Becoming a Medication Technician: Training & Certification Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Are you interested in becoming a certified medication technician? Explore requirements, job duties, and salary to see if a medication tech career is for you.

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What Is a Medication Technician?

Medication technicians are responsible for providing patients with non-injectable prescription medications. These professionals work under the supervision of registered nurses or other medical staff to prepare, distribute, and monitor the effects of a patient's medication. Common places of employment include retirement centers and nursing homes. The average medication technician job description states that the job may require standing for extended periods.

Career Requirements

Education Level Certificate or diploma
Licensure and Certification Nursing assistant certification; medication technician/aide certification
Experience 1 year of experience is often required
Key Skills Excellent communication and organizational skills
Salary (2020)* $30,720 annual median wage

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job postings by employers (May 2019), *

Preparation and distribution of medication are duties that can be carried out by a medicine technician.

Read on to find out how to become a how to become a medication aide or a medication tech.

How to Become a Medication Tech

Step 1: Become a Certified Nursing Assistant

Individuals who want to learn how to become a med tech should check the requirements in the state in which they hope to practice. Many states require prospective medication technicians to be registered and employed as nurse aides or certified nursing assistants (CNAs). To become a CNA, an individual must complete a training program through a community college, vocational school, or healthcare organization. These programs usually last several weeks and combine classroom education with hands-on experience. After completion of the program, graduates must pass their state's competency exam.

Remember to prepare for the exam. Students should review any materials received in class before taking the exam. CNA exam preparation courses are available at some schools as well.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Many states require CNAs to work a certain number of hours before applying to a medication technician training program. Certified nursing assistants can gain experience by working in assisted-living homes.

Step 3: Complete Medication Technician Training

Medication technician classes are often available at community colleges. Common areas of study include medical terminology, infection control, and human anatomy. These training programs consist of classroom and hands-on experience; programs can usually be completed in three months or less.

Step 4: Get Certified as a Medication Technician

After completing an approved training program, aspiring medication technicians must take and pass their state's certification exam. Individuals who pass this exam are often placed on a state registry. Once a medication technician has obtained certification, requirements for renewal of the certification vary by state. In some cases, certified medication technicians must work a set number of hours in 2 years. Completion of a clinical update course may be required as well.

Step 5: Opportunities for Career Advancement

Medication technicians have numerous career advancement options, depending on education and experience. A medication technician might pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree, for example, to prepare for work as a registered nurse.

To recap, with a postsecondary training program and medication management certification, a medication technician can earn around $30,720 a year to prepare, distribute, and monitor the effects of a patient's medication.

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