What is a Patient Care Technician

So, you've decided to become a patient care technician. In addition to registered nurses, patients really look forward to having you by their side. You're an important piece of the puzzle. Speaking of RN's, as long as you get enough experience as a patient care technician, you may have the option to become an RN, eventually. It's definitely a nice little stepping stone.

Aside from knowing the opportunity you'll have in this career, becoming a patient care technician has a lot of great positives. Since you'll be working directly with patients, you'll be around a lot of people daily. Which makes this a very social job. If you're a social butterfly, you'll fit right in.

You have a lot of options of where you want to work when it comes to the patient care technician job. From hospitals and doctor's offices to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, you're needed in a lot of different places. It just depends on where you want to end up.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a patient care technician. For example, did you know that they make an average of $13.72 an hour? That's $28,529 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 12% and produce 16,300 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Patient Care Technician Do

There are certain skills that many patient care technicians 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 patience, compassion and physical stamina.

Learn more about what a Patient Care Technician does

How To Become a Patient Care Technician

If you're interested in becoming a patient care technician, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 27.0% of patient care technicians have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 2.7% of patient care technicians have master's degrees. Even though some patient care technicians 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 technician. When we researched the most common majors for a patient care technician, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on patient care technician resumes include high school diploma degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a patient care technician. In fact, many patient care technician jobs require experience in a role such as certified nursing assistant. Meanwhile, many patient care technicians also have previous career experience in roles such as medical assistant or cashier.

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Average Salary
$28,529
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
12%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
130,798
Job Openings
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Patient Care Technician Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Patient Care Technician

Patient Care Technicians in America make an average salary of $28,529 per year or $14 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $35,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $23,000 per year.
Average Salary
$28,529
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Patient Care Technician Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Patient Care Technician. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Patient Care Technician Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Patient Care Technician 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 Technician Resume Examples And Templates

Patient Care Technician Demographics

Patient Care Technician Gender Statistics

female

76.8 %

male

19.2 %

unknown

4.0 %

Patient Care Technician Ethnicity Statistics

White

54.0 %

Black or African American

20.8 %

Hispanic or Latino

15.3 %

Patient Care Technician Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

70.4 %

French

8.9 %

Tagalog

2.1 %
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Patient Care Technician Education

Patient Care Technician Majors

35.9 %

Patient Care Technician Degrees

Bachelors

27.0 %

Associate

25.2 %

Certificate

17.1 %

Top Colleges for Patient Care Technicians

1. Emory University

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,306
Enrollment
6,975

2. Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, OH • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,042
Enrollment
5,131

3. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

4. Inter American University of Puerto Rico Arecibo

Arecibo, PR • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,872
Enrollment
3,553

5. Ohio State University

Columbus, OH • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,726
Enrollment
45,769

6. University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$19,080
Enrollment
19,127

7. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

8. University of Colorado Denver

Denver, CO • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,283
Enrollment
11,892

9. Washington Adventist Hospital

Takoma Park, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$23,900
Enrollment
836

10. Rhode Island College

Providence, RI • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,929
Enrollment
6,480
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Online Courses For Patient Care Technician That You May Like

Emergency Care: Pregnancy, Infants, and Children
coursera

Welcome to the final course of lectures in your quest to master EMT basics. In this course, we will cover some of the highest-stress patient populations: pregnant patients and kids, also known as pediatrics. To wrap up your EMT knowledge we will end this course with information about hazmat situations, extricating patients from tight spots and finally how you write a note about your patient care. You will learn to ensure it communicates what your assessment of the patient was, what interventions...

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...

Trauma Emergencies and Care
coursera

Welcome to Trauma Emergencies and Care. In this course, you will learn about some of the mechanics and physics of trauma on the human body, and how this can cause injury. You will continue to expand your new vocabulary with medical terminology, and learn how to describe the different injuries you may see. You will also learn about the trauma system itself- and when it is important to transport patients to a trauma center. Then we will dive into specific injuries based on what part of the body ma...

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Top Skills For a Patient Care Technician

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, 16.0% of patient care technicians listed patient care on their resume, but soft skills such as patience and compassion are important as well.

