What is a Patient Care Technician (PCT)?
A patient care technician is a professional in the healthcare field who supports nurses, doctors, and other medical staff in caring for patients. Patient care technicians observe, catalog, and communicate patient needs and concerns while reporting any changes in status to the patient's care team. As a patient care technician, you will be responsible for making your patients feel comfortable and cared for, which often requires you to provide emotional support and guidance during their treatment.
What does a Patient Care Technician do?
As a Patient Care Technician, you will support other healthcare staff, including doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel, in caring for patients. You will play a direct role in caring for patients in various healthcare settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities.
Your main role as a patient care technician is to improve patient well-being. You'll communicate what the patient is feeling in addition to their medical status. In short, you'll play a very important role in the healthcare sector.
Some specific duties and responsibilities may include:
- Regularly checking and recording patient blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse
- Listening to patient concerns, answering questions, and providing guidance
- Monitoring conditions and providing updates to other members of the healthcare team
- Moving, repositioning, or turning patients as needed
- Helping patients dress and use the bathroom
- Monitoring patient liquid and food intake
- Escorting patients for tests or procedures in other areas of the medical facility
Do you have to be a CNA before becoming a PCT?
Although completing training and achieving the Patient Care Technician certification is sufficient in most states, you should also research individual state requirements for employment as a Patient Care Technician before beginning the program.
What is the difference between a CNA and a PCT?
There are definitely some similarities between and Patient Care Technician and a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) such as caring for a basic need like bathing, moving, and feeding patients. However, CNAs are limited to providing this basic care under the supervision of a registered nurse or doctor of medicine. As a patient care technician, you will often be able to do additional tasks such as use EKG machines or draw blood in addition to basic care. The laws in your state will dictate the exact level of responsibility you are able to hold in your patient care technician role.
How long is Patient Care Technician training?
This Patient Care Technician course is designed to be completed within 12 months. In addition to completing the online training course, you will also have the option to pursue an externship using the Externship Starter Kit provided. Externships provide hands-on experience and potential employment opportunities as well as fulfill clinical hours that may be needed for certification in your state. Additional study time is recommended to properly prepare for the Patient Care Technician, Level I, certification exam.
How do you become a PCT?
This first step to becoming a Patient Care Technician (PCT) is earning your high school diploma or equivalent. You will then need to complete a program that will prepare you to earn a PCT certification that fulfills the requirements set forth by your state. It's a good idea to find an externship as part of your studies to gain valuable hands-on experience and help you complete the clinical portion of your education. After you complete your training courses, it's time to earn your certification by passing exams that are required by your state and/or employer. Finally, it's time to update your resume and apply for and land a patient care technician position.
How much do PCTs make?
The average Patient Care Technician (PCTs) salary in the U.S. is $34,666, according to Salary.com, as of May 25, 2023. According to Indeed.com, the average salary of PCTs in the U.S. is $51,199 per year. The salary range can vary, typically falling between $29,021 and $77,169. Variations in salary will depend on your education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have worked in the profession.
Can I register for a course if I am an international student?
Yes, ed2go courses are completely online. However, keep in mind that not all certifying bodies or industry-specific certifications are recognized internationally. Please review your country's regulations prior to enrolling in courses that prepare for certification.
Does this course prepare for a certification?
Yes, you will be prepared to sit for the Certified Patient Care Technician Level I certification exam, offered by the American Education Certification Association (AECA).
When can I start the course?
This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.
How long does it take to complete this course?
This course is self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive twelve (12) months to complete the course.
What if I don't have enough time to complete my course within the time frame provided?
The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.
What kind of support will I receive?
The course instructor will be available by email to answer any questions and provide feedback on your performance. Occasionally, your course may be supported by a team of industry experts. You will also receive support from the student advising team.
What happens when I complete the course?
Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.
Am I guaranteed a job?
This course will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.
Can I get financial assistance?
This course is non-credit, so it does not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses. Additionally, some students may qualify for financial assistance when they enroll, if they meet certain requirements. Financing is available from select schools. Learn more about financial assistance.
How can I get more information about this course?
If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.