How to Become a Medication Aide

Though certified nursing assistants take on important care roles, their duties do not extend far beyond basic care. For instance, they do not have the training to administer medication, even under the supervision of a nurse. If they want that authority, they must gain the certification needed to become Certified Medication Aides (CMA). In comparison, CMAs enjoy a greater scope of roles and responsibilities in a healthcare setting. What is a medication aide, exactly? How does med tech compare vs CNA and how can you become one? For nursing assistants looking to take that next step, this article will answer all these questions and more.

Medication Aide Job Description

CMAs are healthcare professionals with the training and authority to administer drugs (both prescription and nonprescription) to patients daily. They can find work in a number of different healthcare settings, from hospitals, to assisted living facilities, correctional homes and more. Like nurse assistants, they can only carry out their duties with the supervision of a registered nurse (RN). Other CMA duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Administering prescription and nonprescription drugs to patients
  • Monitoring and reporting potential adverse reactions to medications
  • Collecting biological samples for further analysis
  • Educating and instructing patients on how to safely use their medications
  • Monitoring patient dosage daily

How to become a medication aide

Step 1: Fulfill educational requirements for Medical Aide

Before you can become a CMA, you need to become a CNA. Most nursing assistant training programs have similar educational requirements. At the bare minimum, you will need either your highschool diploma or your General Education Degree (GED).

Step 2: Become a CNA

Once you obtain your educational requirements and you are above the age of 18, you can enroll into a 6 to 12 week CNA program. You can find nursing assistant programs in community colleges, vocational schools, Red Cross branches and even certain healthcare facilities. No matter where you enroll, it is important to verify that the program is state-approved or else you cannot take your state’s CNA certification exam. Different states use different exams, though it is worth noting that at least 20 states utilize the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). Once you pass the exam and fulfill any miscellaneous requirements, you can finally obtain your CNA certification.

Step 3: Obtain medication aide certification

As soon as you become a CNA, you can start enrolling in medication aide classes. These programs take around 4 months and around 140 clinical hours to complete. Even medication aide online classes will require you to complete these in-person clinical rotations. Just like your CNA training, you want to find medication aide training that will set you up for future success. Be sure to do thorough research on the curriculum, passing rate and reputation of every program you enroll in. Once you complete your education, most states will require you to take an exam before you can obtain your CMA certification. Any additional requirements and the specific number of required clinical hours will depend on your state.

Step 5. Gain experience before finding your first CMA role

Congratulations on becoming a CMA! Just because you obtained your certification, however, does not mean that you will be automatically accepted for medication aide jobs. To ensure a certain level of quality and competency, employers are looking for CMAs with at least one year of professional experience under their belts. During your training and clinical rotations, you want to take every opportunity to gain valuable experience and knowledge on medical and pharmacological technology. Once you have built your resume, you can begin sending applications to various healthcare facilities.

Medication Aide Salary

According to ZipRecruiter, CMAs earn around $32,722 annually. Your effective pay will greatly depend on your experience, additional certifications and your location. For example: New York CMAs see a $37,292 annual income, while North Carolina nurses only make $23,317 in the same time span. If you want to further maximize your earning potential, finding shifts at VitaWerks will do the trick. We will find you the highest paying rates at the best facilities, while providing you the freedom and flexibility to set your own hours. With enough hours at the right facilities, you will outearn a number of fully-salaried CMAs. Sign up with VitaWerks today and join a healthcare staffing revolution.