The healthcare industry is a complex and fascinating machine with many systems and parts to serve individuals, families, and the population as a whole. The significance of the healthcare occupations that help to provide direct patient care should always be considered and are worthy of attention and appreciation.
Direct patient care is the bedrock for all other healthcare interventions and treatments, and as such, we are shining the spotlight on one such position: the medication aide.
This resource guide is for certified medication aides everywhere in the US. We’ve compiled the information from publicly available information. Contact your state’s appropriate regulatory board or agency for specific questions and official guidance.
What is a Medication Assistant?
Medication assistants are also referred to as Certified Medication Aide (CMA) or Medication Aide - Certified (MAC). A medication tech, in most cases, is a person who is already a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and has completed additional training that broadens the scope of their job duties to include the administration of daily medications to patients while under the supervision of an RN (registered nurse) or LPN (licensed practical nurse).
How Much Do Medication Assistant Jobs Pay?
As with any occupation, salary data varies by geographic location, whether the setting is urban or rural, work experience, and even supply vs. demand. Medication assistant hourly rates typically range between $11 an hour and $18.
How to Become a Medication Technician
The path to becoming a medication technician in your state will vary depending on which one you live in. While it is often straightforward, not all states hold the same steps, and sometimes the information is harder to find. Therefore, we've created this state resource guide just for you.
This resource guide has been compiled based on publicly available information. For official guidance or case specific questions, please contact the appropriate regulatory board within your state.
Alabama uses the acronym MAC (medication assistants, certified). You must meet their general eligibility criteria and complete an approved MAC education program which consists of 60 hours of theory/lab training and 40 hours of supervised clinical activity. For more information, visit the Alabama Board of Nursing website.
To become a CMA in Arizona, you must first be a CNA with a minimum of six months of work experience and complete a medication training program. Furthermore, you must pass the state of Arizona's CMA skills and written test. For more information, visit the Arizona Board of Nursing website.
Arkansas identifies medication aides by the acronym MA-C. You must maintain CNA registration and full-time employment as a CNA in Arkansas for at least one year. Additionally, Arkansas requires completion of one of its Arkansas MA-C programs. Visit the Arkansas Board of Nursing site for more information.
California authorizes CNAs who have been properly trained and are in good standing with their licensure to administer medications in nursing facilities. In order to be a certified medication aide or technician in California, you must have worked at least 2000 hours as a CNA, successfully completed 10 hours of training, and passed a test from the state board.
Colorado regulates for CNA-Med (Certified Nurse Aide with Medication Aide Authority). The board contracts with Iso-Quality Testing, Inc. to administer and score the Colorado Medication Aide Authority Competency Evaluation Examination (the exam is referred to as COMA). Interested persons must already be CNAs and receive approval from the Colorado Board of Nursing to be eligible to sit for the COMA exam. You can make up to three attempts in a calendar year to pass the COMA, for which a minimum score of 70 is required to pass.
Connecticut's Department of Developmental Services regulates the Medication Administration Certificate Program. The certification program consists of four parts: theory, lab, written exam, and on-site practice. Following successful certification, you must pass biennial recertification.
Delaware has a similar certification identified as Limited Lay Administration of Medications (LLAM). To be eligible you must: be at least 18 years old, have a CPR certification, proficiency in English, competency in math, and complete the LLAM curriculum. A minimum score of 85% is required on the written LLAM exam, and a successful medication administration demonstration is also required as well as a yearly renewal. For more information, visit the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Services site.
District of Columbia
In Washington, D.C., there is no medication aide category, but they have a similar regulated and certified occupation called a TMA (trained medication employee). Eligibility criteria include completing a Trained Medication Employee course, one year of clinical work experience in a program or healthcare facility, and proof of CPR training and First Aid. Certification must be renewed every two years to verify approved continuing education hours. Visit DC Health for more information.
Florida does not have regulations for a certified medication aide occupation.
To become a Georgia Certified Medication Aide, you must be an active CNA and complete the medication aide program successfully, which includes the demonstration of a checklist of skills. The written exam must be passed with a minimum score of 80% in no more than three attempts and within 90 days of program completion. For more information, visit the Georgia Department of Community Health.
Hawaii offers advanced nurse aide training courses and the clinicians are often referred to as CNA IIs. With this additional training, CNAs can administer medications in nursing facilities within the Paradise State.
To become a CMA in Idaho, you must first be a CNA on Idaho's registry and complete an accredited MA-C program. For more information about becoming a medication aide in Idaho, contact the Idaho Board of Nursing.
To be a medication aide in Illinois, you must meet the following eligibility criteria before your application. You must already be a CNA registered with Illinois with at least 2,000 hours of practical experience within three years, complete a medication aide training program, have CPR certification, proof of high school graduation or GED equivalent, verification of fingerprinting for a background check, and evidence of successful completion of the Medication Aide Certification Examination (MACE). Review the medication aide information sheet compiled by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for more information.
