What Is a Nurse Technician and How Do You Become a Nurse Tech?

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a nurse technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, nurse tech duties and registration to find out if this is the career for you.

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What is a nurse tech? Nurse technicians are medical care providers who give basic medical care to patients, and this position typically requires the completion of some formal nursing coursework or part of a degree. Certification or registration may or may not be required. The duties and requirements for this job can vary a lot depending on your employer and the state in which you work.

Essential Information

Some community colleges and vocational schools offer nurse technician certification programs to those seeking a career as a nurse tech. Often, though, nurse technician positions are part-time employment opportunities for students enrolled in a licensed practical nursing (LPN) or registered nursing (RN) diploma, associate degree or bachelor's degree program. These positions may also be available to nursing program graduates who would like to gain work experience at a hospital or other healthcare facility while attempting to pass the LPN or RN licensing exam. Registration or certification is a commonly required by many states and employers.

Required Education Nursing courses and/or partial completion of nursing program
Other Requirements State registration and/or Certified Nursing Assistant credential
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026) 11% (nursing assistants)*
Median Salary (2018) $28,540 (nursing assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nurse Tech Job Description

Students working as nurse technicians are responsible for providing basic patient care under the supervision of an RN or physician. Nurse tech duties generally include observing patients, recording their vital signs and reporting any changes in their condition to healthcare supervisors. Nurse techs may assist patients in grooming, eating, and other basic daily routines. Nurse technicians are also charged with escorting patients to examining rooms or surgery.

Depending on state laws and employer job duties, additional responsibilities could include assisting physicians during examination and treatment procedures or administering prescribed medications. They might also collect and label test specimens.

Nurse Tech Education Requirements

Education requirements for a nurse technician job vary by state and by employer. A nurse tech may have completed nursing technician school, usually at a community college or technical school with a certified nursing technician program. Often, nurse techs are students enrolled in RN or LPN programs. Successful completion of introductory nursing courses is typically the minimum requirement for all positions, as is clinical experience. However, some employers only accept applicants who have completed three years of a nursing bachelor's degree program.

Nursing technicians may be required to maintain a minimum GPA as a condition of employment as they progress through their nursing programs. Additionally, students are often expected to earn state licensure as RNs or LPNs within a certain time frame after graduating and, in many cases, matriculate into other positions.

Registration and Other Requirements

Some states require nurse technicians to become registered, which entails submitting verification of enrollment in a nursing program. Others require them to earn a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) credential. This designation is granted to applicants who have completed sufficient training or coursework in their nursing program and passed a written exam administered by the state. Additional employer requirements could include a background check as well as basic life support or CPR certification from the American Heart Association or Red Cross.

A position as a nurse technician is often transitory, though some individuals remain in this career long term. Nursing technicians are often required to have completed a few years of a nursing program and have clinical experience before they can find employment. They often finish their nursing programs while working as a nursing technician, which enables them to get a higher paying position as an LPN or RN.

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