How to Become a Certified Medication Aide in Your State

Written by Maggie Kilgallon Content Marketing Manager, IntelyCare
Professional woman smiling while outdoors
Reviewed by Marie Hasty, BSN, RN Content Writer, IntelyCare
Nurse with long hair in green scrubs holding a medication bottle and talking to a patient.

Certified medication aides (CMAs) — also known as certified medication technicians, registered medication aides, medtechs (also spelled med techs), and medaides — play an important role in patient care. Below we share an overview of what a certified medication aide does and what the different qualifications are to become a certified medication aide in specific states in the U.S.

What Is a Certified Medication Aide?

Certified medication aides, certified medication technicians, medtechs, and medaides are certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who have completed additional training that allows them to give medications to patients, or to support patient self-administration of medication. This may be done at a doctor’s or nurse’s request, or meds may be given on a set schedule.

Where Do Medication Aides Work?

Certified medication aides work in hospitals and health facilities, such as skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities. In some states, CMAs perform the same patient care duties as CNAs, as well as give medications.

The metropolitan areas that employ the most nursing assistants such as CMAs are:

If you’re a CNA and want to gain more experience so that you can become a medication aide, you can find great jobs for CNAs on IntelyCare. You can also take a look at CMA jobs to see what’s currently available.

What Does a Medication Aide Do*? 

Certified medication aide duties vary. Under the supervision of a registered nurse, CMAs are responsible for:

  • Providing patients with medications
  • Ensuring that the correct medications are given at the right time
  • Ensuring that the correct dosage of each medication is given
  • Documenting each of the medications being administered and recording dosages and times given
  • Guiding patients on how to take medications properly
  • Reporting any patient changes or adverse reactions to the supervising RN or physician

CMAs also must make sure that medications are delivered the correct way — for example, with food or with water.

Outside of administering medications, CMAs, certified medication technicians, med techs, and medaides also play a vital role in medication management by collaborating with the pharmacy to ensure medication availability and by performing medication cart audits. CMAs also monitor patients and communicate with providers, nurses, and leadership regarding any changes observed in patient condition. They may also gather patient samples for analysis.

As frontline team members, CMAs may be invited to care plan and interdisciplinary meetings. Lastly, CMAs may respond to patient incidents and (with proper certification) administer CPR and first aid if needed.

Extreme attention to detail, timeliness, communication, and astute observation skills are necessary to be a CMA. Like every nursing professional, excellent interpersonal skills and a desire to help people are essential skills for success as a CMA.

*The job actions above are examples. Be sure to check with your state board of nursing/regulatory body for the full scope of practice for medication aides in your state. As always, be sure to check the specific job description in the location you plan to work for more details.

How to Get Medication Aide Certification in Your State

Every state in the U.S. has their own specific requirements for how to become a certified medication aide. In many states, you need to be a CNA or state tested nursing assistant (STNA) first, with a required number of months or years of experience stipulated by the respective state board of nursing.

Generally speaking, to receive medical technician certification, you must:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Complete a minimum number of hours working as a CNA/STNA
  • Complete medication aide training (you can receive certified medication aide training online or in traditional classrooms)
  • Pass a state board exam

In most states, the board of nursing oversees the med tech certification and licensure process. As mentioned, each state has slightly different requirements to become a certified medication aide. Not every state utilizes the CMA option in skilled nursing facilities. If your state is not listed below, the option for working as a CMA may not be utilized at this time.

Med Tech Certification Requirements by State** 

**Note: The links here are for convenience, however for the most accurate and current information, please contact your state board of nursing. 

Colorado

Connecticut

Iowa

Kentucky

Massachusetts***

Become a certified medication technician in Massachusetts.

***This certification is for behavioral health and developmental delay inpatient/intermediate care facilities, not long-term care facilities.

Minnesota

Montana

Nebraska

New Mexico

North Dakota

Oregon

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Ready for a CMA Job That Fits Your Life?

Certified medication aides play a vital role on the frontlines of patient care, but are usually overworked and underpaid. Ready for a better job? Check out all the CMA jobs and find the right ones that interest you and meet your needs.