Allied health careers are booming and one of the careers taking off are patient care technicians. PCT job growth is predicted to be over 34% according to bls.gov and the next decade looks tremendous! Allied health sectors across the board are growing, but few are seeing the growth that PCTs, CNAs, HHAs and others are seeing.
That being said, the patient care tech or PCT carries more responsibility than those positions. From phlebotomy procedures to diagnostic reading, the PCT does more for their patients than a CNA, PCA or HHA are allowed to do under their respective certifications. Most PCT training programs have whole nurse aide programs within their program so when you complete a PTC training you are technically a CNA as well, just better trained with a higher skillset.
What is a Patient Care Technician (PCT)?
In its most simple definition, The Patient Care Technician or also known as a PCT, provide hands-on care to patients with a multitude of healthcare needs.
What do PCTs actually do?
Here are some of the common duties for personal care technicians:
- Basic patient care (bathing, feeding, catheter care)
- Acquiring, distributing and administering supplies for individual patient care
- Ensuring and maintaining cleanliness in patient rooms and handling any safety checks
- Managing and taking care of any special needs of patients
- Monitor vital signs (EKG reading)
- Perform any necessary phlebotomy procedures (ex: blood tests)
- Helping families prepare and deal with issues surrounding patient’s health
The main certification for becoming a personal care tech is the Certified Patient Care Technician/Assistant (CPCT/A) Certification from the NHA. The certification exam details are detailed below:
PCT Certification Exam Preparation
Preparing for the certification exam is easier than ever before with the online study guide from the National Health Association. Using this study guide will ensure that between your training program and the study guide you will be 100% prepared to pass your certification examination and start towards your end goal of becoming a certified personal care technician!
Patient Care Technician Training Programs
Below are the best options for PCT training near you!
The Differences Between a CNA and a PCT
PCTs and CNAs have similar job descriptions in many ways but there are a few big differences. Patient care technicians can treat their patients without supervision of a nurse or doctor and a CNA cannot. A PCT can also do phlebotomy procedures and EKG readings, which a CNA cannot. Since the PCT can do everything that a CNA can and more, it clear that becoming a personal care tech includes more training and preparation.
The increased training is reflected in the job description and in the money they can earn. The average pay of a PCT compared to a CNA in many cases can be almost double. So that being said, it is worth it to take the few extra months and go for your Certified Patient Care Technician/Assistant (CPCT/A) Certification from the NHA.
How to Become a Patient Care Technician (PCT)
It will typically takes 3-9 months to compete a PCT training program. This training will commonly include the basic core functions of the job like we laid out for you above but will also include higher level training like:
- how to draw blood and insert catheters
- urinary catheterizations
- nasogastric tube removal
- wound care (sutures and staples removal)
- operation of dialysis equipment
- basic emergency room skills (splinting, casting, crutch training, throat cultures, urinalysis and oxygen therapy).
Even though many consider a PTC very similar to a CNA or a HHA at a basic level, they really are not the same . Becoming a PTC puts you on the doorstep of becoming a LPN or a RN much more than a CNA or a HHA does.