, compared to a medical assistant?

What Does a Medical Scribe Do?

A medical scribe essentially shadows physicians and nurses, taking down notes and documenting critical medical information in real time for patients’ electronic medical records. These professionals are vital in maintaining organization within a medical facility and often assist with scheduling appointments for doctors.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

The role of a CCMA extends beyond mere documentation. As a CCMA, you’ll help administer tests and vaccinations, check vital signs, and interact directly with patients. This direct patient care offers a more hands-on experience, providing a more profound understanding of the clinical environment, which is crucial for future medical studies.

How To Become a Medical Scribe vs. Medical Assistant

Anyone with a high school education can technically become a medical scribe. However, employers often prefer candidates with some college credits in healthcare and a solid understanding of medical terminology. There are even specific classes and certification exams designed to equip you for this role.

In contrast, to become a CCMA, you must undertake a specialized program like the one provided at Advanced eClinical Training (ACT). This 8-week, self-paced course will equip you with the skills needed to excel in various patient-facing tasks, further boosting your chances of acceptance into graduate school programs or nursing schools.

Learn more about how to become a certified medical assistant.

How Much Do Medical Scribes Make vs. Medical Assistants?

While it’s essential not to choose your career path solely based on earning potential, it is a critical factor for most students working through school. On average, a medical scribe earns between $25,518 and $49,473 annually. However, CCMAs tend to make slightly more, with the average salary listed at $43,543 per year, providing a financial edge.


Taking the leap into the medical field is a crucial step for any pre-health student. As such, deciding between becoming a medical scribe and a CCMA is significant. While both roles provide valuable experience, there is a clear advantage to opting for the path of a CCMA.

As a CCMA, you are given a chance to not only observe, like a scribe but actively engage in various clinical procedures and tasks. This hands-on experience serves as a better preparatory ground for your future medical journey, familiarizing you with the nuanced dynamics of direct patient care. Additionally, the earning potential for a CCMA is slightly higher, which is an important consideration for students working through school.

ACT’s online medical assistant certification program recognizes the importance of these key advantages and is designed to equip you with the required skills effectively and efficiently. With our flexible, self-paced online medical program, you can earn your medical assistant certification in just 8 to 12 weeks, a fraction of the time it would take in traditional training programs. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness of our program allows you to save for future educational investments.

If you’re still drawn to the role of a medical scribe, we’d recommend acquiring a Medical Terminology Certificate to set your resume apart. But remember, as a CCMA, you’d enjoy a more expansive skill set, direct patient interaction, higher earnings, and a robust foundation for your future in medicine.

Accelerate Your Healthcare Career with ACT Today!

Enroll at ACT today and take the first stride toward your promising medical career. With us, you’re not just gaining an education; you’re becoming a part of a supportive community that is committed to your success, both now and in the future. Take this step and invest in a path that brings you closer to your dream, on your terms, with ACT!

Inquire Now

Fill up the form below for us to assist you with your inquiries.