Certified Medication Aide

Lindsay Smith
Last updated at September 16, 2021

A Certified Medication Aide (CMA) is a certified nursing assistant (CNA) responsible for administering daily medication to patients in a hospital or medical facility. Also referred to as Medical Aide Technicians, their duties include monitoring patients, reporting changes, and collecting samples.

Becoming a Certified Medication Aide is one way to further your career after graduating as a CNA and acquiring some health care experience. Prospective students can find work in one of many medical or social institutions such as long-term care homes, hospitals, and medical clinics as well as correctional facilities.

What is a Certified Medication Aide?

A certified medication aide specializes in administering medication to patients in clinics, acute care, and long-term care facilities.

What Does a CMA do?

The responsibilities of a CMA include:

  • Gathering samples from patients for analysis.
  • Recording the times and dosages of all medications.
  • Observing patients and documenting changes in their condition.
  • Delivering medications, either prescription or non-prescription, to patients.
  • Coordinating with other nurses to assist with overall patient care and medication needs.

How to Become a Certified Medication Aide

Find an Approved Training Program

If you are a licensed CNA and want to become a certified medication aide, you will need to find a program approved by your state’s Board of Nursing. A comprehensive list of courses has been prepared by the National Council of Boards of Nursing and is available here.

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How long does it take to become a CMA?

Most programs last 15 weeks and can be taken in the evenings at community colleges, technical schools, and online schools.

The curriculum is diverse with subjects about medication administration, legal, patient communication, taking vital signs, and infection prevention. Clinical hours experience is normally included as well as supervised practice.

Pass the MACE Exam

The MACE exam is the national standard certification examination for Medication Aides. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing is the organization behind it and is responsible for administering centrally with the help of Pearson Vue electronic examination centers.

For more information about the exam, you should contact the NCSBN or visit their website, or the Board of Nursing from the state where you want to become a Medication Aide, a list of contacts is provided here.

Enter the Workforce

After graduating and passing the MACE exam, you will be eligible to get a job as a certified medication aide. Places such as long-term care homes, correctional facilities, and hospitals are usually the workplaces in need of medication aides.

Additional Requirement

Additional education requirements to start training could be a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Clinical hours, as well as classroom experience, might also be required to sit the MACE (Medication Aides Certification Exam).

It’s also common that candidates entering the profession to have a CPR, AED & First Aid certification and to pass a background check due to the nature of their work.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a growth of 20% per year for nursing assistants and orderlies. With extra education and experience, Medication aides have even better prospects.

CMAs can expect to earn $18,733 – $31,103 according to the website payscale.com.