Patient Care Technician Training Programs and Requirements

Patient care technicians, also called nursing assistants or nurse aides, perform basic care procedures in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. Some formal education, industry training and state certification are generally required to work as a patient care technician.

Essential Information

Individuals looking to participate in patient care technician training should have a high school diploma and possibly some previous healthcare work experience. Students who are currently enrolled in one of these programs may be hired by employers to work in different sectors, such as nursing homes, hospitals and technical centers.

Hospital training programs generally last 2-3 months and combine classroom instruction and hands-on training. Some hospital training programs might be open to high school students, who are then prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation; others require previous experience as a nursing aide.

  • Program Levels in Patient Care Technician Training: Certificate programs
  • Program Length: Hospital training programs may last 2-3 months
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma
  • Other Requirements: Some schools may require students to complete an internship

Patient Care Technician Certificate

A patient care technician certificate program combines classroom lectures, lab work and clinical experiences. Courses address basic skills, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), phlebotomy, electrocardiography and first aid. Patient care skills and techniques, such as bathing, feeding and grooming, are also covered. Some programs might also include the development of advanced nursing skills and clerical courses. Some course topics include:

  • Communication
  • Infection control
  • Emergency room technician
  • Electrocardiography
  • Principles and practices of hemodialysis

Popular Career Options

Once students receive the right experience and acquire a certification, they can work in many different sectors. Some of these include rehabilitation centers, hospitals, home healthcare agencies and dialysis facilities. Some job titles include hospital caregiver, patient advocate, dialysis technician, emergency department technician and a rehabilitation center technician.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, all health technologists and technicians made a mean annual wage of $45,620 as of May 2014. The job outlook for health information technicians is expected to grow 22% from 2012-2022. This growth is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Licenses and Certifications

The National Health Career Association (NHA) grants clinical certification for patient care technicians, associates and nurse technicians. Completion of specific training programs and experience in the field is required for one to take the national certifying exam. While certification is voluntary, some states require certification in order for patient care technicians to work in certain environments, such as nursing homes or hospitals.

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