What is a Patient Care Assistant

Patient care assistants work in close collaboration with registered nurses at hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, or rehab centers and provide basic care for people before, during, and after medical treatment.

As a patient care assistant, you have to be familiar with medical terminology and procedures. You have to know basic first aid and CPR and should not be afraid to use it. A vocational school diploma is normally enough to get hired.

Patient care assistants usually work full-time positions that require a good amount of physical stamina. You will have to take on night shifts and work on weekends sometimes, and you will be exposed to disease, so you should make sure you always drink a lot of fluids.

Although this can be a highly rewarding job for people who are passionate about helping others, financially it is not exactly lucrative, at present. The average yearly income of a patient care assistant is $24,620.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a Patient Care Assistant. For example, did you know that they make an average of $14.53 an hour? That's $30,223 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 9% and produce 137,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Patient Care Assistant Do

There are certain skills that many Patient Care Assistants have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed Communication skills, Compassion and Patience.

Learn more about what a Patient Care Assistant does

How To Become a Patient Care Assistant

If you're interested in becoming a Patient Care Assistant, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 22.4% of Patient Care Assistants have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 2.5% of Patient Care Assistants have master's degrees. Even though some Patient Care Assistants have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a Patient Care Assistant. When we researched the most common majors for a Patient Care Assistant, we found that they most commonly earn High School Diploma degrees or Bachelor's Degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on Patient Care Assistant resumes include Associate Degree degrees or Diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a Patient Care Assistant. In fact, many Patient Care Assistant jobs require experience in a role such as Certified Nursing Assistant. Meanwhile, many Patient Care Assistants also have previous career experience in roles such as Cashier or Customer Service Representative.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Mayo Clinic Jobs (172)
  2. Nationwide Children's Hospital Jobs (157)
  3. University Hospitals Jobs (199)
  4. Memorial Hermann Health System Jobs (257)
  5. St. Luke's Hospital Jobs (136)
Average Salary
$30,223
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
9%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
296,671
Job Openings
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Patient Care Assistant Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Patient Care Assistant

Patient Care Assistants in America make an average salary of $30,223 per year or $15 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $41,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $21,000 per year.
Average Salary
$30,223
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How much should you be earning as an Patient Care Assistant? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.
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12 Patient Care Assistant Resume Examples

Learn How To Write a Patient Care Assistant Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Patient Care Assistant resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Patient Care Assistant Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Mayo Clinic Jobs (172)
  2. Nationwide Children's Hospital Jobs (157)
  3. University Hospitals Jobs (199)
  4. Memorial Hermann Health System Jobs (257)
  5. St. Luke's Hospital Jobs (136)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Patient Care Assistant Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Patient Care Assistant templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Patient Care Assistant resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Patient Care Assistant Resume
Patient Care Assistant Resume
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Patient Care Assistant Resume

Patient Care Assistant Demographics

Patient Care Assistant Gender Distribution

Male
Male
14%
Female
Female
86%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Patient Care Assistants, 85.6% of them are women, while 14.4% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Patient Care Assistants is White, which makes up 65.0% of all Patient Care Assistants.

  • The most common foreign language among Patient Care Assistants is Spanish at 70.6%.

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Patient Care Assistant Education

Patient Care Assistant Majors

30.7 %

Patient Care Assistant Degrees

High School Diploma

26.3 %

Bachelors

22.4 %

Associate

21.7 %
Job Openings

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Online Courses For Patient Care Assistant That You May Like

Essentials of Palliative Care
coursera

This course starts you on your journey of integrating primary palliative care into your daily lives. You will learn what palliative care is, how to communicate with patients, show empathy, and practice difficult conversations. You will learn how to screen for distress and provide psychosocial support. You will learn about goals of care and advance care planning and how to improve your success with having these conversations with patients. Finally, you will explore important cultural consideratio...

Applying Health Coaching in Patient Care
edX (Global)

For health practitioners, having knowledge of treatment protocols is not enough. They must be able to inspire behavior change in their patients. In order for the treatment to be effective patients must be empowered to implement therapeutic approaches in their lives. In this course, you will learn about health coaching, which is an effective method for helping patients change their behaviors. Health coaching uses a blend of evidence-based strategies, interventions and communication to actively...

Health After Cancer: Cancer Survivorship for Primary Care
coursera

This course presents basic principles of cancer survivorship to primary-care physicians. Developed by a team of experts in caring for cancer survivors, and narrated by a primary-care physician, this course provides practical tips and tools that can be easily integrated into medical practice. You will learn about the complex physical and psychosocial needs and concerns of the growing number of cancer survivors, along with the key role that primary care physicians have in guiding these patients ba...

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Top Skills For a Patient Care Assistant

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 9.6% of Patient Care Assistants listed Patient Care on their resume, but soft skills such as Communication skills and Compassion are important as well.

