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Become A Patient Care Technician

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Working As A Patient Care Technician

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $34,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Patient Care Technician Do

Psychiatric technicians and aides care for people who have mental illness and developmental disabilities. Technicians typically provide therapeutic care and monitor their patients’ conditions. Aides help patients in their daily activities and ensure a safe, clean environment.

Duties

Psychiatric technicians, sometimes called mental health technicians, typically do the following:

  • Observe patients’ behavior, listen to their concerns, and record their condition
  • Lead patients in therapeutic and recreational activities
  • Give medications and other treatments to patients, following instructions from doctors and other medical professionals
  • Help with admitting and discharging patients
  • Monitor patients’ vital signs, such as their blood pressure
  • Help patients with activities of daily living, including eating and bathing
  • Restrain patients who may become physically violent

Psychiatric aides typically do the following:

  • Monitor patients’ behavior and location in a mental healthcare facility
  • Help patients with their daily living activities, such as bathing and dressing
  • Serve meals and help patients eat
  • Keep facilities clean by doing tasks such as changing bedlinens
  • Participate in group activities, such as playing sports and going on field trips
  • Help transport patients within a hospital or residential care facility
  • Restrain patients who may become physically violent

Many psychiatric technicians and aides work with patients who are severely developmentally disabled and need intensive care. Others work with patients undergoing rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction. The work of psychiatric technicians and aides varies with the types of patients they work with.

Psychiatric technicians and aides work as part of a medical team under the direction of physicians and with other team members, who may include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, counselors, and therapists. For more information on the counselors and therapists they may work with, see the profiles on substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists.

Because they have such close contact with patients, psychiatric technicians and aides can have a great deal of influence on patients’ outlook and treatment.

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How To Become A Patient Care Technician

Psychiatric technicians typically need postsecondary education, and aides need at least a high school diploma. Both technicians and aides get on-the-job training.

Education

Psychiatric technicians typically have a postsecondary certificate. Often, they have experience as a nursing assistant or a licensed practical nurse and have completed postsecondary education in nursing.

Some psychiatric technicians also may have a postsecondary certificate or associate’s degree in psychiatric or mental health technology. These programs are offered by community colleges and technical schools and include courses in biology, psychology, and counseling. Psychiatric technician programs may include supervised work experience or cooperative programs, in which students gain academic credit for structured work experience.

Psychiatric aides typically need a high school diploma.

Training

Psychiatric technicians and aides usually have a short period of on-the-job training before they can work without direct supervision.

Training may include working with patients while under the close supervision of an experienced technician or aide. Technicians and aides also may attend workshops, lectures, or inservice training.

Work Experience

Psychiatric technicians typically need clinical experience, which can be gained by working in occupations such as nursing assistant or licensed practical nurse.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Because psychiatric technicians and aides spend much of their time interacting with patients, they should be caring and want to help people.

Interpersonal skills. Psychiatric technicians and aides often provide ongoing care for patients, so they should be able to develop a rapport with them. Gaining such rapport makes psychiatric technicians and aides better able to treat their patients and evaluate their condition.

Observational skills. Technicians must watch patients closely and be sensitive to any changes in behavior. For their safety and that of their patients, they must recognize signs of discomfort or trouble among patients.

Patience. Working with the mentally ill can be emotionally challenging. Psychiatric technicians and aides must be able to stay calm in stressful situations.

Physical stamina. Psychiatric technicians and aides must be able to lift, move, and sometimes restrain patients. They must also be able to spend much of their time on their feet.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states do not license psychiatric technicians. California is one of the larger states that does. For those states which license them, technicians usually are required to complete an accredited education program, pass an exam, and pay a fee to be licensed.

Psychiatric aides are not required to be licensed.

The American Association of Psychiatric Technicians offers four levels of certification for psychiatric technicians. The certifications allow technicians to show a high level of professional competency. Requirements vary by certification.

