patient care technician working on a patient

Are you interested in a career in healthcare, but don’t really want to be subjected to the pressure or life-or-death responsibilities of a doctor or nurse? A career as a patient care technician may be the right fit for you.

As a patient care technician, you’ll work under the supervision of a doctor or nurse, aiding patients with their daily tasks and needs.

What Are the Duties of a Patient Care Technician?

Patient care technicians are generally responsible for helping and tending to patients in various medical settings, such as hospitals, outpatient facilities and doctor’s offices.

Although your specific duties may be unique to your workplace, your essential responsibilities may include:

  • Help patients in and out of bed
  • Bathe and feed patients
  • Keep patient rooms clean
  • Help patients get into wheelchairs
  • Check and monitor vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure and pulse
  • Monitor patients’ food and beverage intake
  • Escort patients for exams, procedures and when they’re being discharged
  • Collect blood, urine and stool samples and deliver them to a lab
  • Listen to patient concerns and communicate them to the medical team
  • Provide emotional support to patients and their families
  • Report any changes in a patient’s condition to the medical team

What Skills Do You Need to Be a Patient Care Technician?

The responsibilities of a patient care technician revolve around assisting patients with their various needs. While some of these duties are task oriented, like keeping a patient’s room clean, others will require you to possess strong interpersonal skills and a genuine desire to interact and care for people in a vulnerable state.

Keep in mind, not every patient and their family will be in a good mood when you interact with them. In fact, it’s likely you’ll be working around irritable and stressed individuals, which demands plenty of patience, compassion and professionalism.

As a successful patient care technician, you’ll also need to anticipate your patients’ needs and interpret limited or non-verbal communication. Your patient may not know how to express what’s bothering them. It’ll be up to you to tune into their body language to correctly interpret their behavior and ask probing questions to figure out their needs and provide solutions.

If you’re thinking about a career as a patient care technician, think about whether the role is a good fit for your personality and professional goals.

Patient Care Technician Salary

The salary for a patient care technician can vary depending on the state you live in, where you’re employed (hospital, nursing home, government agency, outpatient clinic, etc.), your level of education and how much experience you have.

On average, a patient care technician currently earn roughly $49,000 per year, however, the salary range can fall anywhere between $32,000 and $75,000.

In St. Louis and greater Missouri, the average salary for a patient care technician is approximately $46,000 per year, which is only slightly below the national average.

How to Become a Patient Care Technician

To become a patient care technician, you’ll at minimum need a high school diploma and be certified. In Missouri, PCTs can obtain a certification by passing the Certified Nurse Assistant Examination.

If you want to become a patient care technician, it’s likely in your best interest to enroll in a program that can prepare you for the CNA exam and provide hands-on training, including an externship.

The average length of a PCT program takes anywhere from a few months to a year to complete, depending on your individual pace.

You can expect your PCT coursework to be mostly theoretical in the beginning and become more practical as you near program completion.

Earn a Patient Care Technician Diploma from the St. Louis College of Health Careers

If you’re eager to become a skilled patient care technician but you’re not sure where to start, we have your back.

Our accredited PCT program offers comprehensive coursework and plenty of hands-on practice to help you ace your CNA exam and become a successful and sought-after patient care technician.

To learn more about our PCT Diploma program, browse our website or give us a call at 866-529-2070.

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