Best States For a Patient Care Assistant

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Patient Care Assistant. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, California, Nevada, and Washington. Patient Care Assistants make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $42,548. Whereas in California and Nevada, they would average $39,497 and $38,029, respectively. While Patient Care Assistants would only make an average of $37,412 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Patient Care Assistant Jobs:
3,825
Highest 10% Earn:
$47,000
Location Quotient:
1.34
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Wisconsin

Total Patient Care Assistant Jobs:
2,928
Highest 10% Earn:
$38,000
Location Quotient:
1.35
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Arizona

Total Patient Care Assistant Jobs:
2,604
Highest 10% Earn:
$47,000
Location Quotient:
1.14
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Patient Care Assistants

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Top Patient Care Assistant Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ Patient Care Assistants and discovered their number of Patient Care Assistant opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Cleveland Clinic was the best, especially with an average salary of $31,070. Stavros Center For Ind Lvg follows up with an average salary of $24,128, and then comes ResCare with an average of $26,129. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a Patient Care Assistant. The employers include TriHealth, Marworth, and DaVita

Most Common Employers For Patient Care Assistant

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Patient Care Assistant SalaryAverage Salary
1
1.Express Scripts
$33,344
2$33,333
3$32,239
4$31,652
5$31,527
6
6.St. Vincent's Medical Center
$31,312

Becoming a Patient Care Assistant FAQs

How long does it take to become a Patient Care Assistant?

It takes 3 years of professional experience to become a patient care assistant. That is the time it takes to learn specific patient care assistant skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education.

How much do patient care assistants make?

Patient care assistant makes $38,694 a year. However, there is some range and how much a patient care assistant can make. This can start as low as $16,000 a year to as high as $49,000 a year. Factors such as location, company and years of experience can impact how much a patient care assistant can make.

Top companies for patient care assistants.

  • Emory Healthcare: $89,987 per year

  • Northwell Health: $85,489 per year

  • UChicago Medicine: $78,237 per year

  • Northwest Medical Center: $66,978 per year

  • U.S. Army: $66,906 per year

  • Parkland Health Hospital System: $63,447 per year

  • CentraCare Health: $61,978 per year

  • Emory University: $54,774 per year

  • Harris Health System: $53,589 per year

  • Henry Ford Health System: $52,420 per year

Highest paying states for patient care assistants.

  • Washington: $32,419 a year ($15.59 an hour)

  • New York: $30,719 a year ($14.77 an hour)

  • New Hampshire: $29,727 a year ($14.29 an hour)

  • California: $28,977 a year ($13.93 an hour)

  • Massachusetts: $28,292 a year ($13.60 an hour)

Lowest paying states for patient care assistance.

  • Arkansas: $22,878 a year ($11.00 an hour)

  • Michigan: $22,866 a year ($10.99 an hour)

  • Mississippi: $22,854 a year ($10.99 an hour)

  • Illinois: $22,754 a year ($10.94 an hour)

  • North Carolina: $20,840 a year ($10.02 an hour)

How much does a PCA earn?

A PCA earns $13.22 an hour. The range in how much a patient care assistant (PCA) can earn ranges from $9.84 an hour to $17.91 an hour. Factors such as years of experience and location impact how much a PCA can earn.

Years of experience and pay rates for PCAs.

  • An entry-level with less than one year of experience averages $12.00 an hour.

  • An early career with one to four years averages $12.46 an hour

  • A mid-career with five to nine years of experience averages $13.54 an hour

  • An experienced career PCA with ten to 19 years of experience averages $14.89 an hour.

  • A late career (20 or more years) averages $16 an hour.

What is the difference between a patient care assistant and a CNA?

The difference between a patient care assistant and a CNA is that a CNA's job requires training and certification and deals more with medically oriented tasks rather than patient comfort. CNAs do three things that PCAs can not do -- set up medical equipment, assist in medical procedures, and take and record vital signs.

A certified nurse assistant (CNA) is considered to be a low entry medical worker, whereas a patient care assistant (PCA) is essentially a caregiver role. PCA's are more focused on assisting patients with comfort while CNAs perform more medical-oriented tasks.

To become a PCA, one must have at least a high school diploma. Certification is not always required, although it depends on the state. If a state does require certification, training to be a PCA will run anywhere from 40-75 hours.

To become a CNA, one must complete extensive training that is 75 hours with an additional hour of abuse and neglect training. Certification is always required to become a CNA.

What qualifications do I need to be a health care assistant?

The qualifications needed for a health care assistant include a high school diploma and the willingness to learn. In most cases, employers may require a one or two years vocational / associate's degree. For some entry-level positions, employers require no experience and provide on-the-job training.

Health care assistance careers generally require a high school diploma and completion of a one-year certificate program or a two-year associate's degree in medical assistance. Programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Employers may prefer job seekers who have the following:

  • Basic Life Support, CPR

  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

  • Certified Nursing Aide (CNA) certification

  • Level 2 Certificate in Work Preparation for Health and Social Care

  • Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care

  • Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care.

  • Apprenticeship as a Healthcare Support Worker.

  • Members of the Royal College of Nursing

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