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Medication Aide vs Respiratory Therapist

Medication Aide vs Respiratory Therapist

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Key Points:

  • Medication Aides assist with administering medications, while Respiratory Therapists provide respiratory care and treatments.
  • Respiratory Therapists typically earn higher salaries than Medication Aides.
  • Respiratory Therapists may have more job opportunities due to the growing demand for healthcare services.
  • Both jobs require in-person training, but Respiratory Therapists generally have more extensive educational requirements.
  • Medication Aide training is generally shorter and less expensive than the training required for Respiratory Therapists.

The healthcare industry offers a wide range of career opportunities, each with its own unique set of responsibilities and requirements. Two of these careers are Medication Aides and Respiratory Therapists. Both roles play important roles in patient care, but they differ in terms of their duties, education and training requirements, and career outlooks.

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What is a Medication Aide and Respiratory Therapist?

Medication Aide A Medication Aide, also known as a Medication Technician or Medical Assistant, is a healthcare professional who is responsible for administering medications to patients under the supervision of a nurse or physician. They work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, and assisted living centers. Medication Aides must have a thorough understanding of medication administration protocols, dosage calculations, and patient safety.

Respiratory Therapist A Respiratory Therapist is a healthcare professional who specializes in the treatment and management of respiratory conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and emphysema. They work closely with physicians to assess patients, develop treatment plans, and administer respiratory therapies. Respiratory Therapists often work in hospitals, clinics, and home healthcare settings.

Difference between a Medication Aide and Respiratory Therapist

While both Medication Aides and Respiratory Therapists work in the healthcare field, there are several key differences between the two professions:

Scope of Practice

  • Medication Aides primarily focus on medication administration, whereas Respiratory Therapists focus on the treatment and management of respiratory conditions.
  • Medication Aides work under the supervision of a nurse or physician, while Respiratory Therapists often work independently or as part of a healthcare team.

Responsibilities

  • Medication Aides are responsible for administering medications, documenting administration, and monitoring patients for adverse reactions.
  • Respiratory Therapists are responsible for assessing patients, developing treatment plans, administering respiratory therapies, and monitoring patients' respiratory status.

Skills and Knowledge

  • Medication Aides must have a strong understanding of medication administration protocols, dosage calculations, and patient safety.
  • Respiratory Therapists must have a thorough understanding of respiratory anatomy and physiology, as well as the ability to interpret diagnostic tests and develop treatment plans.

Licensure and Certification

  • Medication Aides are typically required to complete a state-approved medication aide training program and pass a certification exam.
  • Respiratory Therapists are required to complete an accredited respiratory therapy program and pass a national certification exam.

Medication Aide vs Respiratory Therapist: Job Description

Medication Aide

  • Administer medications to patients under the supervision of a nurse or physician.
  • Document medication administration and monitor patients for adverse reactions.
  • Assist with other patient care tasks, such as taking vital signs and assisting with activities of daily living.

Respiratory Therapist

  • Assess patients' respiratory status and develop treatment plans.
  • Administer respiratory therapies, such as oxygen therapy and bronchodilator medications.
  • Monitor patients' response to treatment and adjust therapy as needed.
  • Educate patients and their families about respiratory conditions and self-care strategies.

Medication Aide vs Respiratory Therapist: Education and Training

Medication Aide

  • Complete a state-approved medication aide training program, which typically takes several weeks to a few months to complete.
  • Pass a certification exam to become a certified medication aide.
  • Some states may require additional training or education, such as a high school diploma or GED.

Respiratory Therapist

  • Complete an accredited respiratory therapy program, which typically takes two to four years to complete.
  • Earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy.
  • Pass a national certification exam to become a certified respiratory therapist.

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Medication Aide vs Respiratory Therapist: Career Outlook and Salary

Medication Aide

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of Medication Aides is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The median annual wage for Medication Aides was $34,800 as of May 2020, according to the BLS.

Respiratory Therapist

  • According to the BLS, employment of Respiratory Therapists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The median annual wage for Respiratory Therapists was $63,950 as of May 2020, according to the BLS.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a career in the healthcare field is an important decision, and it's essential to consider your interests, skills, and long-term goals. Both Medication Aides and Respiratory Therapists play crucial roles in patient care, but they have different responsibilities, education and training requirements, and career outlooks. If you enjoy working with medications and have a keen attention to detail, a career as a Medication Aide may be a good fit for you. On the other hand, if you have a passion for respiratory health and want to make a difference in the lives of patients with respiratory conditions, becoming a Respiratory Therapist may be the right path for you.

Dreambound provides programs in various locations. Explore these blogs for in-depth information on the two vocations, including their specific requirements and instructions on how to become a part of them:

Jessa Guzon
Written by
Jessa Guzon

Jessa Guzon is a member of the School Growth and Customer Success Team in Dreambound. She finds joy in assisting both schools and students in reaching their goals by answering their queries and connecting them with the right people. Outside her professional role, Jessa is a happy-go-lucky person with a thirst for adventure.

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