Patient care technicians, also known as patient care specialists, have a unique and special role in health care. Patient care technicians work hands-on with patients in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, private at-home care, and adult day care centers. Their primary job is to make patients comfortable, while also performing basic tests, measuring patients’ vital signs, informing family members and loved ones, and keeping patients safe, clean, and fed.
Patient care technicians gain competency through a blend of education and experience. Through achieving state certifications, patient care technicians prove they are fit to practice. They may opt for additional certifications that enhance their resume with a specialization.
The pathway to becoming a patient care technician begins with a desire to help people, and some research about how to get there! How can you become a great care technician and advocate for your patients? Read on for our five-step guide to becoming a patient care technician today.
5 Steps to Become a Patient Care Technician
- Pick a specialized diploma program.
Finding a patient care specialist program that fits your lifestyle, budget, and goals can seem like a daunting project. However, one benefit of choosing the patient care technician route is that these professional diploma programs only take months, not years, to complete! The patient care specialist job is an excellent entry point into health care. However, certain programs fast-track your career more meaningfully than others.
As you begin to explore your options for education, try to choose a program that is:
- Flexible, with options for daytime, evening, or weekend classes.
- Career-skills focused, with reliable instruction from working healthcare professionals.
- Affordable! There is no need to choose a program that breaks the bank. Investigate financial aid, scholarships, loans, and grants to help offset costs. Even better, find a school that lets you combine funding options, leaving you with very little to pay.
- Conveniently located so that you can commute and take advantage of on-campus resources with no hassle.
- Willing to partner with you on your future aspirations, by providing job placement assistance.
Stone Academy’s Patient Care Specialist program offers these perks and more.
- Collect all the admission requirements.
Every educational program will have different admission requirements. And when requirements begin with one simple application, there is no reason not to apply!
To be considered for Stone Academy’s Patient Care Specialist diploma program, the school will ask for your contact information, details about your educational and employment background, and your desired schedule format (evening or daytime). After an admissions team member reviews your application, you’ll be contacted for an interview. A high school diploma or GED is required, and you’ll need to share proof of this accomplishment. Besides a refundable $25 registration fee, there are no other tests or fees. Plus, you’ll never be in the dark about your application status. Your application will be reviewed and you will be updated on the school’s decision in about two weeks total.
- Get down to learning!
Once you’ve been accepted, it’s time to start classes (and start preparing for your career). Stone Academy’s patient care specialist program covers a comprehensive mix of nursing aide classes in anatomy and physiology, as well as training in phlebotomy, electrocardiogram operation, First Aid, and CPR. The program is a combination of clinical and non-clinical lessons, which means that Stone Academy patient care technicians graduate as an asset to any healthcare team. Some qualities that great patient care technicians have are:
- A patient, empathetic, and caring attitude.
- An adaptive and detail-oriented approach.
- An efficient and professional manner.
- A team player and eager learner.
- Earn your diploma and get certified.
A Stone Academy Patient Care Specialist diploma comes with the opportunity to sit for the State of Connecticut Certified Nurse Aide exam, not to mention additional exams through which graduates can showcase the advanced skills they learned in this technician program. For example, a patient care technician might become a dialysis specialist in Connecticut by obtaining any of these nationally recognized specialist certifications:
- Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician
- Certified Hemodialysis Technician
- Certified Nephrology Technologist
Patient care technicians can bolster their hiring appeal by earning a multitude of other state and national certifications, such as the American Medical Technologists certification, or the Nationally Registered Certified Patient Care Technician certification. Certifications show employers that your skills meet a certain level of standardization, which in turn helps healthcare institutions promise patients high-quality care. Stone Academy Patient Care Specialist diploma graduates also receive a Home Health Aide certificate upon program completion, which comes at no extra cost.
- Join the workforce as a patient care technician.
Graduating with a job in place is a real possibility when your school offers job search assistance. For those on the hunt for the perfect gig, it’s helpful to know what to expect from your salary. Patient care technicians make about the same salary as nursing assistants, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates to be $33,250 annually. Certain industries, specializations, or geographic locations can offer patient care technicians more or less pay. For instance, nursing assistants in Connecticut make an above-average salary, within the range of $35,820 to 43,080 annually.
If you decide to earn a specialization, this may help direct your employment environment, however, you can anticipate great job prospects in skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, assisted living, and home health care services. More niche (and lucrative) prospects include working in the federal government, or scientific research centers.
Become a Patient Care Technician Today
If you’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world but are unsure sure how, becoming a patient care technician is a fantastic way to make that dream a reality. We are seeing a dire shortage of nurses in the United States today, which is projected to worsen. You can impact not only your patients, but also the lives of fellow nurses by sharing the weight of this vital industry.
Becoming a patient care specialist could be just the first step of a fulfilling career in health care. Some patient care specialists move from earning advanced nursing certifications to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing! Will you begin today? Contact Stone Academy for a tour or more information about our career-oriented Patient Care Specialist program.