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How to Become a Certified Medication Aide

A certified medication aide, is also commonly referred to as a medication technician or a CMA.  This certification would provide the opportunity for certified nursing assistants to administer medicine to patients/residents in long-term care facilities and other healthcare settings.  The requirements may vary slightly by state, but all states that have approved this position mandate certification.

CMAs are supervised by a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse, and they work with patients who are likely taking numerous medications.

What are Most State Requirements

  • High school diploma or equivalency 
  • Currently listed on the states Nurse Aide registry
  • 6 months to 2 years work experience as a CNA

Individuals who wish to pursue this job field will want to contact their state Department of Health. You will want to check out whether you need to become a nursing assistant before you become a medication aide for your state. Several states will mandate this as a requirement.

If you need to first acquire nursing assistant training and certification, you must locate an accredited course. Most technical school classes last for several weeks or a semester. Some nursing facilities in your area may also provide training. You will become a CNA by passing two state examinations--a written test to evaluate knowledge of basic nursing duties, and the practical exam.

Once you meet the state requirements, you will want to enroll in a certified medication aide training program. The length of course from state to state varies widely, with some of the programs lasting anywhere from 20 hours to  some lasting well over 100. CMA training programs are usually part-time and typically are taught by a registered nurse.  Students will spend time in the classroom and also time gaining clinical practical knowledge.  The class work often includes medical terminology, classification of medications, and pharmacology.  There are currently six rights of medication administration that every student must learn.

  • The right medication
  • The right dosage
  • The right route of the medication to be administered
  • The right time for the medication to be given
  • The right person
  • The right documentation

The role of the certified medication aide in administering medication to patients depends on the state laws, your training you received and the policy of your employer.  Not only is it your responsibility in making sure that the right medications are given, the right amount, to the right person, you are also responsible for documenting that the person took or refused to take the medication. 

When you complete the course and pass the states written exam, your certified nursing assistant certification will reflect this on the NA registry. You will then be able to seek out employment.  Having this certification will allow you as a nurse aide more employment opportunities and a higher pay.