Become a Patient Care Technician

Patient care technician is with a patient

Patient care technicians (PCTs) are on the front lines of healthcare. They spend their days working directly with patients, providing kind, compassionate care that makes a real difference. Patient care techs are with patients at some of their most vulnerable times, so the PCT role is especially suited for those who have a strong desire to help people who are battling illness and physical issues. 

As the US population continues to age, patient care technicians are in high demand. If you are interested in this growing career field, then education is your first step, and Cambridge’s 36-week PCT diploma program may be right for you. 

What Does a Patient Care Technician Do?

PCTs are relied upon by nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals to provide crucial day-to-day care to patients who need it. PCT is a hands-on job where you serve patients’ basic needs, greatly improving their quality of life and easing stress for families. 

The exact job duties vary depending on where you work, but in general, a patient care tech’s job might include:

  • Bathing and feeding patients
  • Catheter care
  • Obtaining and distributing supplies
  • Visiting patient rooms for safety checks and to ensure cleanliness
  • Obtain EKG readings and monitor vital signs
  • Phlebotomy
  • Helping families emotionally cope with difficult news, including the death of a loved one
  • Accommodate additional patient needs

Patient Care Technician Pay and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for PCTs in 2020 was $30,850. The highest-paid 10% earned $42,110. BLS says employment of PCTs will likely rise 8%from 2020 to 2030, putting it on par with most occupations. The pace of hiring could increase as the average age of Americans gets older and more people need healthcare services. 

How to Become a Patient Care Technician: Education and Exams

The steps toward becoming a patient care technician are similar in most parts of the country: 

  1. High school diploma: Those seeking PCT positions are expected to have their high school diploma or GED, and then proceed to further education.
  2. Earn a PCT diploma/certificate: You must complete a post-high-school education program from an accredited university. The Cambridge PCT certificate program lasts 36 weeks and teaches you the intellectual and practical skills you’ll need to succeed as a patient care tech. You’ll also be ready for the next step, which is an optional certification exam.
  3. Take the Certified Patient Care Technician (CPCT) Exam: After finishing your 36-week Cambridge program, you may want to take the CPCT exam. While this exam is not required by every employer, passing it and getting certified shows employers that you are serious about your career. According to the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), 78% of employers require or encourage PCTs to have their certification. The CPCT exam has 100 questions and can be taken on campus or remotely. Note: when you complete this program you are also eligible to take the certified nursing exam to become a CNA.
  4. Start working and keep up your certification: Cambridge offers job search and placement support for all PCT students. Many PCTs work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes and in patients’ homes. We’ll help you look for the job you want. After you begin working, it’s a good idea to renew your CPCT certification, if you have one, every two years.

Become a Patient Care Tech in Just 36 Weeks

Cambridge’s PCT diploma program allows you to become a PCT in less than a year. To discuss your education and career goals, speak with a Cambridge advisor by calling 877-206-4279 or send us a message.

More on how to become a patient care technician