Is There a Demand for Patient Care Technicians?

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Sometimes people are interested in some jobs without knowing the realities of that occupation.

Some of the jobs include musician, artist, or anything in the healthcare industry.

Today, through this guide, we’ll find out if there is a demand for patient care technicians.

If you’re curious to find out more, read on!

Search Patient Care Technician Programs

Get information on Patient Care Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Patient Care Technicians Job Description

When trying to figure out the demand for any type of professional, it’s important to know what the person is expected to do.

This gives a better idea of the likelihood of resignation for those chosen for the position.

Patient care techs, or PCTs for short, operate in the healthcare industry.

They work very closely with the patients, as the job’s name implies, and even more than the doctors or the nurses.

Patient care techs perform most of their duties under the supervision of the nurses and doctors.

At this point, you might wonder what these duties might be.

It’s very common for patient care technicians to have to complete the following:

  • Checking the patient’s vital signs
  • Communicate with:
    • The patients,
    • Their families,
    • Their other healthcare providers, such as nurses, doctors, lab staff
  • Bathing and feeding the patients if they can’t do it on their own
  • Maintaining the rooms of the patients clean
  • Collecting samples (blood, urine)
  • Delivering them to the correct labs
  • Escorting patients to various places for further investigations
  • Helping patients to exercise
  • Helping them to get on or off their wheelchair, bed
  • Listening to the patients’ concerns and taking notes of them
  • Providing catheter care

There might be additional duties and responsibilities added to these, based on a variety of factors.

The factors could be:

  • The patients’ ability to move on their own
  • The available staff during the shift
  • Emergencies coming in or happening

Patient Care Technician Requirements

So now that we know what a PCT has to deal with more or less.

You should also know that only certain people can do the job of a patient care technician.

There’s just one conclusion we can draw at this point.

The conclusion is that not everyone has the same skills and abilities and especially not those needed to work as a PCT.

About now you’re probably wondering what’s requested of you if you were interested in working in the healthcare industry as a patient care tech.

Here’s a list of the patient care tech job prerequisites:

  • Having good interpersonal skills
  • Being physically fit or strong
  • Having a clean criminal record
  • Being detail-oriented
  • Having a high school diploma or GED
  • Having various certifications
  • Being registered in the state’s Nurse Aide Registry
  • Being compassionate

You’ll have to be physically fit or strong because you’ll have to help the patients move or get up on a daily basis, several times per day.

The best certifications to have for this position are:

  • CPR
  • Phlebotomy
  • EKG

Having a certification as a phlebotomist will help you correctly draw blood samples without injuring or hurting the patient.

One can’t really read vital signs without being able to perform or read an EKG.

It’s also relatively easy to understand that not everyone fits the profile of this ideal PCT candidate.

Is There a Demand for Patient Care Technicians?

Becoming a Certified Patient Care Technician

While our site has specific information on this topic for every state, we want to touch up a bit on it here as well.

This will help you save a bit of time if by the time you finish reading you decide this job is not for you.

Becoming a certified PCT means you need to first graduate from a training program.

These programs are found at various institutions across the country.

The duration of a program is between a few months and up to 2 years, depending on the type of credential you want – certificate, diploma, or degree.

Keep in mind that even the schools have prerequisites to enroll.

Commonly these are:

  • Passing a drug test
  • Passing a TB test on the skin
  • No criminal record
  • Having these vaccines done:
    • MMR
    • Varicella
    • Hepatitis B
    • Flu
    • Tetanus

Having the vaccines done and passing the tuberculosis are two important aspects to meet, given you’ll be working with people with weak immune systems.

You’d also want to be protected against various infectious illnesses that can easily spread in the facilities a PCT works.

Passing a drug test is also important as patient care technicians work with drugs.

Most of these courses will also offer most of the certifications you need for this occupation.

Here are some of the subjects you’ll be studying in the chosen program:

  • Medical terminology
  • CPR
  • First aide techniques
  • Drawing blood
  • Basic infection control procedures
  • Inserting catheters
  • The structure and function of body systems
  • Identifying and reporting changes in the patient’s condition
  • Monitoring and recording bodily functions
  • Patient safety

All the programs also have a practice component that takes place in a clinical setting.

The practice component has a different duration, based on the duration of the program itself.

Once you graduate you’ll have to pass an exam.

The best exam for a PCT to take is the one offered by the National Healthcare Association (also known as the NHA).

The NHA accepts the replacement of the educational program with 1 year of experience in the field.

Some schools include in the tuition, the fee for this exam.

If the fee is not included, expect to have to pay $149 for it.

The exam has a total of 120 questions that must be solved in almost 2 hours.

Passing the exam allows you to register in your state’s Nurse Aide Registry.

Patient Care Technician Employment

We already established that PCTs are healthcare workers.

They’re usually found working in the following settings:

  • Hospices
  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centers,
  • Long term care and assisted living facilities
  • Home care

These places have many patients with as many health problems and just as varied needs.

Some of them even receive emergency patients that could need the help of a PCT at times.

Healthcare is a physically and psychologically demanding industry, as we already discussed as well.

Many folks report they’re underpaid for the amount of work they’re expected to do and their responsibilities.

From these points of view, we can easily understand that not everyone who gets a job in this industry can keep it for very long.

Additionally, the industry is understaffed.

At this point, it’s pretty safe to assume the demand for patient care technicians is high.

This is not all, for the demand is only expected to increase with time as people age.

Specialized agencies collected data for this occupation and they foresee an 8% increase in demand for PCTs in the upcoming period.

Conclusion

Becoming a patient care technician is not easy.

This occupation is for those who really care about the well-being of others and who want them to get well or better faster.

While the demand for such professionals is steady and increasing, many patient care techns use this job as a starting point in their medical careers.

Usually, this also involves undergoing more training or more education.

The patient care techs that choose to climb the career ladder will earn more as well.

Everyone is actually encouraged to do so because the whole medical industry is in dire need of more personnel, not just patient care techs.


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