Patient Care Technician as a Career

A Patient Care Technician career will often involve working with elderly patients. The jobs may be in nursing homes, long-term care residences, hospice care facilities, or other medical facilities. Unlike in hospitals where most patients stay for just a short period, some of the patients in nursing facilities may live there for many weeks or months, giving patient care technicians an opportunity to get to know their patients and develop meaningful relationships.

There are many different job titles you can have during your Patient Care Technician career. Here are some possibilities of what your job title may be:

  • Patient Care Technician
  • Patient Care Assistant
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Patient Care Associate
  • Certified Nurses Aide (CNA)
  • Nurse Technician
  • Nurses’ Aide
  • Nurses’ Assistant
  • CNA Clinical Support Associate
  • Health Care Assistant
  • Hospital Attendant

Professional Environment

What will your workplace be like for a Patient Care Technician Career? In general, careers as a Patient Care Technician will require you to wear scrubs or a uniform to work. Some facilities provide you with scrubs, while others require you to purchase your own. You should expect to be very active on the job. Much of your time will be spent on your feet, or moving around to actively assist your patients with their needs. Depending on your position, some evening hours and weekend shifts may be required. The following are some of the facilities that typically hire patient care technicians:

  • Nursing homes
  • Long-term care residences
  • Hospice organizations
  • Hospitals
  • VA (Veterans Affairs) hospitals
  • Private homes

Employment Outlook

Each year the U.S. Department of Labor releases data on the estimated change in demand for a variety of careers. In order to learn about the job outlook for patient care technicians, you can refer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook under the section called “nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants.”

This handbook is helpful for getting an idea of how much the field will grow in future years. The handbook reports: “Because of the growing elderly population, many nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants will be needed in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.”

According to the handbook, the career field of nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants is projected to increase by 18 percent over the time span of 2014 to 2024. This rate is faster than the average rate for all occupations listed in the handbook.

Earnings/Salary for a Patient Care Technician Career

The wages of patient care technicians differ based on a number of factors. Wages could be higher or lower depending on your years of experience, your level of skills, and even your geographic location within the country. Patient care technicians who are just beginning in the field will usually earn less than those with more years of experience. As you gain more experience in the field and perform your job well, you can expect that your earnings will increase.

You can find more details on the annual median wage for nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Patient Care Technician Career Certification

Students who successfully complete the Patient Care Technician II program at the Harris School of Business are encouraged to take the Certified Patient Care Technician/Assistant (CPCT/A) exam offered by the National Healthcareer Association. If you pass this exam, you will earn your certification, which helps to show potential employers that you have the skills and commitment to do the job and expand your opportunity for careers as a Patient Care Technician.

At the Danbury campus, we offer the certification exam on-site for students who meet certain qualifications. In order to take the test on campus, students must attend all classes, earn at least a 75% GPA (grade point average) on all tests, and be in good standing (financially) with the school. The cost of the exam is not included in the tuition; students are responsible for paying for the cost of the exam.

Why should you take the certification exam? We believe that becoming a Certified Patient Care Technician (CPCT) gives students an extra advantage when it comes time to apply for a job. Being a CPCT tells employers that you have proven skills and are ready to take on the responsibilities of the job. Certification from the National Healthcareer Association is recognized across the country.

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