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Careers: Health Professions Readiness

What Does a Patient Care Technician Do?

Patient care technicians (PCTs) work alongside doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to provide direct patient care in a variety of health care environments. PCTs help patients with tasks they may not be able to do for themselves, such as eating, getting out of bed and personal hygiene.  

Patient care technicians perform the duties of a certified nurse aide (CNA) but are also trained to perform some basic medical duties, such as EKG readings and phlebotomy (drawing blood).

Becoming a patient care technician prepares you for entry-level positions in the health care industry if you want to go right to work. The position is also an excellent foundation for medical careers such as nursing, radiologic sciences and imaging specialties.  

Job responsibilities include:

  • Patient hygiene and comfort
  • Patient safety
  • Electrocardiography (running EKGs)
  • Obtaining lab samples
  • Phlebotomy (drawing blood) 

Where Do Patient Care Technicians Find Jobs?

  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Doctors' offices
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Assisted living and long-term care facilities
  • Home health care 

What Are Typical Job Responsibilities?

A patient care technician:

  • Works alongside doctors and nurses with medical exams, performing EKGs, basic lab procedures, and phlebotomy (drawing blood)
  • Administers basic health care or medical treatments
  • Assists patients with daily activities such as getting out of bed, bathing, dressing, using the toilet, standing, walking or exercising
  • Assists practitioners with medical procedures
  • Prepares medical instruments or equipment for use
  • Records vital statistics or other health information
  • Stocks medical or patient care supplies
  • Transports biological or other medical materials
  • Reports and records patients' condition and treatments
  • Collects biological specimens from patients
  • Explains technical medical information to patients 

What Skills and Abilities Are Required?

  • Good oral communication and listening skills
  • Bilingual skills a plus for working in target communities
  • Being able to explain things well to a wide variety of people and personalities
  • Understanding customer service both from provider and client points of view
  • Social perceptiveness: being aware of others' reactions
  • Service orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people 

Average Salaries and Projected Job Growth

CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, projects salaries and job growth in Texas for these jobs which require similar skills to patient care technicians: 

Job Median Hourly
Rate
Median Annual Salary Est. Growth
Through 2024
Nursing assistants$11.51$23,940+30%
Home Health Aide$8.93$18,570+40%