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Patient Care Technician Career Paths

Patient Care Technician
Certified Nursing Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Registered Nurse Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Team Leader Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Team Leader Owner
Co-Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Clinic Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager
Registered Nurse Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Patient Care Coordinator Office Manager
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Utilization Review Nurse Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Technician Team Leader General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Consultant Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Foreman Supervisor
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Nurse Utilization Review Nurse Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Nurse School Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Nurse Clinical Coordinator Clinical Manager
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Student Nurse Registered Nurse Charge Nurse School Nurse
Nurse Case Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Charge Nurse MDS Coordinator Unit Manager
Registered Nurse Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Student Nurse Registered Nurse Charge Nurse
Senior Registered Nurse
7 Yearsyrs
Respiratory Therapist Clinician Residential Supervisor
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Physician Assistant Office Manager House Manager
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Patient Care Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Monitor Technician 3.5 years
EKG Technician 3.0 years
Unit Assistant 2.9 years
Health Technician 2.8 years
Care Associate 2.5 years
Nurse Technician 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Patient Care Technician
Cashier 9.1%
Internship 2.4%
Server 2.1%
Volunteer 2.0%
Technician 1.5%
Top Careers After Patient Care Technician
Cashier 3.7%
Technician 2.1%
Nurse 1.7%
Server 1.6%

Do you work as a Patient Care Technician?

Patient Care Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

70.9%

Male

16.4%

Unknown

12.7%
Ethnicity

White

62.3%

Hispanic or Latino

14.3%

Black or African American

14.0%

Asian

6.4%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

70.4%

French

8.9%

Tagalog

2.1%

Arabic

1.9%

Portuguese

1.8%

Russian

1.6%

Mandarin

1.5%

Hindi

1.4%

German

1.4%

Italian

1.3%

Polish

1.3%

Chinese

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Korean

0.8%

Gujarati

0.7%

Filipino

0.7%

Swedish

0.5%

Swahili

0.5%

Croatian

0.5%

Urdu

0.5%
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Patient Care Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.3%

Everest Institute

7.6%

Trident Technical College

6.0%

Grand Canyon University

5.7%

Chamberlain College of Nursing

5.6%

Kaplan University

5.1%

Pima Community College

4.6%

Walden University

4.3%

Community College of Allegheny County

4.2%

Ashford University

4.1%

The Academy

4.0%

South University

3.9%

Anne Arundel Community College

3.8%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

3.7%

Monroe Community College

3.7%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.6%

Remington College

3.6%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

3.5%

Sinclair Community College

3.4%

Saint Petersburg College

3.3%
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Majors

Nursing

40.3%

Medical Assisting Services

12.5%

Nursing Assistants

7.7%

Business

6.1%

Health Care Administration

5.6%

Medical Technician

4.4%

Mental Health Counseling

2.9%

Psychology

2.8%

General Studies

2.6%

Biology

2.4%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

2.1%

Criminal Justice

1.8%

Health Sciences And Services

1.5%

Education

1.2%

Liberal Arts

1.1%

Management

1.1%

Pharmacy

1.0%

Public Health

1.0%

Human Services

1.0%

Social Work

1.0%
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Degrees

Other

35.8%

Bachelors

21.8%

Associate

18.9%

Certificate

9.6%

Masters

6.4%

Diploma

5.1%

License

2.0%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$34,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$26,000
Min 10%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$34,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Cortland Regional Medical Center
Highest Paying City
Los Angeles, CA
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
2.7 years
How much does a Patient Care Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Patient Care Technician in the United States is $34,407 per year or $17 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $26,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $44,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Patient Care Technician?

Have you worked as a Patient Care Technician? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Patient Care Technician.

Top Skills for A Patient Care Technician

  1. Blood Pressure
  2. Patient Care
  3. EKG
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Key function and Responsibilities IncludeTook blood pressure, temperature, and weight as required before/after treatments and examinations.
  • Performed general patient care and documentation.
  • Provided first response to any critical cardiac emergency registered in EKG monitor.
  • Conducted all tasks necessary for preparation for dialysis treatment and document where appropriate.
  • Position provides direct patient care limited to non-invasive procedures, unless specifically certified in phlebotomy.

How Would You Rate Working As a Patient Care Technician?

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Top Patient Care Technician Employers

Jobs From Top Patient Care Technician Employers

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