The state of Indiana uses the term Qualified Medication Aide (QMA) for this position. The eligibility requirements include: applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, be a CNA with at least 1,000 hours of work experience within the previous 24 months, and complete the QMA training program and pass the QMA exam.
In 2016, Iowa removed the usual eligibility requirement that applicants must first be CNAs to become certified medication aides (CMA). Currently, the Iowa Board of Nursing does not certify for this occupation and refers all questions regarding CMAs to call 515.242.5991.
Certified medication aides certification is regulated in Kansas by the Department for Aging and Disability Services. Kansas CMA applicants must be at least 18 years old, a CNA on the state registry, or a qualified intellectual disability professional (QIDP) with employment verification. Moreover, they must complete a 75-hour course and pass the CMA exam. Continuing education hours are required every two years to maintain the certification.
Kentucky identifies this position as KMA (Kentucky Medication Aide). The Kentucky Board of Nursing refers all KMA inquiries to the Kentucky Community & Technical College System for training and testing. Interested applicants must first be an SRNA (state registered nurse aide) with at least six months of work experience.
Louisiana designates two titles for this occupation: MAC and CMA (medication attendant certified and certified medication attendant). The difference between the two is that MAC is the title designation for working in nursing home facilities only, while CMAs work in home or community-based settings and group homes. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, be currently employed as CNAs, and have at least one year of work experience. For more information, visit the Louisiana Department of Health website.
In Maine, CNAs who want the added designation CNA-M must first be active on the state's CNA registry and have completed one year of full-time employment or the equivalent of such, and "satisfactorily complete" the Standardized Medication Course for Certified Nursing Assistants as approved by the Maine State Board of Nursing.
To become a CMA in Maryland, applicants must first be currently employed as CNAs and be recommended for the CMA training program (60 hours) by the director of nursing of their employment. Once the CMA training program has been completed, the Maryland Board of Nursing will be notified and add the certification to the applicant's registry. A CMA Clinical Update is required 90 days before certification expiration to renew certification without interruption.
Massachusetts has a Medication Administration Program (MAP) certification designation that only applies to direct care staff who work with "stable individuals" who are living in specifically licensed community residences (the list does not include long-term care facilities). For more information about MAP certification, visit the Massachusetts.gov website.
Michigan still needs to have regulations in place for medication aides. Nevertheless, that could change shortly. In Feb 2021, a bill was introduced to Michigan's House of Representatives, HB 4316. The bill proposes to create a medication aide training and permit program for the state. The bill was passed in the House in October 2021 and sent to the Senate, where as of December 2022, the bill was set for "immediate passage."
The state of Minnesota authorizes directors of nursing services to "delegate medication administration to unlicensed personnel according to Minnesota Statutes ."The selected authorized unlicensed personnel must complete a CNA training program and a standardized medication administration training program.
This occupation is not currently available to pursue in Mississippi.
In Missouri, Certified Medication Technicians (CMTs) complete a state-approved CMT training course, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, are active on the CNA registry, and have been actively employed as a CNA for a minimum of six months before the CMT course. For more information, visit the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services.
To become a Medication Aide in Montana, a high school diploma or GED equivalent is required. You must be at least 18 years old, pass a board-approved Med Aide 1 training program, and pass the subsequent Med Aide 1 exam within 12 months of finishing the training program. You have three attempts to pass the exam and must submit to a fingerprinting and background check. For more information, visit the Montana Board of Nursing.
Medication Aides in Nebraska must have passed an approved Medication Aide course (40 hours) and the state examination with a 72% or higher score. For more information, visit the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services site.
Nevada MA-C's are regulated by the Nevada Board of Nursing. To maintain certification, MA-Cs must complete 24 hours of continuing training every two years and have at least 200 hours of employment as an MA-C.
Medication Nursing Assistants (MNAs) in New Hampshire are regulated by the state's Board of Nursing. Applicants for the MNA license must submit their MNA education program completion certificate and their LNA (Licensed Nursing Assistant) license. A list of state-approved MNA training programs is available here.
To become a CMA in New Jersey, you must already be certified in the state as a home health aide, personal care assistant, or nurse aide. Furthermore, you must complete an approved medication aide training program and pass the medication aide exam within six months of finishing the training program. For more information, visit the New Jersey Department of Health website.
For those interested in becoming a medication aide in New Mexico, they must be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, have at least six months of work experience in a board-approved agency, hold a CPR certification, and complete a board-approved medication aide program. For more information, visit the New Mexico Board of Nursing.
New York identifies this role as an AHHA (advanced home health aide). To become an AHHA, applicants must first be known on the state's registry as a certified home health aide, have at least one year of home care experience, and "be recently trained in or currently certified in CPR or Basic Life Support." Furthermore, graduation from a New York state-approved Advanced Home Health Aide Training Program and passing the New York Medication Aide Certification Examination (MACE®) is required. Visit the New York State Office of Professions website for more information.
Medication Aides in North Carolina are regulated by the North Carolina Division of Health and must be listed on the state's Medication Aide Registry. Those interested must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, complete a North Carolina Board of Nursing-approved medication aide training program, and complete a state competency evaluation program. For more information, visit the North Carolina Board of Nursing website.
