This article provides an overview of patient care technician certification requirements. What is a patient care technician? What are the requirements for a certified patient care technician? For many people, getting their Patient Care Technician Certification is the first step on their career path towards a nursing degree. The need for PCTs’ is growing due to the fact that these professionals are so versatile and able to perform many tasks that would otherwise require several departments within the facility to perform.
Patient Care Technician Education and Training
In order to qualify to take the patient care technician certification examination, a candidate must be a certified nursing assistant, and be able to perform, phlebotomy, electrocardiogram (EKG) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Upon completion of coursework training, the student must perform at least 40 hours of clinical training.
Receiving patient care technician certification can take from 24-weeks, if you are already a CNA, to 2-years. The program combines classroom lectures, practical hands-on experience in a medical lab and an internship in a health care facility. The program is made up of four modules that include basic patient care skills, EKG, Phlebotomy and advanced nursing skills.
Patient care technician classes may include:
- Taking and recording vital signs
- Recording patient treatment
- Collecting blood and other samples
- Performing electrocardiograms (EKGs)
- Completing catheterizations
Most patient care technician certification programs combine the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) requirements with the PCT and both examinations may be taken upon completion of the program. The exam to become a Certified PCT, or CPCT is given by the National Health Association. Once certified a PCT can work in any health care environment.
Patient Care Technician Careers
This professional works closely with nurses and doctors in a facility and are often a key member of the patient care team. The Patient Care Technician Certification provides an individual with the ability to work in many different healthcare environments including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, nursing and assisted living facilities. Therefore, there is a broader range of job opportunities available for these individuals.
The role of a CPCT in a health facility is demanding and requires an ability to multi-task. The PCT works under the supervision of an LVN, LPN, or RN and provides many of the tasks traditionally performed by staff from several departments. Among the many responsibilities of a PCT is providing basic nursing to patients so they normally have more contact with patients than other healthcare professionals.
The CPCT is able to perform the same tasks as a Certified Nursing Assistant as well as conduct EKGs, draw blood and monitor patients for signs of distress. They are often assigned to a specific number of patients and are with them throughout their stay in the healthcare facility. They will assist the patient with their daily needs and work closely with the doctors and nurses of the facility to assure that the needs of the patient is met.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
The income of CPCTs’ vary depending on the years of experience an individual has, the shift they work and the size of the facility they are working in. The national average for annual salary is between $22,497 and $31,033, or an average of $14.04 – $20.77 per hour, or about $19,530 to $38,000 per year with some positions paying up to $40,000 a year.
Many healthcare facilities also provide assistance with continuing education costs if a CPCT wants to pursue a nursing degree. In addition, the hours that are worked are often adjusted to accommodate the school schedule of the professional. As with all areas within the healthcare industry, the need for PCTs’ is a growing field that is in demand throughout the US.
The diversity of the job and the experience as a patent care technician certification that it provides to the professional make it an ideal field for an individual who wants to pursue a healthcare career but is not sure of the direction they want to take within the field.
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