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Med Tech or Med Aide

man in green scrubs with stethoscope around his neck, scratching his head

Confused? Scratching your head? When it comes to thinking about what is a Med Tech or Med Aide or are they the same???????????

Well…………. Med Techs can be referred to as either a Medication Technicians or sometimes a Medical Technologists (also called a Medical Laboratory Technologist or MLTs) Medical Technologists can work in hospitals or health care related laboratories performing lab tests and providing lab information for health care providers (doctors and others) enabling them to make correct diagnoses and provide appropriate care to their patients. MLTs require a (2) year Associate in Applied Science Degree and passage of a certification exam.

In the North Carolina health care system there is a grey area when it comes to Medication Aides (sometimes called Med Techs) and Medication Technicians (many times referred to as a Med Tech).  The educational requirements can be similar and the work environments can also be similar but there are small differences in the job descriptions that separate these two career paths.

Interestingly, North Carolina is one of a handful of states that has these (2) types of medication “techs” / “aides” and they are only separated by the ability to distribute medication in a skilled nursing facility vs an assisted living facility.  Med Techs are not necessarily Nurse Aides (CNAs) but must have passed a competency test allowing the individual to “pass” medications in assisted living facilities and group homes but not in a skilled nursing home setting. 

A Nurse Aide I, currently listed on the North Carolina Nurse Aide Registry, with a High School Diploma or GED and who has also successfully completed a 24 hour medication aide training program approved by he NC Board of Nursing is a Medication Aide. He or she will be able to pass medications in skilled nursing home facilities. This “Med Aide” will have taken a computerized competency exam satisfactorily and passed a skills exam during the 24 hour class prior to being able to pass medication.  Before allowing the Med Aide to administer medications, the skilled nursing facility must also conduct a skills validation for those medication tasks to be performed in that facility.

What does one do as a Medication Aide?  Medication Aides prepare the proper dosage and dispense medication at time intervals prescribed by the doctor.  They can take the patient’s vital signs (temperature, pulse, respirations or blood pressure) and monitor patients’ reactions to their medications.  Med Aides are responsible for reporting any changes in the patient’s mental or physical condition and/or any noted changes from their daily routine.  Some Med Aides may be responsible for the restocking of medications, depending on their facility’s job requirements.  This individual would always work under the direct direction of a registered nurse (RN).  Med Aides rely on the RN to answer any questions or deal with unforeseen patient situations. 

Please remember all these titles, Med Aide or Med Tech, can sometimes change depending on the part of the country or the state in which you live!  It is very possible that the job description is the same only the title has changed due to where you live and the specific guidelines of another state.  If you are thinking of moving to a state other than the one where you have gone to school it is always best to check into that state’s guidelines.  AB Tech’s Health Occupations Department runs Medication Aide Classes approximately every 3 months.


Chirs Lang, Coordinator

Health Occupations