12 Patient Care Technician RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Patient Care Technician

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a patient care technician. The best states for people in this position are Connecticut, Vermont, California, and New Jersey. Patient care technicians make the most in Connecticut with an average salary of $43,174. Whereas in Vermont and California, they would average $40,782 and $39,341, respectively. While patient care technicians would only make an average of $38,785 in New Jersey, 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. Illinois

Total Patient Care Technician Jobs:
3,359
Highest 10% Earn:
$48,000
Location Quotient:
1.25
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. Connecticut

Total Patient Care Technician Jobs:
662
Highest 10% Earn:
$59,000
Location Quotient:
0.89
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. Nevada

Total Patient Care Technician Jobs:
491
Highest 10% Earn:
$48,000
Location Quotient:
1.04
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 Technicians

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Top Patient Care Technician 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 technicians and discovered their number of patient care technician opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that DaVita was the best, especially with an average salary of $27,061. UPMC follows up with an average salary of $26,715, and then comes St. Joseph Hospital with an average of $28,330. 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 technician. The employers include Saint Luke's Health System, LifeBridge Health, and DaVita

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Patient Care Technician FAQs

Does a PCT make more than a CNA?

Yes, a PCT earns more money than a CNA, in general. Patient care technicians earn slightly more money, making around $14 per hour than just under $13 an hour that certified nursing assistants make.

Patient care technicians earn more money than certified nursing assistants because their job requires more training and education. Essentially, certified nursing assistant training forms the foundation of patient care technician training.

Many programs only allow applicants trained as certified nursing assistants to enroll to become patient care technicians.

The best way to move into the higher-earning role is to begin with certified nursing assistant training and then start to receive additional activity which enables them to perform skills authorized by a healthcare facility.

Many employers opt to provide the required training and validation of competence to elevate their certified nursing assistants to patient care technicians.

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How long does it take to become a patient care technician?

It takes a few months to become a patient care technician. Patient care technician programs vary in length depending on the state, but they usually take several months to complete.

However, most patient care technicians first become certified nursing assistants because many programs only allow those already trained as certified nursing assistants to enroll.

Additionally, some employers opt to provide the required training and validation of competence to elevate their certified nursing assistants to patient care technicians. In this case, it can be a good idea to take longer to become a patient care technician if an employer will pay for the training.

Those training to become patient care technicians will learn basic medical terminology and anatomy/physiology. They will also receive hands-on instruction in procedures expected of PCTs and usually need to complete an externship. Students must practice these skills for a specific number of hours before certification.

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How much do patient care techs make?

Patient care techs make an average salary of $35,000 a year. However, this amount can vary depending on location and level of experience, typically ranging from $28,000 and $43,000 in annual salary.

Patient care technicians typically make the most money in states in the northeast, while southern states pay the least. Additionally, the level of experience in the field plays a huge factor, with experienced patient care technicians earning an average of nearly $20 an hour, compared to the $15 that entry-level patient care technicians make.

Therefore it is a good idea for a person to pursue additional education, training, and certifications to boost their experience as quickly as possible. There are many ways that a patient care technician can follow more experienced, and often an employer will offer training programs to ensure a more highly educated healthcare staff.

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Is patient care technician the same as a CNA?

No, a patient care technician is not the same as a CNA. While these roles are similar, they have subtle but significant differences, which are essential to understand what makes the positions distinct regarding job duties, educational requirements, salaries, and career outlook.

Patient care technicians (PCTs) work at patients' bedsides, taking care of basic meals and hygiene. These tasks are similar to a certified nursing assistant's (CNA) duties, but PCTs have more training that allows them to complete other tasks as well.

For example, under the supervision of doctors and RNs, PCTs may be responsible for some medical or medication-related care. The daily tasks for PCTs include everything that a CNA does while also adding the following:

  • Administer specific medications

  • Draw blood for lab work

  • Operate some medical monitoring equipment

  • Begin or discontinue specific catheters

  • Perform and manage wound care

  • Remove stitches or staples

  • Administer electrocardiograms

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Updated August 18, 2021