With patient care technician certification you can make a start in a career in health care and feel a sense of achievement in your job. Patient care technicians (PCTs) work under doctors or nurses in clinic, hospital, home and nursing facility settings. They perform routine tasks such as applying dressings to wounds, drawing blood, doing electrocardiograms (EKGs), and moving and caring for patients.
If you are interested in working in the medical industry, but you don’t have the time or the desire to become a doctor, you might consider getting a PCT certification. This page has further details of this field and the programs, both on-campus and by online and distance learning, that can lead to certification. You might also want to check out the Nurse Aide programs.
How do you get patient care technician certification?
In order to be a successful PCT, a person must love caring for people, and have the patience to interact with them on a regular basis throughout the day. Given that patients are often sick and frustrated, a PCT must be able to handle a certain amount of stress that is imposed by their job. There are also physical demands, such as the ability to move patients that cannot move themselves, and stand on their feet for long periods of time.
PCTs are trained in college, usually community colleges, although some are trained in four-year colleges and some by the military. Sometimes the program grants a degree, sometimes an educational certificate. Generally, the program is short, ranging from less than six months to about two years. Many people enter a PCT program in order to attain job skills and certification in their desired field, and then eventually return to school to become an LVN or RN.
Typically, patient care technician classes include general patient care skills classes, phlebotomy and EKG technician courses, and practical experience. The prerequisites to the program usually include CPR/First Aid, some type of human biology, and other classes such as medical terminology and more, depending on the institute the program is taken at.
What are the career prospects with PCT certification?
There are a wide range of jobs available to a PCT. Some require additional training, completion of a patient care technician test and licensing, and some do not. Certified nurses aides, who are a type of PCT, must take 75 hours of state-approved training and complete an exam in order to be licensed. Different states have different requirements for certain jobs. For the widest range of career prospects, the National Health Care Association offers a chance to take their exam and become a certified patient care technician, or CPCT.
Depending on where the PCT works, there a numerous tasks that they may be called on to do. In a clinic, they may perform mostly medical and clerical tasks, while those that work in hospital or nursing homes will also perform basic care tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and moving patients. There are a number of titles that a PCT might hold, including nursing assistant, health care assistant, nurse’s aide, clinical support associate, and more.
As the health industry expands, so does the demand for PCTs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 18% growth rate in the field of nursing and psychiatric assistants, a category which PCTs fall into. There is predicted to be a greater increase in the demand for nursing assistants or PCTs than for psychiatric assistants, with a growth rate of about 19% between 2008 and 2018 in that area of the field.
PCTs earned a median wage of $11.46 an hour in May 2008. The middle 50% of those employed as PCTs made between $9.17 and $13.76 an hour. Those employed in hospitals and employment services made the most, while those employed as home health care assistants and community care facility assistants made the least.
List of schools and programs
- Professional Medical Assistant
- Clinical Medical Assistant-CERT
- Medical Office Assistant-CERT
- Practical Nurse (PN)-CERT
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