The North Carolina health-care community is one-of-a-kind in that it has a certain gray area when it comes to med aides and med techs. The educational requirements are similar and the work environments can be nearly identical, but there are minute details in the job description that separate these two career paths.
It can be confusing to differentiate between med techs and med aides. Education-Portal.com defines med techs as employees that handle and analyze bodily fluids and other specimens, while med aides perform clinical and administrative duties. Med techs are expected to provide accurate results to help diagnose patients, but med aides can only perform tasks that are administrative, such as filing paperwork and documenting patient records.
According to Education Portal, the educational requirements for med techs are more varied than those of med aides. A med tech can achieve her training through an associate or bachelor's degree program, a combination of schooling and field experience or, in rare cases, field experience alone. Because med aides perform both clinical and administrative duties, their training can come from associate's or even certificate training in anatomy, pharmacology or diagnostic procedures. Certification is required for med techs, while med aides are encouraged to obtain certification so that employers know their skills meet industry standards.
Distribution of Medication
According to Karen Woodrum, a registered nurse based out of North Carolina, the question of "why" there's a division among med aide and med tech in North Carolina is common. Woodrum, writing on medaidetrainingprogram.com, a medical blog, states that North Carolina is the only state in the country that has two types of med aides and they are only separated by education and the ability to distribute medication in a skilled nursing facility. Woodrum states that med aides who pass only state-approved competency tests can only distribute medication in assisted-living facilities and group homes but not in skilled nursing facilities. These employees are known as med techs. However, a certified nursing assistant that has also completed a 24-hour medication aide training program approved by the Board of Nursing can pass medication in a nursing home.