If you’re interested in becoming a Patient Care Technician (PCT), let’s start with the good news: this is a career path that will be in great demand in the coming years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics anticipates a 21% growth rate for PCT jobs, which means it’s currently one of the fastest-growing career paths in healthcare.
While having job security is appealing, the PCT job itself is also rewarding in many different ways. As a PCT you’ll play a critical role in patient care, no matter what type of facility you work in. And, with a PCT certification, there are a variety of different career opportunities to choose from.
Today we’ll discuss three specific career paths you can choose once you have your PCT certification. But first, let’s review exactly what a PCT does on a daily basis.
Patient Care Technicians: Helping Doctors and Nurses
PCTs work hand-in-hand with doctors and nurses in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and long-term care (LTC) facilities, providing standard and advanced clinical duties. What many find appealing about the PCT role is how closely they work with their patients. PCTs must recognize the individual needs of their patients, and work with other healthcare professionals to create personalized care plans to treat them. This includes caring for and preventing disease and injury, restoring optimal wellness through rehabilitation, educating patients and families, and more.
Certified Patient Care Technicians do perform specific duties. They serve meals, change bedding, and handle safety checks. However, they can also perform more important hands-on medical duties such as drawing blood, administering IVs, and measuring/monitoring vital signs. Due to the nature of the facilities they often work in, they also have the opportunity to develop long-lasting relationships with their patients, which is one of the more rewarding aspects of the job.
That’s just a quick overview of the PCT position. To learn more, visit our PCT Training Certification page, which goes into much greater detail about the skills a PCT develops over a 27-week course.
Three Career Opportunities with a PCT Certification
Now that you have a better understanding of what the Patient Care Technician role is, let’s take a look at three specific jobs you would qualify for once you’re certified. While there are slight differences between each one, the common denominator is you’ll be providing critical daily care for patients, no matter the environment you work within.
1. Home Health Aide
There are two key factors affecting healthcare today and into the future: the immediate needs of baby boomers and the fact that people are living longer. The large boomer population has created a need for more and more PCTs for in-home care (and within nursing homes and hospice centers, too). Having a PCT certification allows Home Health Aides to help seniors with a variety of tasks, including:
That’s just a shortlist of a home health aide’s duties. However, there’s another key role they play for seniors: they serve as true companions, all while having a positive impact on their patient’s overall quality of life. The estimated salary range for a Home Health Aide is $21,000–$34,000.
2. Certified Nursing Assistants
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) work within a variety of healthcare settings, which includes hospitals, nursing homes, LTC facilities, and more. The role demands a unique skill set, one that includes physical stamina as well as documentation. Part of a CNA’s daily routine includes:
In addition to having physical stamina, many PCT-related careers like this one require you to be compassionate, patient, and communicative since you’re working so closely with patients and their families. The estimated salary range for a CNA is $23,000–$35,000.
3. Personal Care Aide
The highest-paid position of the three we’re discussing today, Personal Care Aides take caregiving to the next level. Their job includes much of what is included in the list of duties for Home Health Aides and Certified Nursing Assistants, but they also handle cooking, running errands, and washing clothes. Also, they engage with patients more closely by taking the time to read or play games with them. In some cases, they work in conjunction with family members to ensure the patient’s overall healthcare needs are being met.
Though the role is similar to the Health Home Aide, there is one key difference: Health Home Aides generally have more medical-specific duties than Personal Care Aides do. This makes sense since Health Home Aides normally work for certified, federally funded agencies, while Personal Care Aides typically work for public or private entities, as well as directly with patients’ families. Though they don’t perform as many medical duties, the more time-intensive and hands-on nature of the role does lead to a higher salary potential. The estimated salary range for a Personal Care Aide is $24,000-$67,000.
One Certification Offers Various Opportunities
If you’re reading this, you’re interested in getting your Patient Care Technician certification, or you already have one and you’re job-hunting. Either way, you’re staring down the path of a rewarding career, one where you will have a significant impact on patients’ lives day after day. And keep in mind these are just three potential opportunities right out of the gate, and that many use the PCT certification and their first job as a stepping stone to becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). Whether you want to work in a home or a healthcare facility, a PCT certification will give you a variety of career options to choose from.
Have questions about the PCT certification requirements? Well, we’ve got your answers.