The role of a medication assistant is just as it sounds: to administer medications to patients. As nursing assistants, these certified medication aides work under the supervision of nurses, typically in a nursing home setting. The position helps provide better care for elders; nursing care facilities house many residents, and nursing assistants are often the primary caregivers.
In 2012, nursing assistants earned an average of $25,620 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $35,330, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $18,300 annually. But none of these figures account for practice setting. Those working in nursing care facilities earned closer to $24,650. The job site Indeed provides a similar figure, setting the average at $26,000 a year.
As with any job, location affects salaries, and medication assistants are no exception. In 2013, certified medication aides in New York earned an average of $32,000 a year. Those working in Connecticut also fared better than most, averaging $29,000, while those in California earned slightly less, at an average of $28,000. One of the lower salaries paid was in Louisiana, where the average was just $22,000 a year.
Employers typically seek candidates with a nursing assistant certificate. These training programs can take upward of a year to complete. For you to become a certified medication assistant, CMA programs often require employment at a nursing care facility. They may also ask that you have at least 2,000 hours of direct patient care. Unlike the actual nursing assistant training programs, CMA programs usually consist of one class made up of 60 hours of coursework and 40 hours of clinical experience.
The BLS expects employment for nursing assistants to grow by as much as 20 percent through 2020, much faster than the national average for all occupations, a projected 14 percent. In this relatively large field, the 20-percent growth rate works out to the creation of more than 300,000 new jobs, many of which will be for aides. As the aging population continues to grow, it drives demand for people to take care of them later in life, particularly in nursing care facilities.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Nursing Aides, Orderlies and Attendants
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Nursing Assistants
- Northeast Wisconsin Technical College: Certified Medication Assistant Program
- Indeed: Certified Medication Aide
- Indeed: Certified Medication Aide in New York
- Indeed: Certified Medication Aide in Connecticut
- Indeed: Certified Medication Aide in California
- Indeed: Certified Medication Aide in Louisiana
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