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Profession Profile: Patient Care Technician (PCT)

Patient Care Technicians provide basic care for hospital patients and for residents of long-term care facilities. Learn about the profession, how to become certified, and employment information.

The Patient Care Technician (PCT) 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 the Registered Nurse, duties typically 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 their training level and the state in which they work
  • Collect blood specimens using phlebotomy skills
  • Perform ECGs

Education and Certification

The occupation of Patient Care Technician is not found in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook. BLS does list Nursing Assistants as having similar duties. Because BLS does not recognize the occupation, there are no formal education and certification requirements for Patient Care Technicians.

Nursing Assistants must complete a state-approved education program in which they learn the basic principles of nursing and complete supervised clinical work. After completing the program, Nursing Assistants take a state competency exam. Passing this exam allows them to use state-specific titles. In some states, Nursing Assistants can earn additional credentials, such as becoming a Certified Medication Assistant (CMA), given by the states. As CMAs, they can give medications.

If you are interested in becoming certified through AMT as a PCT visit our patient care technician page to determine if you are eligible.

Employment

The role of Patient Care Technician (PCT) has similar duties to a Nursing Assistants. The job outlook for Nursing Assistants is expected to grow by 17% in the next decade, faster than the average for all occupations. Currently, there are 1.5 million Nursing Assistant positions in the US.

The growth of the aging baby-boom population will continue to spur demand for medical services, which are often provided by advanced care providers. As the need grows, hospitals will need more PCTs to perform routine clinical duties, allowing the providers to see more patients.

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