How to Become a Patient Care Technician
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How to Become a Patient Care Technician

Are you a dynamic, caring person who thrives in a busy environment? Do you enjoy a mix of hands-on care and using technology to help patients get better? The profession of Patient Care Technician (PCT) might be just right for you!

Are you a dynamic, caring person who thrives in a busy environment? Do you enjoy a mix of hands-on care and using technology to help patients get better? The patient care technician (PCT) role might be just right for you! Read on to learn about the profession, how to become certified, and employment information.

 

What Does a Patient Care Technician Do?

The patient care technician is an integral member of the health care delivery team and provides basic care for hospital patients and for residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. A PCT may also help provide care in dialysis centers for patients with renal failure. 

 

Working under the direction and supervision of a credentialed nurse or advanced provider, typical duties include:

  • Clean and bathe patients or residents
  • Help patients use the toilet and to dress
  • Turn, reposition, and transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs
  • Listen to and record patients’ health concerns and report that information to nurses
  • Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Serve meals and help patients eat
  • Dispense medication, depending on training level and individual state regulations
  • Collect blood specimens using phlebotomy skills
  • Perform ECGs

The Path to Becoming a Patient Care Technician

There are no nationally accepted, formal education and certification requirements for patient care technicians. Aspiring patient care technicians can prepare for the role through a variety of routes.

Patient Care Technician Education Options

To learn the skills needed to be a PCT, students can complete a patient care technician program, or they can complete another allied health program, such as a medical assisting program or nursing assistant program, that covers PCT competencies. 

Getting Certified

National certifying organizations, such as American Medical Technologists (AMT), offer examinations for aspiring PCTs to demonstrate that they meet certain standards of competence. Choosing a certifying body is just as important as choosing a school or PCT program. When you choose a certification that is rigorous and practical, you are showing employers and patients that they can trust your skills and knowledge. 

 

To get certified through AMT, you must meet certain eligibility criteria and pass an exam. Those who meet the requirements have an excellent chance of passing the certification exam. If you are interested in becoming certified through AMT as a PCT, visit our Patient Care Technician page to determine if you are eligible.

Patient Care Technician Job Outlook

PCTs have similar duties to nursing assistants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for nursing assistants is expected to grow by 8% from 2020-2030. There were 1.5 million nursing assistant positions in the U.S. in 2020.The growth of the aging baby boom population will continue to spur demand for medical services. As these needs grow, hospitals will need more PCTs to perform routine clinical duties, allowing providers to see more patients. 

Want to Learn More?

Check out our blog on how certification can benefit your career. 

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