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Patient Care Technician Duties: What Does the Career Involve?

patient care technician duties

Are you considering a career in healthcare? People who enjoy helping others are needed in many areas of the healthcare industry.

A patient care technician provides basic patient care and support in medical facilities. This hands-on career can be demanding but very rewarding as it makes a real difference to the patients you serve.

You may be wondering about what the job entails and the patient care technician duties you would perform. We have the answers!

Here’s what you need to know about becoming a patient care technician.

What Is a Patient Care Technician?

A patient care technician or PCT is a healthcare technician who works under the supervision of a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional. Their main role is to administer basic care in a medical setting.

The role involves interacting with patients and performing various daily tasks.

Patient Care Technician Duties

Patient care technicians work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, healthcare offices, and more. Their duties vary depending on the facility and the needs of the patients.

Some typical duties for a PCT include:

  • Help patients get in and out of bed
  • Help patients get into wheelchairs
  • Help patients with mobility issues
  • Assist patients during exercise
  • Talk to patients and note their concerns
  • Track patient progress during basic care or physical therapy
  • Check vital signs
  • Deliver samples to the lab
  • Collect blood or urine samples
  • Provide comfort to patients
  • Serve as a liaison for family members
  • Provide support to patients and their families
  • Assist with eating or daily tasks for patients
  • Cleaning and sanitizing patient rooms
  • Helping patients groom themselves
  • Helping patients using the restroom

The term “basic” can be misleading regarding PCT duties. Many of the services a PCT provides are vital to patient care.

Patient care technicians often assist doctors or nurses during treatment. They may be tasked with explaining treatments and medications to patients or their family members.

Although the PCT isn’t directly responsible for care decisions, they report any patient issues or concerns to the doctor or nurse in charge.

How Much Patient Care Technicians Earn

Patient care technician salaries can vary depending on the facility, where you live, and your level of experience. The average annual salary is around $32,000 or $15.50 per hour.

Top earners in the field can earn up to $40,000 per year. The top 10% can earn $42,000 or higher.

Opportunities for Employment

A career as a PCT offers many employment opportunities. Some places PCTs work include:

  • Hospitals and medical facilities
  • Surgery centers
  • Extended care facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Blood banks
  • Home health services
  • Nursing homes
  • Dialysis facilities
  • Doctors offices
  • Government agencies

Education and Training Requirements

Most patient care technicians complete a state-approved education program. They learn the basics of patient care and supervised clinical work.

Courses may include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and medical terminology. Students learn practical skills for the job as well. These include:

  • First aid
  • Phlebotomy
  • Wound care
  • CPR
  • Catheterization
  • Dialysis

These programs are available in some high schools, vocational schools, community colleges, and online programs. Students must pass a state exam.

Some states have additional requirements, including a background check. Patient care technicians also receive on-the-job training to learn specific policies for their facility and the tasks they will perform for the job.

Some training programs include clinical experiences in a real-world setting. This allows you to practice your skills, learn to perform your duties, and feel comfortable working with patients.

Patient care technicians may choose to further their education for additional opportunities in the healthcare field. This requires more coursework, examinations, and work experience.

Job Opportunities for Patient Care Technicians

Patient care technicians are in demand, and this trend is expected to continue. The career prospects will grow 5% or more through the year 2031.

That’s an excellent job outlook for the profession and a good indicator that you would have many opportunities for employment in the field. One reason for the demand is the aging population of baby boomers who will require senior care.

The job prospects for PCTs are strong, especially in care settings for older adults and those with chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, diabetes, and heart disease.

Key Skills for a Patient Care Technician

Are you curious if you have the right skills to work as a PCT? You want to make sure the career you choose fits your interests, personality, and abilities.

Keep in mind you’ll be working with patients in many ways. You want to have the personality and skills to handle patients who are sick, hurting, and scared.

You will need the ability and self-confidence to handle unexpected situations that occur in the healthcare setting.

People Skills

One of the top skills patient care techs need is people skills. This is a patient-facing role where you deal with people throughout the day, including patients, families, physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals.

Anticipating Patient Needs

As a patient care support person, you will care for your patients’ needs and plan accordingly. That means you must be a good listener and an observant person.

You should be attentive to their needs and recognize odd behaviors. You want to tend to basic issues before your supervisor directs you to do so.

Taking EKGs and Vital Signs

In addition to helping your patients, you will also be responsible for certain patient medical requirements like checking their vital signs. This includes checking the patient’s temperature, blood pressure, and pulse.

Another common task you may need to perform is an EKG or ECG. This measures the electrical activity of the heart. Doctors use this information to assess the patient before proceeding with their treatment plan.

A Career as a Patient Care Technician

If you’re thinking of working in the healthcare field and love helping people, a career in patient care may be right for you. There are a variety of patient care technician duties you should be aware of before choosing this profession.

PCTs are in demand and they provide a valuable service for patients and the healthcare professionals they work with. Since 1990, Healthcare Career College has been providing students with the training and experience they need for a rewarding career in the healthcare industry.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact us today and take the next step towards a brighter future.