Certified Medication Aides have valued members of any hospital team. As demand for CMAs increases, more HCPs are at least considering making the shift and finding jobs within this role.
This is easier said than done, however. Between all the options, as well as the competition, finding CMA jobs can be a surprisingly challenging endeavour, no matter how skilled or qualified you are.
For first-time job seekers or Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) looking for a change of scenery, this guide is here to help. We will show you how to find CMA jobs in your area, how to give yourself an edge in job applications and more.
What is a CMA?
Chances are, you probably know what a CMA is if you are reading this article. On the off chance that you do not, here is a quick rundown.
Certified Medication Aides are responsible for administering medications, orally or topically, to patients in healthcare settings. In essence, they are Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) with additional training and certifications. As a medication provider, you need to give medicines at the physician-prescribed times and dosages. If these instructions are not followed in the letter, the consequences could be unfortunate at best and fatal at worst. In addition, some medications need to be handled carefully, lest they suffer certain side effects. CMAs are also in charge of education. If patients can take medicines themselves, CMAs are there to remind them about how, when and how much to consume.
CMA work requires a certain amount of focus and attention to detail. They need to document every time a patient takes their medication, how much they took and when they took it. They are also expected to monitor changing patient conditions on a regular basis. If potential side effects or allergic reactions to medicines are found, then CMAs are responsible for reporting this to their supervisors, nurses, physicians, or doctors as soon as possible. They also need a level of communication and emotional intelligence. HCPs as a whole need to connect with their patients, relay medicine instructions and improve the quality of care in general. Additionally, this communication comes in handy when they collaborate with pharmacies to make sure the medical supplies are sufficiently stacked. Relatedly, audits must be performed to ensure that the supply is not expired and that everything is properly stocked.
How are the Outlook for CMA jobs?
CMA jobs are set to have a bright future. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), medical assistant roles will see a 16% rise between 2021 and 2031. This is considerably faster than average and means that around 117,800 new jobs will be produced within that time span.
Why are CMA roles rising so much? Between aging demographics and chronic patients in need of additional medical support and the anticipated turnover for CMAs (and health professionals in general), demand is set to spike while supply drops. As a result, hospitals en masse will be scrambling to make up for the deficit.
What is the salary for CMA jobs?
The process of becoming a CMA is relatively faster, compared to other nursing roles. In exchange, CMA jobs pay relatively less than many of their counterparts. The BLS census places the average medication aide salary at around $37,190 per year. For reference, the Registered Nurse salary sits at $77,600 within the same time span. Salaries can change depending on location, work experience, and additional certifications, but you have to keep this factor in mind.
Why become a CMA, in this case? The lower barrier to entry is appealing to individuals who want to work and gain experience in healthcare as soon as humanly possible. Additionally, you can eventually build yourself up for greater nursing roles in the future. Working as a CMA lets you earn money to save for your degree and accrue work experience that will look good on any application. If you have the bandwidth to balance work and study, this is a career path worth considering.
How can I land a CMA role?
You cannot expect a CMA role to land on your lap as soon as you graduate. As soon as possible, you want to work on making your applications and sending them to as many facilities as possible.
Whether you are a fresh graduate or a veteran CMA looking to land a new role, here are a couple of key strategies that will help you in your search.
Gain work experience whenever you can
Facilities prioritize CMA applicants with proven knowledge and an extensive background in the field. Employers commonly look for at least one year of CMA working experience. This may seem difficult for fresh graduates, but you will have your fair share of opportunities. While you are studying as a CMA, you can expect to carry out a set amount of clinical rotation hours. Capitalize on these opportunities, learn as much as you can from your supervisor, and do not be afraid to list these hours on your resume. Another way you can gain this experience is through the Vitawerks app. CMAs can pick up shifts from a variety of facilities in their area. Not only will you accrue more time on the job, you get to test the waters with different facilities with varying operations, principles, and values. This experience will help you figure out what you prioritize in your career path, over the long run.
Look through job listings online!
Right now, most healthcare facilities advertise their job openings online. Full-time offers are commonly posted on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor while temporary shifts in your area can be booked when you sign up with VitaWerks. Things do not stop there either, as you might find job openings posted on your local hospital’s official website. What matters is that you are applying to as many facilities as possible. Cast as wide a net as possible, but do not skimp out on research as well. After all, you do not want to provide your sensitive information to a nefarious source. Lastly, do not settle for the first offer that is sent your way. Consider your options, do your research on the facility, and do not be afraid to reject it for whatever reason. You are in control of your career path.
Apply for additional certifications.
Optional certifications speak volumes, on a CMA resume. They prove that you took time to hone valuable clinical skills. On top of this, it shows your commitment to growing as a medication aide and providing the highest quality care that you possibly can. To this end, there are countless optional certifications that are available to you. First Aid Certification, Advanced Aid and CPR, and Basic Life Support are just a few pertinent examples. Pay attention to what is listed on job descriptions, as well. If certain certifications pop up regularly as either requirements or optional qualifications, look into taking those classes for yourself. Unlike your CMA certification, completing these courses should not take that long at all.
Network, network, network
There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of every resource available to you. While studying for your CMA or taking CNA shifts, you want to network with other HCPs as much as possible. There are countless benefits to a strong professional network, you can get alerted to CMA job opportunities as soon as they are open. If possible, your connection may refer or recommend you to a facility looking for quality CMA work. With a job network, you become a more visible asset to the healthcare community at large. As you are competing for CMA openings, these margins can make a huge difference in the long run.
Apply to VitaWerks for CMA shifts.
At VitaWerks, you can find CMA openings posted from the finest healthcare facilities in your state. We make it our priority to protect the HCPs we partner with and connect them with the best job opportunities available. Our nurse champions will ensure that you find rates well above the market average with hospitals that match your temperament, specializations, skills, and professional priorities. Compared to a lot of staffing agencies, the matchmaking process is extremely fast thanks to our matchmaking technology. Set your own hours and work as you please, to achieve the work-life balance you deserve. As we mentioned earlier, picking up shifts with VitaWerks is a great opportunity for you to gain CMA experience from a variety of different settings. Whether you work full-time or part-time, the choice is yours.