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Patient Care Technician Career Specialty

Going to the doctor can be nerve-wracking for many people. Patients may enter a facility feeling scared or nervous; as a patient care technician, you can provide excellent care while helping them feel comfortable in their surroundings. Patient care technicians do many of the same job tasks as certified nursing assistants in exam rooms and hospital settings. However, this training can provide you with the skills you need to perform additional specialized duties such as EKGs and blood collection.

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Patient care technicians provide several basic services to patients when they first check in and go in to the exam room. You may confirm a patient’s identity, take their blood pressure, check heart rate, and record pulse. While working with a doctor or nurse, you may perform a physical exam, monitor a patient’s food intake while in the hospital, and help patients perform personal cares. Clearly, patient care technicians can do a lot to improve a patient’s experience and minimize the workload of doctors and nurses.

If you are ready to make an impact on the lives of patients in your area by becoming a Patient Care Technician (PCT) request information from the schools on our site today. Entering this field can be extremely rewarding, and offers a solid career that can be satisfying in several different ways. Get started today by obtaining detailed program materials from the schools below.

Patient Care Technician Programs

If you decide to become a patient care technician, there are several degree options you can choose from.

While patient care tech programs have considerable overlap with the kind of training you get in an associate degree program in clinical medical assisting, the curriculum and the award (certificate, diploma or associate degree) you earn at the end of the program are quite a bit different. If you plan to become a patient care tech, look for specific programs in that field.

At many schools, you can earn a diploma in about nine months of full-time study. A few schools offer an associate degree program, but this two-year option is far less common than diploma options.

Patient care technician programs are designed to tackle learning goals in four main areas. The first is basic patient care skills. These skills are similar to what Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) do, so having a current CNA license can give you a step up. You can also learn how to run EKG equipment and work as an EKG technician. Phlebotomy is another important part of a patient care technician program—taking blood and storing it safely may be a significant part of your job. Advanced nursing assistant skills are the final part of your program.

As you start your program, you can plan on taking core courses like Health Care and Body Systems, Nursing Assistant Skills, and Phlebotomy. You may complete two different internships in your program. Some schools allow you to complete an internship that builds on your CNA skills and another internship that expands your skills.

Many of your courses have a focus on hands-on skills. You may take CPR, EKG Technology, and Advanced Nurse Assisting Skills. These courses involve working with practice dummies, real medical equipment, and even patients.

Certification and 2017 Job Outlook for Patient Care Technicians

Legally, you do not need to become licensed or certified before working as a patient care technician. However, you may have difficulty finding a PCT job without certification, since certification can make it easier to prove your skills and level of professional experience.

The National Health Career Association offers a Certified Patient Care Technician program. After completing your education and getting your diploma, you can register for the CPCT exam. This exam tests you on basic patient care, patient care supplies, making beds, performing safety checks, EKG readings, and phlebotomy procedures.

Once you pass the CPCT exam, you can use your Certified Patient Care Technician title in your job search. Your certification is good for two years. To keep your certificate valid, you must complete 10 continuing education credits every two years.

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, patient care technicians fall under the category of nursing assistants. The demand for patient care techs is expected to increase faster than average , so you may have a variety of employment options to apply for after completing your education (BLS, 2017). The average salary for a nursing assistant is $25,710 per year (BLS, 2017), but like most careers, this figure can increase with experience and education.

You may work in a variety of settings as a patient care technician. Many technicians are hired by hospitals or nursing homes. In these locations, you may be expected to work evenings, nights, and weekends. Some PCTs work in clinics, as well, providing day to day assistance with a variety of patients.

If you’re ready to offer patient-centered care and work closely with other medical professionals, learn more about patient care technician schools today!