How to Become a Medication Technician: Step-by-Step Career Guide
Research the requirements to become a medication technician. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in health care.
Should I Become a Medication Technician?
Medication technicians are responsible for providing patients with non-injectable prescription medications. These professionals work under the supervision of registered nurses or other medical staff to prepare, distribute and monitor the effects of a patient's medication. Common places of employment include retirement centers and nursing homes. This job may require standing for extended periods of time.
|Education Level||Postsecondary certificate or award|
|Licensure and Certification||Nursing assistant certification; medication technician/aide certification|
|Experience||One year of experience is often required|
|Key Skills||Excellent communication and organizational skills|
|Salary (2016)||$28,747 annual median wage|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job postings by employers (July 2012), Salary.com
Step 1: Become a Certified Nursing Assistant
Many states require prospective medication technicians to be registered and employed as nurse aides or certified nursing assistants (CNA). To become a CNA, an individual must complete a training program through a community college, vocational school or healthcare organization. These programs usually last several weeks and combine classroom education with hands-on experience. After completion of the program, graduates must pass their state's competency exam.
- Prepare for the exam. Students should review any materials received in class before taking the exam. CNA exam preparation courses are available at some schools as well.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
Many states require CNAs to work a certain number of hours before applying to a medication technician training program. Certified nursing assistants can gain experience by working in assisted living homes.
Step 3: Complete Medication Technician Training
Medication technician training programs are often available at community colleges. Common areas of study include medical terminology, infection control and human anatomy. Most programs consist of both classroom and hands-on experience; programs can usually be completed in three months or less.
Step 4: Obtain Certification
After completing an approved training program, aspiring medication technicians must take and pass their state's certification exam. Individuals who pass this exam are often placed on a state registry. Once a medication technician has obtained certification, requirements for renewal of the certification vary by state. In some cases, certified medication technicians must work a set number of hours in a 2-year period. Completion of a clinical update course may be required as well.
Step 5: Opportunities for Career Advancement
Medication technicians have numerous career advancement options, depending on education and experience. A medication technician might pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree, for example, in order to prepare for work as a registered nurse.