How to Become a Patient Care Technician

To become a patient care technician, a high school education as well as additional training courses or experience in healthcare are required.

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Patient Care Technician and Nurse Assistant Training Programs by State

Patient care technician certificates as well as Nursing Assistant certificates are offered through specialized training programs at community colleges, the Red Cross or vocational schools through out the country.

Patient Care Tech Job Description and Duties

A patient care technician (PCT) is similar to a certified nursing assistant, but generally with more advanced technical skills. Certified PCT’s work in a hospital or residential care facility under the direction of a registered nurse or physician. They provide both technical and supportive nursing care for patients. Their job encompasses many clinical tasks, such as performing electrocardiograms (EKGs), collecting blood (phlebotomy), recording vital signs, catheterization, and performing other various tests or diagnostic procedures. They also prepare patients for procedures, assist in moving them if needed, change sterile bandages, and set up medical supplies. They will also collect and document information, medical history, and communicate with patients, their families, and medical staff.

Patient Care Technician Salary and Job Outlook

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country, offering plenty of rewarding career opportunities and stable jobs with benefits. As the aging population grows and large numbers of healthcare workers exit the field or retire, more and more hospitals and healthcare facilities are in need of qualified workers to meet the needs of its patients in the most cost-effective way.

The hourly rate for this position will vary and depend on employer, region, and years of experience. According to, the median hourly rate for this position starts at $10.83, rises to $12.75 with five or more years of experience, and increases slightly with more experience. While the pay is modest, the entry requirements for the job are also fairly low, making this a great opportunity to gain some experience and find out if nursing and patient care is the best path for you.

Explore the featured PCT and nursing assistant programs below. Request information to learn more about any of the programs that interest you.

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Patient Centered Care: By Mickey L. Parsons, Carolyn L. Murdaugh