If you enjoy helping people and want to get involved in the healthcare industry, a career as a patient care technician is a rewarding way to make a difference in patients’ lives.
You will find excellent patient care technician (PCT) jobs in hospitals, doctor's offices, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities throughout the US. Similar to nursing assistants, patient care technicians support nurses, doctors, and caregivers by serving meals, monitoring vital signs, helping with food and bedding needs, and so much more.
Wondering how active, compassionate individuals can enter this rich and rewarding career? Let's take a look at the first steps.
To become a Patient Care Technician, you’ll need to have a high school diploma (or equivalent) and complete a training program.
There are various state-approved training programs that last between 20 to 27 weeks. Although you can select in-person instruction, many successful PCTs complete their training online. You can find some of the best training programs online; they are flexible and remote, help with career placement, and provide individualized orientation and support.
A PCT must learn many important skills to successfully perform their duties and responsibilities.
Coursework often covers medical records, medical laws and ethics, patient preparation, medical terminology, lab tests and safety, and basic medical procedures.
After completing your Patient Care Technician certification training, you'll be eligible to take an exam – administered by the National Health Career Association – to become a Certified Patient Care Technician (CPCT). Most US medical facilities require certification. That said, certified professionals enjoy higher pay and broader job opportunities.
Note that you must be over the age of 18 to apply for certification. The test itself is comprised of 100 questions – with 20 pretest questions – and takes up to 1 hour and 50 minutes to complete.
Many medical facilities require on-the-job training for new hires. Because all patient care technician jobs are different, on-the-job training is meant to familiarize you with the clinical tasks and responsibilities you will perform in your new position.
Be aware that a PCT job commonly involves long hours, as patients often require around-the-clock assistance. The job also usually requires physically strenuous, hands-on tasks involving lifting and other physical movement.
As a Certified Patient Care Technician, you must also learn your facility’s protocols and your state’s medical laws – they differ throughout the nation – to fully understand your responsibilities.
Seasoned professionals also recommend that PCTs learn stress-reduction and stress-management strategies. As a medical professional, it’s important to stay positive and motivated while working so you can provide patients with the best possible care.
Patient care technician jobs are excellent entry-level positions that can kickstart your career in the medical industry. In time, you can use your valuable PCT experience and continue your medical education to become a Registered Nurse – which brings along added responsibilities, but also higher salaries.
Interested in learning more about PCT training and education? Find more information by clicking on MedCerts' PCT program page today.