Patient Care Technician

How to Become a Patient Care Technician?

Jessa Guzon
Aug 8, 2023
Looking for classes? Search on Dreambound

Patient Care Technicians are the unsung heroes in the world of healthcare. If you are wondering how to be one, you are in the right place!  In this blog, we will dive into the role and outline the steps to get you started. 

What does a Patient Care Technician do?

A Patient Care Technician (PCT) is an essential member of the healthcare team. They provide critical help to doctors and nurses and give patients the direct care they need. They may help patients with daily activities like eating, bathing, and dressing. They also track vital signs, draw blood, administer some medications, and maintain patient records. They serve as the nurturing link between patients and the healthcare system. 

If you are wondering which path you want to take, here are some of the types of PCTs and their primary roles: 

1. Telemetry technician

  • Works in intensive care or telemetry units.
  • Performs  Electrocardiograms (EKGs) and monitors the heart's waveforms.
  • They are the first person to notify nurses and doctors of any changes in the heartbeat.

2. Dialysis technician

  • Works with patients undergoing dialysis treatment for kidney disease or failure.
  • Prepares dialysis equipment, monitors patients during treatment, and records patient data.
  • Assists with patient comfort and safety during dialysis procedures.

3. Emergency room technician

  • Assists doctors and nurses in emergency room settings.
  • Performs initial patient assessments, takes vital signs, and provides wound care.
  • Assists with patient mobility and transports patients within the hospital.

4. Rehabilitation or behavioral technician

  • Works with patients who either have substance abuse problems or struggle with serious mental health disabilities. 
  • Assists with daily patient needs.
  • Helps in carrying out treatment plans.

Steps to becoming a PCT:

Becoming a PCT involves several steps, starting with the proper education. Some states require a CNA certification to get enrolled in the program. Please note that each state has specific requirements for individuals aspiring to become a PCT. Here are some of the steps that you need to take:

  1. Get a high school diploma or equivalent: Most PCT programs require a high school diploma or equivalent such as a GED, as a prerequisite.
  2. Enroll in a PCT training program: Next, you'll need to complete a PCT training program. These programs typically cover anatomy, physiology, phlebotomy, EKG, medical terminology, and patient care skills.
  3. Complete the clinical hours or internships: Many PCT programs also require a certain number of clinical hours or internships. On average, PCT programs may require around 150 to 600 hours of clinical or internship experience. This provides hands-on experience in a healthcare setting.  
  4. Get certified: After completing the training program, you'll need to pass a certification exam. The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) offers a PCT certification exam.
  5. Apply for jobs: Once you receive your certification, it's time to begin your job search. PCTs can work in various settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and home healthcare agencies. Tailor your resume and cover letter to each job application, highlighting your relevant skills and experience.

Where can I find PCT classes?

You can easily find classes through Dreambound. You can start by clicking "Search Schools by Zip Code" and inputting your zip code. Sounds convenient, right? But wait... there's more! You can also select your preferred class environment (whether it's Online, Hybrid, or In-person) and look into available payment options that would cater to your financial needs. 

Do you want only to attend night classes during the weekends? We got you! You can customize your preferences by selecting the days of the week and times that you are available. With these features, you can select a class that meets your lifestyle.

Is being a PCT worth it?

Being a PCT comes with several benefits. The average annual salary for orderlies (which includes PCTs) was $36,070 in May 2022, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It can even go up to almost $47,000.  

You can find more details in one of our blogs about a Patient Care Technician's Salary.  

Besides compensation, there are other reasons why you should pursue this career: 

  • Making a difference: As a PCT, you're in a position to make a tangible difference in people's lives, helping them when they're most vulnerable. This ability to influence patients' well-being is a rewarding aspect of the job.
  • Career stability: The healthcare industry has been resilient even in times of economic uncertainty. The growing aging population and increasing demand for healthcare services ensure job security. 
  • Pathway to further opportunities: Starting as a PCT can open the door to many career advancement opportunities. Experiences you gain in direct patient care can provide an excellent foundation in fields such as nursing or medicine. 

Final thoughts

Becoming a patient care technician is a rewarding journey that leads to a fulfilling career. Whether you’re drawn to the role by the desire to help others, the potential for personal growth, or the opportunity for career advancement, the path to becoming a PCT is well-defined and accessible. If you're interested in taking this journey, be sure to check out the Patient Care Technician classes near you and embark on your PCT journey today.

Written by
Jessa Guzon

Jessa Guzon is a member of the School Growth and Customer Success Team in Dreambound. She finds joy in assisting both schools and students in reaching their goals by answering their queries and connecting them with the right people. Outside her professional role, Jessa is a happy-go-lucky person with a thirst for adventure.

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