Healthcare Career Spotlight: the Certified Medication Aide

pink round medication pill
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Certified medication aides, also known in some states in the U.S. as assistive medication administration personnel or medication technicians, have a clearly defined role in the allied healthcare field that is definitely worth exploring further. The overriding goal of this piece is to discuss the medication aide, including the day to day duties and responsibilities associated with this role.

Medication aides are helpful members of the allied healthcare team who assist licensed nurses in the realm of medication therapy. The primary function of the medication aide is safe administration of non-injectable over-the-counter and prescription drugs to clients, patients and residents. Medication aides work at the bedside to distribute medications to a large number of clients in a timely manner.

Medication aides are utilized extensively in certain settings, but never found in other types of workplaces. Post-acute healthcare settings such as long term care facilities, personal care group homes, correctional facilities, schools and assisted living facilities utilize medication aides regularly depending on the state. Meanwhile, medication aides are not utilized in the acute care hospital setting.

Most, but not all, states in the U.S. allow medication aides to work. In the states that do allow the use of medication aides, they are permitted to administer oral, topical, transdermal, eye and ear medicines to clients under the supervision of a licensed nurse. In addition, medication aides communicate with clients, report changes in patients’ conditions, obtain vital signs, and document their findings.

Because of pre-existing regulations in most states, the vast majority of medication aides have prior patient care work experience as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) or unlicensed assistive direct care workers. To be admitted into most medication aide training programs, students must be 18 years of age or older with a high school diploma or G.E.D. and submit evidence of work experience as a CNA or direct care worker.

The educational requirements to become a medication aide differ in each state. For instance, the requirements to become a medication aide in Texas entail 140 hours of training. The 140-hour medication aide training programs in Texas are comprised of 100 hours of classroom (didactic) teaching, 30 hours of hands-on return skill demonstrations and 10 hours of clinical externship practicum.

The medication aide training classes consist of a targeted review of a number of relevant topics such as medical terminology, human body systems, effects of medication on each body system, infection control, and drug medication classifications. The goal of the medication aide program curriculum is to bestow pertinent knowledge upon students so they will be able to administer medications safely and prudently.

Individuals who graduate from medication aide programs must also pass a written medication aide examination in the state where they plan to secure employment. The medication aide state test usually contains 100 multiple choice questions on medication therapies. Students who pass the written medication aide state test receive a practice permit or state certification as a certified medication aide.

The state medication aide certification and/or practice permit allows the certified individual to work in a wide variety of healthcare settings for fairly competitive pay. In addition, the working conditions of medication aides are generally not as demanding on the body as those experienced by nursing assistants and direct care workers. For many people, a career as a medication aide is a step up.

How does a career in the healthcare industry sound? A career as a medication aide is an awesome entry point into the healthcare field. Working in the allied healthcare field as a medication aide can serve as a wondrously great foundation to any person’s occupational future. 

Legacy Healthcare Careers will soon be offering a medication aide program in the spring of 2019 at our Fort Worth area campus. Place that phone call to (682)626-5266 or the 24-hour hotline at (682)313-6404 to get more information. This is an opportunity that should not be passed up.

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