How to Become a Patient Care Tech at a Hospital

Three Parts:Getting Education and TrainingCompleting Education and TrainingFinding a Job

Since jobs in healthcare are easy to find and expected to be plentiful well into the future, becoming a patient care technician (PCT) is a great career choice. You may be able to achieve your PCT certification in less than a year, and PCTs earn about $30,000 per year.[1]. Since the certification prepares you to perform a variety of procedures, working in a hospital setting is a great choice. However, you can also find PCT jobs in other types of medical settings if you choose.

Part 1
Getting Education and Training

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    Obtain a CNA certification if required. A CNA (certified nurse’s aide) performs some of the same duties as a PCT, but a PCT can do more advanced procedures such as blood draws, ECGs, and catheterizations. Some states require PCT program applicants to obtain a CNA certification before they will be accepted into a PCT program.[2]
    • Check your state’s requirements to determine if you need to get your CNA certification before you can get your PCT certification.
    • If you want to work in a hospital setting as a PCT, then gaining some experience working in a hospital as a CNA may help you find a job or gain a promotion at your current place of employment.
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    Find a program. To become a PCT, you will need to complete a vocational program or a certificate program at a college. Check schools in your area to see where you can get the training that you need to become a PCT.
    • You may want to set up a meeting with someone from the programs in your area to ask questions. Make sure that you ask about specialization opportunities to ensure that you can gain experience in a hospital setting as well as any other areas that you’d like to work in.
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    Submit an application. If you meet the minimum requirements for acceptance, then submit an application to the PCT program of your choice. If there are multiple programs in your area, then you may want to submit an application to each one to increase your chances of success.
    • Some programs have minimum requirements that you have to meet to be accepted, such as having a high school diploma, earning a certain GPA, and completing prerequisite courses.[3] Check to see if you meet the minimum requirements for acceptance before you apply.

Part 2
Completing Education and Training

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    Take the required courses. Your training program will include courses that teach you all about the skills you will need to work as a PCT. Your courses may cover topics such as:[4]
    • phlebotomy
    • first aid and wound care
    • CPR
    • catheterization
    • ECG administration
    • dialysis equipment
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    Complete clinical experiences. Clinical experiences will provide you with the opportunity to practice what you have learned in the classroom. These experiences will also help you to gain confidence in your ability to perform procedures such as ECGs, catheterizations, and blood draws.
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    Study for the exam. To obtain your PCT certificate, you will need to take an exam. The exam will assess different skills such as patient care, phlebotomy, ECG, infection control, and safety.[5] Studying often during your training program will increase your chances of passing the test, but you should also plan to review what you have learned prior to the test.
    • Ask about study groups and exam review sessions that your school offers.
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    Take the exam. When you have met the requirements to take the PCT exam, you can register for the exam online. Upon successful completion of the exam, you will receive a certificate. This certificate will serve as evidence of your competency and ability to work as a CPT.[6]
    • The fee for the exam is $149.00.

Part 3
Finding a Job

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    Create a resume. To start applying for CPT jobs in a hospital setting, you will need to create a resume that summarizes your training and experience. Your resume should provide an overview of your training, professional experiences, and any other training or experiences that may help you to do your job.
    • If you do not have any professional medical experience, such as working as a CNA or other type of medical professional, then you will create a student resume. A student resume focuses on your education and training as a student.
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    Search and apply for jobs. Start looking for jobs as soon as you are nearing completion of your program. Look at the websites for hospitals in your area and apply to them directly. You can also check your local newspaper and online job search engines. You can also ask friends and family members who work at local hospitals if there are any PCT jobs available.
    • Since PCTs are in high demand, there should be several postings in your area. If you have trouble finding job postings at the hospitals in your area, keep checking. You may also consider expanding your search area if you are willing to move to a new city or state to pursue a better job opportunity.
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    Keep your certification current. To maintain your ability to work as a PCT, you will need to go through continuing education sessions. Many employers will provide these sessions for you. If you do not keep your PCT certification current, then you may need to renew or reinstate it. This process requires you to complete some continuing education credits and to pay a fee.[7]

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Categories: Health Care