The Caring Support Blog

Can A Medical Assistant Become A Registered Nurse?

May 20, 2023

A career in nursing is rewarding, but a lot of people don't know how to get started. You might have heard that you need to be an RN (registered nurse) to work at a hospital or clinic. But what does that mean? And can someone who works as a medical assistant become an RN? Let's find out!

What is a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant (MA) is a healthcare worker who assists physicians, nurses and other health professionals.

Medical assistants perform routine clinical duties such as taking vital signs and preparing patients for examination or treatment. They may also be involved in administrative tasks such as answering phones, scheduling appointments and updating patient records.

How long does it take to become a Registered Nurse in Canada?

It depends on the program. It can take up to two years, four years, or even six or eight years to become a registered nurse in Canada. The length of time varies depending on how quickly you complete your education and training requirements.

Why Switch From Medical Assistant to Registered Nurse?

The advantages of more obligations and freedom come with becoming a certified nurse. No matter how much experience they have, medical assistants are only allowed to do a certain number of jobs. They have a limited amount of autonomy over their decisions, and they must be guided in their work by a doctor or nurse who assigns them assignments.

Registered nurses have more freedom to complete activities without supervision and to assume more responsibility for providing direct patient care. For instance, nurses are able to examine patients, evaluate symptoms, and dress wounds, but medical assistants are only able to conduct more standard activities like recording vital signs and making appointments.

After completing their nursing education, medical assistants have the option of working as generalists or specializing in a field that interests them, like pediatrics. Being a registered nurse is a significant accomplishment, but some driven nurses pursue graduate studies to advance their profession and become advanced practitioner nurses. 10 Top Nursing Schools In Canada

medical assistant

Can a Medical Assistant Become a Registered Nurse?

The answer is YES. In order to advance to a more responsible position and become qualified as an RN, medical assistants will need to go to nursing school just like anyone else and on completion of their studies sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed by the state board of nursing, as well as complete a background check.

There are three main types of training programs for becoming an RN:

  1. A Diploma in Nursing at a vocational school;
  2. A 2-3 year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) at a community college or vocational school;
  3. A 4 year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BS/BSN) at a community college or university.

Online nursing degree programs are becoming more common and can sometimes be completed in less time than a traditional classroom-based program.

Medical assistants will benefit from their previous experience working in a medical office and should find many of the courses easier to learn than other students who haven't previously worked in the medical sector, despite the lack of official MA to RN programs and the few transfer credit alternatives available. Medical assistants already have some knowledge of topics including medical terminology, fundamental procedures, and patient care abilities. They are also accustomed to working in a clinical setting.

What Financial Aid is Available to Help Medical Assistants Become Registered Nurses?

Medical assistants who are currently working are probably worried about the financial consequences of quitting their employment to attend school full-time. Tuition, fees, and books can add up to a major portion of the cost of attending nursing school. Fortunately, there are many different financial aid options available, including federal grants and loans, as well as private scholarships.

Read More: Medical Lab Assistant Courses In Canada

A medical assistant who wants to be more involved in hands-on patient care may choose a shorter 2-year Associate Degree. After passing the NCLEX-RN exam, a medical assistant can work in both the US and Canada, regardless of the educational path they choose to take to become a registered nurse.


If you're looking for a career in healthcare, becoming an RN is a great choice. You can enter the field with many different backgrounds and levels of education. However, there are some requirements that must be met before you can start working as an RN in Canada. These include having completed high school or equivalent and completing an approved program at a college or university which includes clinical experience in hospitals or other healthcare facilities under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs).

About The Author
Denson Natividad
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