Patient Care Technician
If you enjoy taking care of others and are looking for an entry-level job in healthcare, a career as a patient care technician (PCT) may be a great fit.
Learn about the patient care technician job, where PCTs generally work, what qualifications you need to begin your career, and why CNA training can help you land the perfect PCT role.
What Is a Patient Care Technician?
Patient care technicians provide support to medical staff by caring for patients, both for short-term and long-term stays in hospitals and other care environments. Their functions revolve around providing basic care and can include taking vital signs, supporting eating and toileting needs, and communicating findings to nurses and doctors. Other typical responsibilities include:
- Keeping patient medical records up to date
- Maintaining sanitized patient rooms and bathrooms
- Supporting nurses as they administer treatments
- Drawing blood and collecting specimens
- Administering medications and tests
- Speaking with family members and answering basic questions
Where Do PCTs Work?
Patient care technicians are qualified to work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, outpatient facilities, nursing homes, and rehabilitative centers. PCT roles are often more prevalent in hospitals, while long-term care facilities tend to hire more certified nursing assistants (CNAs).
What Are the Qualifications to Become a PCT?
In addition to a high school diploma or GED and Basic Life Support (BLS) certification, most PCT roles require training along with either CNA or medical assistant (MA) certification from a state-approved program. Healthcare facilities usually prefer to hire PCTs with at least one year of CNA experience or completion of a reputable CNA training program. Some employers require both certification and one year of experience.
Because certification is often the hiring standard for patient care technician jobs, individuals interested in this career path will need to consider which educational option best suits their needs. Requirements can vary across positions and employers, so it’s important to review several PCT job postings to get a sense of what you should look for in a training program.
What’s the Difference Between PCT Training and CNA Training?
While there are differences between PCT and CNA training programs, both can get you on the career path to becoming a patient care technician.
PCT training typically takes between 20-27 weeks to complete, while CNA training programs only take 4-12 weeks. Both include a combination of classroom and clinical training, but CNA training is more affordable than PCT training because it’s a shorter program.
PCTs can earn higher wages than CNAs, given that they take on additional responsibilities such as performing EKGs or collecting blood samples. That said, CNA training provides the foundational knowledge needed to begin working and earning more quickly. You can seek additional training for EKGs, venipunctures, and other more advanced procedures when the time is right. Many employers will even provide CNAs with the on-the-job training they need to become PCTs.
Because CNA programs tend to be more readily available and certifications transfer more easily across state lines, many individuals decide to pursue this type of training—even if their end goal is to become a patient care technician.
How to Become a PCT With Premier Nursing Academy
Premier Nursing Academy provides free CNA training for qualified individuals. Here’s how to make the most of this training option as you pursue your PCT career.
1. Complete Our Free CNA Training Program
Premier Nursing Academy partners with qualified healthcare facilities to provide free CNA training with no expenses for students. Rather, healthcare providers absorb these costs in exchange for employing qualified graduates upon program completion.
2. Get Matched With an Employer Partner
Premier Nursing academy is currently working with Tampa-area hospitals to fill PCT roles. After completing your CNA training, Premier Nursing Academy can match you with an employer looking to hire certified CNAs for PCT jobs. This allows you to move directly into a position where you can start gaining the experience you need to take on additional PCT duties.
3. Gain Experience in a CNA Role
By training with Premier Nursing Academy to become a certified CNA, you can also move into a CNA position with one of our employer partners after graduation, get paid on-the-job training, and be better qualified for a PCT role after gaining some experience.
While working as a CNA, you can begin completing the additional requirements to advance to a PCT position for employers that require both CNA certification and one year of CNA experience.
Why Choose a CNA Training Program Over Other PCT Programs?
Some PCT schools require students to be certified nursing assistants before even enrolling in a patient care technician training program. In these instances, you’ll have to become a CNA first and then pursue PCT training.
If you’re deciding between PCT and CNA training, choosing a CNA program makes sense for students who want to complete their education and begin working more quickly. Premier Nursing Academy’s CNA training takes just 4-6 weeks to complete—putting graduates to work five times faster than standard PCT programs.
Given that PCT programs last longer, they also cost more. Premier Nursing Academy provides CNA training entirely free to eligible candidates so they can graduate and move into their new careers without incurring any school-related debt. Moreover, Premier Nursing Academy connects students with employers before they even begin classes, ensuring that graduates have a guaranteed job after training.
Completing a state-approved training program also makes students more desirable to employers and makes it easier to secure licensure. Because most PCT roles require CNA certification, you can meet this requirement in less time without sacrificing the quality of your education.