For North Dakota residents, there are two designations for this occupation: Medication Assistant I and Medication Assistant II. You must first be an active CNA and complete the Medication Assistant I or II training program. For more information, visit the North Dakota Health & Human Services website.
The Ohio Board of Nursing regulates MA-C. To apply, you must be no younger than 18 years, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, complete an approved training program, and pass the medication aide test. Continuing education requirements apply for certification renewal. For more information, visit the Ohio Board of Nursing site.
To become a Medication Aide in Oklahoma, you must first be a state-certified direct care aide, home healthcare aide, or long-term care aide. Furthermore, successful completion of a state-approved training program is required. The state offers two types of exams for certification: Certified Medication Aide and CMA-Insulin Administration. For more information, visit the website of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
CMA eligibility requirements for Oregon include the age requirement of at least 18 years, being listed on the state's registry as a CNA, and documentation from present or former employers showing a minimum of six months of work experience or 832 hours as a CNA. Once eligibility requirements have been met, the next steps are successfully completing an OSBN-approved medication aide training program and passing the OSBN competency examination to become a certified medication aide. For more information, contact the Oregon Board of Nursing.
Pennsylvania now offers a new Medication Administration course to teach unlicensed staff in licensed facilities how to administer medications safely. It is a hybrid course of classroom and online learning. For more information, contact the Pennsylvania Medication Administration.
To apply for certification as a Medication Aide in Rhode Island, you must already be a licensed nursing assistant (NA), complete the Medication Aide application, provide copies of a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and a transcript/certification for completion of an approved medication aide training program, three medication evaluation forms from three different dates, and other supporting documentation. For more information, contact the Rhode Island Department of Health.
At this time, South Carolina does not have a mediation aide designation.
South Dakota Unlicensed Medication Assistants (UMAs) eligibility requirements include a high school diploma or GED equivalent and completion of a board-approved training program to register for the UMA exam. Applicants have two attempts to pass the UMA exam, and certification is valid for two years. For more information, visit the South Dakota Board of Nursing site.
Tennessee residents interested in becoming certified medication aides must complete an approved medication aide training program, have completed 12th grade or the equivalent, be at least 18 years old, and have worked as CNAs for 365 days of continuous, uninterrupted full-time work at no more than two different facilities. For more information, contact the Tennessee Board of Nursing.
Texas CNAs actively employed in a Texas-licensed facility are eligible to become medication aides. Completing an approved medication aide training program will include 100 hours of class time, 20 hours of skill demonstration, and 10 hours of clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed nurse. Only two attempts can be made to pass the medication aide exam. Once issued, the permit is valid for one year, and continuing education hours are required after the first year. For more information, visit the Texas Department for Health and Human Services page.
Active Utah CNAs with at least 2,000 hours of work experience within the previous two years in a long-term care setting who hold current CPR certification may apply for Utah's medication aide-certified course, which will consist of 60 classroom hours and a minimum of 40 practical training hours. For more information, contact the Utah Nursing Assistant Registry.
To become an MNA (medication nursing assistant) in Vermont, you must hold an active LNA (licensed nursing assistant), complete a state-approved medication assistant education program, pass the Medication Aide Certification Examination (MACE*), and the Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE*). Visit the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation website for more information.
Virginia residents interested in becoming a medication aide should complete a state-registered medication aide training program. First-time applicants, renewals, and requests for reinstatements are achieved through the Virginia Board of Nursing online.
To become an NAC (nursing assistant-certified) with a medication assistant endorsement in the state of Washington, those interested should first be nursing assistant-certified with a minimum of 1,000 work experience hours within the last year, complete a medication assistant program from the list maintained by the Nursing Commission, and pass the medication assistant competency evaluation and a written competency evaluation. The endorsement requires yearly renewal. For more information, visit the Washington Department of Health site.
West Virginia identifies this occupation as AMAP (approved medication assistive personnel). All AMAPs must be trained by approved registered nurses. Contact the West Virginia Office of Health Facility Licensure & Certification for more information.
Currently registered Wisconsin Nurse Aides interested in becoming a medication aide in a nursing home or hospice setting must meet basic eligibility requirements, have at least 2,000 of direct patient care work experience within the last three years, have worked at least 40 hours within the previous 90 days with residents receiving medications, and have written recommendations by the director of nursing, the administrator of your employing agency, and two licensed charge nurses who will supervise your future medication administration duties. Furthermore, they must complete an approved medication aide training program. For more information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services site.
As of the date of this article, Wyoming has suspended all Division supplied MAT (medication assistant training) classes "due to the ongoing health emergency ."Current certifications have been extended "until the end of the current public health emergency," when recertification will be necessary within 30 days. Check for updates on the MAT suspension by visiting the Wyoming Department of Health website periodically.
Please remember: This resource guide has been compiled based on publicly available information. For official guidance or case specific questions, please contact the appropriate regulatory board within your state.