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Approved Med Admin

Direct support professionals, or DSPs, require special certification to administer most medications and treatments. Once certification is earned, it must be renewed annually. Certification is issued by DODD. All certifications can be verified through Medication Administration Certification Verification.

There may also be a requirement for nursing delegation, in addition to certification, depending on the setting size or the type of medication or task. View the Med Admin Reference Grid attachment (to the right) that illustrates the actions and settings specified in OAC 5123:2-6 according to location type, certification, and the need for delegation.

Before administering medication or treatment to a person, the certified personnel must also receive individual specific training (IST). The employer or delegating nurse supervises to ensure safe, accurate medication, and treatment administration. All initial certifications must be taught by DODD-certified Registered Nurse (RN) Trainers using the DODD-approved curriculum.

  • Category 1 certification allows personnel to administer oral, topical, and inhaled medications, as well as 13 health-related activities if they have been prescribed for a person.
  • Category 2 certification allows personnel to administer medications through a Gastrostomy or Jejunostomy (G/J) tube if the DSP has been delegated to do so by a nurse. This certification is in addition to Category 1.
  • Category 3 certification allows personnel to administer insulin and injectable treatments for metabolic glycemic disorders if the DSP has been delegated to do so by a nurse. This certification is in addition to Category 1.

There are three treatments or actions that DSPs can perform with only DODD annual training. These stand-alone training sessions are not included or related to Medication Administration Certification. The DODD-approved curriculum for this training can be taught by nurses or Category 1 certified DSPs. The three treatments or actions are

  • use of an epinephrine auto-injector for allergic reactions,
  • use of a VNS magnet for seizures,
  • and use of over-the-counter topical medications for cleansing, comfort, and protection of intact skin (including hair, nails, teeth, and oral surfaces).

Category 1 - Medication Administration Certification 

The initial Category 1 certification training must include a minimum of 14 hours of classroom instruction taught by a DODD-certified registered nurse trainer, or RN trainer, using the DODD-approved curriculum.

Routes of medications and health-related activities include

  • prescribed medications taken by mouth, or applied to skin, ears, eyes, nose, vaginally or rectally;
  • prescribed medications that are inhaled, including oxygen and metered-dose inhalers and nebulizers;
  • over-the-counter (OTC) topical medications for musculoskeletal comfort;
  • and 13 health-related activities (or tasks):
    • taking vital signs,
    • application of clean dressings that do not require health assessment,
    • basic measurement of bodily intake and output,
    • oral suctioning,
    • use of glucometers,
    • external urinary catheter care,
    • emptying and replacing ostomy bags,
    • pulse oximetry reading,
    • use of continuous positive airway pressure machines, including biphasic positive airway machines,
    • application of percussion vests,
    • use of cough assist devices and insufflators,
    • application of prescribed compression hosiery,
    • and collection of specimens by noninvasive means.

About Training

To attend training, DSPs must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma (or GED), and have background check results completed by a developmental disabilities agency (or by being a DODD-certified independent provider). This information is submitted to the RN Trainer on the Medication Administration Certification Course Application.

Initial training must be no less than 14 hours of classroom instruction, including demonstration of all skills, and must be taught by a DODD-certified RN Trainer. The DODD-approved curriculum must be used for the training.

Classes may be arranged by the employer or by attending one of the classes open to the public. View classes on the Medication Administration Certification classes page.

After training and before administering medications, personnel and employers must verify that certification is currently registered with DODD and have individual specific training for each person.

This certification is renewed every year and requires

  • an application form for renewal signed by employer verifying background check requirements,
  • at least two hours of continuing education*,
  • demonstration of skills verifying that the DSP continues to perform each action safely and accurately (view Skills Checklist),
  • and a certified RN Trainer to verify renewal requirements and enter them into DODD’s Medication Administration Information System App, or the MAIS App.

(*Training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid, activation of a vagus nerve stimulator, use of an epinephrine auto-injector, administration of topical over-the-counter medication, or universal precautions for infection control may not be included in the continuing education required for certification renewals.)

