Your Path to Becoming a Patient Care Technician

Required Courses
  • Cardiac Life Support
  • Phlebotomy
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Patient Care Services
  • Medical Terminology
  • Nutrition
  • Resident Rights
  • Infection Control

Patient care technicians work closely with patients. You will help patients bath, dress, and complete personal hygiene care. You will check vital signs, assist in medical examinations, perform electrocardiograms, and conduct phlebotomy. Unlike other nurses or staff members, you will be the patient's primary caregiver. Close relationships and trust will be formed between you and your patients.

To become a patient care technician you must complete formal training and adhere to state regulations. Medical careers in patient care are expected to continue to grow.

Step 1 Education

Training is short. Programs are usually 12 to 24 weeks. Depending on your state and program you will complete a number of classroom and supervised clinical hours. At the completion of your program you take a state exam. However, an associate degree will provide you with advanced knowledge and skills. Enroll in an accredited program.

To work in nursing care facilities, technicians are required to complete a minimum of 75 hours of state approved training. They are then certified nursing assistants. Their names are placed on the state registry of nurse aids.

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Step 2 Job Search

Many college programs offer externships. Externships like internships provide you with real life experience. You will work in a medical facility with real patients. You will develop the communication and problem solving skills you need for your career.

Another way to gain experience is to volunteer at a hospital. Many hospitals offer a variety of volunteer programs. These programs will give you an insider view to life at the hospital or care center. You will form valuable relationships with employees and do tasks similar to patient care technicians. Those relationships will be your network for finding employment.

The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects employment in this field to grow faster than average. There should be excellent job opportunities. Elderly community care facilities are employing more technicians to meet the needs of their patients. More patients are being released early and being placed in health care centers.

Employers value applicants with good health. Your duties are physically demanding. You will help patients in or out of their beds. You will spend most of the day on your feet.

Step 3 Career

Patient care technicians work in variety of healthcare facilities. They work forty hours a week. However because patient's need 24 hour care, many work irregular schedules. Evenings, weekends, and holidays are often required.

As a patient care technician you will earn on average $44,000 annually. Those with advanced knowledge and experience have higher earning potential.

Patient care has been considered a stepping-stone into other medical careers. When you complete a certification program you will be considered a Certified Nurse Assistant. This certification enables you to then advance your career into a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, or medical assistant.