Medication Aide Vs Medical Assistant

What is the Difference Between a Medication Aide and Medical Assistant

When it comes to the term CMA – this is the most common question we get asked. While the names may sound similar, they are very different certifications and job titles. A Certified Medication Aide course takes 40 hours to complete and covers the skills required to administer and monitor a patient’s medication. To become a Medical Assistant, your training will take approximately 9 months to 2 years depending on your course load.

What Do You Learn As A Medication Aide?

In the Quality Career Pathways CMA course, you will learn the five rights of safe medication administration including accurate and complete documentation and how to respond when a patient refuses medication. Additionally, the course will cover how to administer medications in a variety of methods such as orally, inhalation, topical and instillation.

What Do You Learn As A Medical Assistant?

You will learn about administering and monitoring medications for your patients, plus additional medical skills, such as chart and code reading, surgical assistance procedures, ECG training, sample collection methods, and more. Please note that QCP does not offer a Medical Assistant course.

Job Opportunities and Salary Levels

Because a Medical Assistant has more training than a Certified Medication Aide, they will have more opportunities. However, in Omaha, Nebraska there are generally many posted CMA jobs openings each month with average salary levels around $39K/year.


If you think of it this way, it is simple to tell the difference: A Medication Aide is trained to handle medications only. A Medical Assistant is trained to cover more areas in the medical field.

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