If renewal is not completed by the certification expiration date, personnel may not continue to administer medications or treatments. DSPs have up to 60 days after expiration to complete renewal requirements. After that time, the entire initial training must be repeated for recertification.

Category 2 - Medication Administration Certification

Administration of Medication by Gastrostomy or Jejunostomy tubes (G or J tubes)

To earn a Category 2 certification, DSPs must have a current Category 1 certification.

With Medication Administration Certification Category 2 and nurse delegation, a DSP can administer medications via a stable and labeled gastrostomy or jejunostomy tube (G/J tube).

Nursing delegation is when a nurse delegates or assigns responsibility for performing a nursing task to a DSP. When doing so, the nurse teaches the DSP what to do and makes sure the DSP performs that task correctly (OAC 4723-13).

The required Category 1 certification must be current for the Category 2 certification to be valid (even if it is not expired).

About Training

Initial Category 2 training must be no less than four hours of classroom instruction, including demonstration of all skills, and taught by a DODD-certified RN Trainer. The DODD-approved curriculum must be used for the training. View classes available to the public on the Medication Administration Certification classes page.

This certification is renewed every year and requires

  • an application form for renewal signed by employer verifying background check requirements,
  • a current Category 1 certification,
  • at least one hour of continuing education (in addition to Category 1 continuing education),
  • demonstration of safe G/J tube skills verified by a nurse (view Skills Checklist),
  • and a certified RN Trainer to verify renewal requirements and enter them into the DODD Medication Administration Information System, or MAIS App.

Administration of Fluid and Nutrition by G/J Tube

Certification 2 is not required for nurses to delegate the administration of food or fluid through a G/J tube. Only nurse delegation is required and is conducted according to Ohio Board of Nursing rules.

Category 3 - Medication Administration Certification

To earn a Category 3 certification, DSPs must have a current Category 1 certification.

With Medication Administration Certification Category 3 and nurse delegation, a DSP can administer insulin and injectable treatments for metabolic glycemic disorders.

Nursing delegation is when a nurse delegates or assigns responsibility for performing a nursing task to a DSP. When doing so, the nurse teaches the DSP what to do and makes sure the DSP performs that task correctly (OAC 4723-13).

The required Category 1 certification must be current for the Category 3 certification to be valid (even if it is not expired).

About Training

Initial Category 3 training must be no less than four hours of classroom instruction including demonstration of all skills taught by a DODD-certified RN Trainer. The DODD-approved curriculum must be used for the training. View classes available to the public on the Medication Administration Certification classes page.

This certification is renewed every year and requires

  • an application form for renewal signed by employer verifying background check requirements,
  • a current Category 1 certification,
  • at least one hour of continuing education (in addition to Category 1 and Category 2 continuing education),
  • demonstration of safe insulin/metabolic glycemic injection skills verified by a nurse (view Skills Checklist),
  • and a certified RN Trainer to verify renewal requirements and enter them into the DODD Medication Administration Information System, or MAIS App.

VNS, EPI, OTC Topical Stand-Alone DODD-Approved Training

There are three treatments or actions that DSPs can perform with only DODD annual training. This is stand-alone training that is not included or related to medication administration certifications.

They are

  • use of an epinephrine auto-injector for allergic reactions,
  • use of a vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) magnet for seizures,
  • and use of over-the-counter topical medications for cleansing, comfort, and protection of intact skin (including hair, nails, teeth, and oral surfaces).

A licensed nurse or other person with current Medication Administration Certification Category 1 may provide training. The DODD-approved curriculum must be used for the training.

The training requires the DSP to demonstrate the ability to perform the task correctly. 

Once training is complete, DSPs may perform these tasks and administer these medications after they have received individual specific training about the person needing the support.

DSPs who have been trained to use an epinephrine auto-injector through other certification classes, like a first-aid course through the American Red Cross, are not required to complete additional training if that certification remains current.

DSPs may independently complete a self-directed VNS training in DODD MyLearning.