Certified medication aides work under other medical professionals in providing medical attention to patients. They work mainly with making sure that all medication is monitored and performing properly. They need to complete a training course or certificate program in order to obtain entry-level employment.
Certified medication aides work under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians to provide patients with their regular medication. They must be able to monitor, recognize and report any possible side effects of prescription drugs. Many aspiring certified medication aides are also certified nursing assistants.
|Required Education||Completion of an accredited course or certificate program|
|Certification||Mandatory state certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||18% for nursing assistants *|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$25,710 for nursing assistants*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Information for Aspiring Certified Medication Aides
Certified medication aides (CMAs) may work in nursing homes, assisted living centers or correctional facilities. Since they work directly with patients under the supervision of a registered nurse, CMAs must have good communication skills and be attentive to patients' conditions. According to January 2016 reports on PayScale.com, most CMAs earned $15,603-$37,098 per year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the related nursing assistant occupation to grow faster than average, increasing 18%, from 2014-2024, so CMAs may enjoy favorable employment opportunities.
As part of their formal education and training, aspiring certified medication aides must complete a training course or certificate program that prepares them for state certification. The classroom and clinical requirements can be completed in as little as six weeks, especially for an aspiring CMA who has previous experience as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Applicants to these programs must typically possess CPR certification and pass a criminal background check.
Medication aide programs can be pursued through community colleges, technical schools or online programs, but applicants should check whether the program is accredited by their state nursing board. Students learn about proper ways to administer medication, legal requirements, patient communication, dosage calculation, infection prevention and vital signs monitoring. Many of these programs also include clinical experience and supervised practice hours.
The CMA profession is regulated at both the federal and state levels. Although certification requirements vary by state, applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent and have some classroom and clinical experience to take the Medication Aides Certification Exam (MACE). The MACE is offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Some states require candidates to have CNA certification before they can take the CMA exam.
Those who are interested in working as a medication aide should start by completing a medication aide program at a community college or technical school. In order to become certified, they must pass the MACE and any other tests needed for licensing in their state of work.