Patient Care Degree and Certificate Programs

Patient care technician education typically occurs through certificate programs offered by 2-year colleges and vocational schools. A certificate program provides specialized training in communicating with patients, documenting medical information, performing technical procedures and tending to patient needs.

Essential Information

Patient care technicians provide supportive and technical services to patients in health care settings such as hospitals and nursing homes. Prospective students must have high school diplomas or GEDs for admission into a certificate program. Academic transcripts are required. A certificate program in patient care may take one year to complete.

Patient Care Certificate Programs

Patient care programs are similar to nursing assistant programs; however, they offer greater technical training and build upon the skills of a nurse's aide. Upon earning certificates in patient care, individuals may choose to seek national certification by taking the National Certified Patient Care Technician (NCPCT) exam. In addition to learning basic patient care skills, students receive lab instruction and participate in supervised clinical activities. Courses may include the following:

  • Expanded patient care principles
  • Phlebotomy
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Health care ethics
  • Patient care clinical practicum
  • Electrocardiography

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Because patient care technician is a relatively new healthcare role, employment outlook data is difficult to find. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015, nursing assistants earned a median annual wage of $25,710, depending on years of experience. From 2014 to 2024, they are projected to see a 18% increase in employment according to the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Undergraduate degree programs in nursing or medical assisting are available for individuals seeking to further their patient care skills and employment opportunities. Associate's degree options include the Associate of Applied Science in Nursing and the Associate of Science in Medical Assisting. At the baccalaureate level, student may pursue the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

Patient care degree and certificate programs will teach students about patient care skills. Labs and clinical activities will also be included.

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