California native elevates career with Blinn's Certified Medication Aide Program

‘The opportunity presented itself at the right time in my life,’ Joe Vasapolli says

‘The opportunity presented itself at the right time in my life,’ Joe Vasapolli says

January 17, 2019

After 13 years as a California schoolteacher, Joe Vasapolli decided to leave the Golden State in search of new scenery in central Texas.

With new terrain came the urge to switch careers. The Burbank native pursued a position in the growing healthcare field as a certified nurse aide, but soon realized it was time to take the next step. Vasapolli turned to the Blinn College District’s Certified Medication Aide Program to elevate his career.

“One of my co-workers went through the Certified Medication Aide Program at Blinn and highly recommended it to me,” he said. “It is hard to top the affordability, flexibility, and instruction. It was perfect for my work schedule and the opportunity presented itself at the right time in my life.”

Administered by Blinn’s Division of Technical and Community Programs , Blinn’s three-month Certified Medication Aide Program teaches students how to properly prepare and administer medication in a licensed healthcare facility. Medication aides must understand medical and pharmacological terminology, abbreviations, and symbols, and manage medications for a large number of patients without error.

“Certified medication aides are an important part of the medical team,” Instructor Trudy Kinsey said. “They allow the nursing staff more time to assess and identify any issues that may arise and are considered another ‘eye’ available to supervise individuals in their care.”

The program consists of 35 four-hour classroom sessions and 10 hours in a clinical setting. Course curriculum is designed and implemented based on training assessment and certification standards set forth by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. Licensed faculty with extensive experience and knowledge teach each course.

“Our instructor is very knowledgeable and ensures that we stay up-to-date with the latest medication information,” said Vasapolli, who works at a long-term care facility in Centerville. “You never can stop learning when you are a certified medication aide because modern medicine is always evolving. I love that I get to learn something new every time I come to class.”

Upon successful completion of the program, students are prepared to take the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Medication Aide Licensure Exam. Jobs opportunities for certified medication aides abound in long-term healthcare facilities, hospitals, correctional institutions, and assisted living facilities.

“When I worked as a certified nurse aide, I interacted with my residents to see what types of medication they were on so I could effectively help them with their other activities,” Vasapolli said. “Now, as a CMA, I am able to further my responsibilities and continue to get to know my patients on a deeper level.”

Blinn will offer its next Certified Medication Aide course beginning Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the Post Office Campus located at 301 Post Office St. in Bryan. The $805 course will run through Tuesday, June 4.

For those already licensed as certified medication aides, Blinn offers a monthly $75 refresher course that meets the requirements of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. The 8-hour course includes specific training and review in the preparation of administration of medications, documentation, licensing standards, safeguarding of medications, drug reactions and side effects, and updated and new medications on the market. Students who successfully complete the course receive an updated certified medication aide permit from the state.

A new Certified Medication Aide refresher course will be offered from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Post Office Campus.

For more information about Blinn’s Certified Medication Aide Program and Renewal, visit www.blinn.edu/workforce/certified-medication-aide.

Blinn’s technical and community education courses provide students the knowledge and ability they need to enter the workforce immediately after completion of the courses. Many of these courses do not require a high school diploma and enrollment is fast and easy. As most of these courses are non-credit, students do not need to go through the College’s admissions process to enroll. Programs vary in length and are offered with daytime, evening, and weekend options.

Business owners can enroll their employees in Blinn Technical and Community Education courses using Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development and Skills for Small Business funds, and Blinn staff can help businesses complete the request form. Blinn also offers students access to scholarships through the Blinn College Foundation, private grants, and Workforce Solutions.

For more information or to register for these courses, visit the Blinn Post Office Campus at 301 Post Office Street in Bryan. For additional information, visit www.blinn.edu/workforce or call 979-209-7205.

COURSE NAME/NUMBER BEGIN END CONTACT HOURS DAYS TIMES LOCATION COST
ELPT 2000: Electrician License Renewal 1/19 1/19 4 Sat. 8:00 a.m. - noon Hwy 60 Training Center $45
NURA 1001: Certified Nurse Aide (Night) 1/22 4/4 80 TTh 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Post Office Campus $700
NURA 1013: Certified Medication Aide 1/29 6/4 140 TTh 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Post Office Campus $805
NURA 1041: Certified Medication Aide Refresher 1/19 1/19 140 Sat. 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Post Office Campus $75

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