Patient Care Assistant Certification & Certificate Program Info

While certificates for patient care assistants or patient care technicians are beginning to become available, many students interested in this career first enter programs in nurse assisting, which prepare students for certification as certified nurse assistants (CNAs).

Essential Information

Paitient care assistance programs train individuals to provide basic patient care under the supervision of the medical staff of nursing homes, long-term care facilities or other healthcare facilities. Patient care technician programs are similar, and both program options involve a lot of hands-on, clinical work.

  • Paitient Care Assistance Program Fields: Nurse Assistant. Paitient Care Technician.
  • Prerequisites (Nurse Assistant): High school diploma or GED.
  • Prerequisites (Paitient Care Technician): Currently enrolled in CNA course
  • Program Length (Nurse Assistant): Few Months.
  • Program Lentgh (Paitient Care Technician): varies depending on the prerequisite skills required.

Certificate Programs in Paitient Care Assistance

Certificate Programs for Certified Nurse Assistants

Certified nurse assistants programs, or CNA programs, provide the training necessary to pass state board exams and become certified. Students learn to keep patients comfortable, provide basic care and assist registered nurses.

Students learn techniques to assist nurses, such as collecting vital signs, as well as problem solving and communication skills. Programs usually include lectures and clinical experiences. Topics include:

  • Basics of healthcare
  • Fundamental nursing skills
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • CPR training
  • Infection control

Certificate Programs for Patient Care Technicians

Patient care technician programs build upon the skills employed by CNAs. Students learn the technical, clerical and interpersonal skills necessary to properly assist medical staff in a variety of healthcare settings. Programs length varies depending on the prerequisite skills required.

Students participate in classroom study and clinical opportunities. Students might also learn specific skills such as collecting vital signs, phlebotomy and EKG application. Courses might include:

  • Records and information processing
  • Patient care techniques
  • Medical terminology
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Communication

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, employment for nursing assistants is expected to grow 21% between 2012 and 2022. Most of the growth is in response to the growing elderly population and the number of patients entering long-term care facilities. The median salary for nursing assistants was $25,100 in 2014.

Certification and Continuing Education

Upon completion of a certified nursing assistant program, students may take their state board certification exams to become registered CNAs. Once individuals have obtained their CNA certification, they may consider pursuing certificate programs for patient care technicians or programs to become registered nurses as a means to advance their careers. Other opportunities for continuing education might be available through professional organizations, such as the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants or the National Association of Health Care Assistants.

Popular Career Options

Patient care technicians and nursing assistants work for hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, rehabilitation clinics, long-term care facilities and in-home care providers. Aside from patient care technician and certified nursing assistant, job titles might include:

  • Nurse aid
  • Home health aid
  • Hospice assistant
  • Patient care assistant
  • Nursing assistant
  • Personal care assistant

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