Online patient care technician programs generally don't result in a degree, although some graduates receive certificates or diplomas. Instead, programs train students for state certification exams in patient care, as well as EKG and phlebotomy technology. Most programs require students to either have previous training, class prerequisites, or CNA certification prior to or by the end of the program. Students enrolled in online patient care technician classes may need basic medical equipment with which to practice. While some courses are available in a fully online format, students may be required to complete lab experiences in person.
Online Patient Care Technician Courses
The most common online patient care technician classes and courses are profiled below.
- Fundamentals of Anatomy Course: This course is generally offered near the beginning of online patient care technician programs. Students learn about the various systems of the human body, including skeletal structure, endocrinology and muscle tissue. This course provides a basis for understanding basic medical procedures and generally involves lectures and weekly assignments.
- Nutritional Elements Course: Nutrition is one of the fundamental elements of patient care, and this class covers the basic principles of proper diet and its integration into patients' routines. Students may also learn about the therapeutic effects of the regulated diet. This course may include hypothetical patient diet assignments.
- Patient Handling Course: This class is generally offered in the middle of the program and prepares students for medical procedure training. Topics include moving and feeding patients, as well as assistance with everyday activities, such as getting dressed. Some programs spread this course material out over two or three specialized classes.
- Basic Medical Techniques Course: Most programs separate this topic into specialized classes that cover phlebotomy, EKG procedures, catheterizations and first aid techniques. Virtual lab software may be used to demonstrate proper technique. Students generally take this class near the end of the program in preparation for clinical practice. Medical props with which to simulate procedures may be provided by the program.
- Clinical Practicum Course: Depending on the school, this course may either take place in a virtual environment or a real clinic. Students apply skills learned throughout the program to virtual patients via specialized software, or conduct a clinical internship within a hospital or medical clinic affiliated with their school. This final course component prepares students for jobs in the medical field and demonstrates technical ability to potential future employers. Graduates are prepared to take a number of state certification exams.
- Phlebotomy : Students in this course may learn how to use the proper tools and methods that are necessary for blood collection, including capillary puncture, venipuncture and utilizing the butterfly needle. Students are also educated on safety practices and how to control infection during blood collection. In addition, training consists of how to properly identify patients and the appropriate methods for labeling lab specimens.