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Working As a Patient Care Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $26,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Patient Care Assistant Do

Nursing assistants, sometimes called nursing aides, help provide basic care for patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Orderlies transport patients and clean treatment areas.

Duties

Nursing assistants provide basic care and help with activities of daily living. They typically do the following:

  • Clean and bathe patients or residents
  • Help patients use the toilet and dress
  • Turn, reposition, and transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs
  • Listen to and record patients’ health concerns and report that information to nurses
  • Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Serve meals and help patients eat

Some nursing assistants also may dispense medication, depending on their training level and the state in which they work.

In nursing homes and residential care facilities, assistants are often the principal caregivers. They have more contact with residents than other members of the staff. Because some residents stay in a nursing home for months or years, assistants may develop close relationships with their residents.

Orderlies typically do the following:

  • Assist patients with moving about the facility, such as pushing wheelchairs
  • Clean equipment and facilities
  • Change linens
  • Stock supplies

Nursing assistants and orderlies work as part of a healthcare team under the supervision of licensed practical or licensed vocational nurses and registered nurses.

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How To Become A Patient Care Assistant

Nursing assistants must complete a state-approved education program and must pass their state’s competency exam. Orderlies generally have at least a high school diploma.

Education and Training

Nursing assistants must complete a state-approved education program in which they learn the basic principles of nursing and complete supervised clinical work. These programs are found in high schools, community colleges, vocational and technical schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.

In addition, nursing assistants typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training to learn about their specific employer’s policies and procedures.

Orderlies typically have at least a high school diploma and receive a short period of on-the-job training.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

After completing a state-approved education program, nursing assistants take a competency exam. Passing this exam allows them to use state-specific titles. In some states, a nursing assistant or aide is called a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), but titles vary from state to state.

Nursing assistants who have passed the competency exam are placed on a state registry. Nursing assistants must be on the state registry to work in a nursing home.

Some states have other requirements as well, such as continuing education and a criminal background check. Check with state boards of nursing or health for more information.

In some states, nursing assistants can earn additional credentials, such as becoming a Certified Medication Assistant (CMA). As a CMA, they can give medications.

Orderlies do not need a license, however, many jobs require a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification, which shows they are trained to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Nursing assistants and orderlies must be able to communicate effectively to address patients’ or residents’ concerns. They also need to relay important information to other healthcare workers.

Compassion. Nursing assistants and orderlies assist and care for the sick, injured, and elderly. Doing so requires a compassionate and empathetic attitude.

Patience. The routine tasks of cleaning, feeding, and bathing patients or residents can be stressful. Nursing assistants and orderlies must have patience in order to complete these tasks.

Physical stamina. Nursing assistants and orderlies spend much of their time on their feet. They should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as lifting or moving patients.

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Patient Care Assistant Career Paths

Patient Care Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Assistant Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Patient Care Coordinator Office Manager
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Specialist Consultant
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Utilization Review Nurse Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Team Leader Assistant Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Patient Care Coordinator Office Manager
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Senior Technician Specialist Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Senior Technician Specialist Supervisor
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Patient Care Coordinator Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Patient Care Technician Nurse Clinical Coordinator
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Investigator Case Manager
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Consultant Nurse Nursing Director
Managed Care Director
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Senior Technician Specialist Nursing Director
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Technician Mental Health Worker Residential Supervisor
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Nanny Lead Teacher House Manager
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Home Health Care 2.7 years
Care Provider 2.6 years
Care Associate 2.5 years
Nurse Technician 2.4 years
Care Taker 2.3 years
Sitter 2.1 years
Resident Care Aide 2.0 years
Patient Sitter 1.6 years
Top Careers Before Patient Care Assistant
Cashier 17.8%
Server 2.7%
Volunteer 2.1%
Internship 2.1%
Waitress 1.8%
Top Careers After Patient Care Assistant
Cashier 9.0%
Server 1.9%

Do you work as a Patient Care Assistant?

Average Yearly Salary
$26,000
Show Salaries
$11,000
Min 10%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Highest Paying City
Glendale, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Patient Care Assistant make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Patient Care Assistant in the United States is $26,693 per year or $13 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $11,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $59,000.

Top Skills for A Patient Care Assistant

  1. Personal Care
  2. Patient Care
  3. ADL
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed specified personal care for the elderly residents of Nursing, retirement homes and hospitals under supervision of licensed personnel.
  • Provide attentive patient care according to individual needs Demonstrate strong communication abilities with patients, nursing staff and other health care professionals
  • Supervised and assisted patients with ADL's and developmentally appropriate activities.
  • Administer medication, monitor blood pressure and accurately chart behavior and reaction.
  • Participated in continuing education courses to develop further specialization in performing EKG's and monitoring Cardiac Telemetry.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Patient Care Assistants

  1. West Virginia
  2. Arkansas
  3. Maine
  4. Minnesota
  5. Oregon
  6. Nevada
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Tennessee
  9. Idaho
  10. New Hampshire
  • (238 jobs)
  • (278 jobs)
  • (304 jobs)
  • (1,193 jobs)
  • (431 jobs)
  • (152 jobs)
  • (1,818 jobs)
  • (807 jobs)
  • (155 jobs)
  • (343 jobs)

Patient Care Assistant Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 44,818 Patient Care Assistant resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Patient Care Assistant Resume

View Resume Examples

Patient Care Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

72.1%

Unknown

15.2%

Male

12.7%
Ethnicity

White

62.7%

Hispanic or Latino

14.9%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

70.6%

French

7.2%

Hmong

2.4%

Portuguese

2.3%

Russian

2.1%

Arabic

2.0%

Somali

1.8%

German

1.3%

Polish

1.3%

Mandarin

1.2%

Chinese

1.2%

Cantonese

1.1%

Italian

1.1%

Hindi

0.9%

Urdu

0.8%

Tagalog

0.7%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Japanese

0.6%

Swedish

0.4%

Armenian

0.4%
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Patient Care Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.6%

Houston Community College

6.6%

Everest Institute

6.1%

Cuyahoga Community College

6.0%

Remington College

5.5%

University of Cincinnati

5.4%

The Academy

5.2%

Kaplan University

4.8%

Columbus State Community College

4.4%

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

4.3%

Ashford University

4.2%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

4.1%

Concorde Career College

4.1%

Shelton State Community College

3.8%

Grand Canyon University

3.8%

Rasmussen College

3.3%

Bryant and Stratton College

3.2%

Walden University

2.8%

Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg

2.8%

Stone Academy - Hamden

2.8%
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Majors

Nursing

35.0%

Medical Assisting Services

14.5%

Business

7.4%

Health Care Administration

7.0%

Nursing Assistants

6.7%

Psychology

3.5%

General Studies

3.2%

Criminal Justice

3.1%

Medical Technician

2.9%

Biology

1.8%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

1.8%

Mental Health Counseling

1.7%

Human Services

1.7%

Education

1.5%

Health Sciences And Services

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

Cosmetology

1.4%

Social Work

1.3%

Pharmacy

1.3%

Accounting

1.3%
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Degrees

Other

39.8%

Bachelors

19.4%

Associate

17.9%

Certificate

9.9%

Diploma

5.3%

Masters

5.1%

License

2.2%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Internship
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Updated May 19, 2020