How to Become a Patient Care Technician in California

Patient care tech jobs are an excellent fit for those who have a passion for helping people and want to pursue a career in the allied health industry.

Education and Training

Specialized training is necessary before you can gets started in this career.

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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    Benefits of the Program

    After completing the online course above you will be ready for certification through either the NHA or AMCA:

    NHA’s Certified Patient Care Technician/Assistant (CPCT/A)

    NHANOW logo

    or

    AMCA’s Patient Care Technician Certification (PCTC)

    american medical certification association logo

    What Do You Study?

    You will learn the following:

    • How to use the proper medical terminology
    • Healthcare delivery system
    • Legal, ethical, and professional standards for a PCT
    • What basic nursing care looks like
    • Problem-solving needed for the role
    • How to work with team members for benefit of the patient
    • Knowledge needed for certification exams

    How Long Does It Take?

    It will take take about 12 months as the course is 325 hours.  But you since it is online, you can study at your own pace and you might be able to complete it sooner.

    Degree programs take at least 2 years to finish.

    How Much Does it Cost?

    Approximately $2800, but it can be financed

    Degree programs may cost as much as $8,000, depending on where you attend classes.

    Externships and Hands-On Training

    Patient care tech schools also provide hands-on instruction at on-campus medical labs and through externships at local hospitals and clinics. Completing this portion of the program allows students to develop their bedside manner and perfect the various techniques they’ve learned in class.

    California Requirements

    Patient care techs in CA must pass a competency exam and obtain an official certification to perform the essential medical care duties of the profession.

    Most people earn their Certified Patient Care Technician (CPCT) credentials through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

    NHANOW logo

    To register for your certification exam, you’ll need to provide the following:

    • Proof of identity, certifying that you are at least 18 years of age
    • A copy of your high school diploma, GED, or equivalent
    • Graduation certificate, diploma, or degree from your patient care tech program OR documentation showing at least one year of equivalent work experience
    • Exam fee payment

    BLS Certification

    Patient care technicians in CA may also need to obtain a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification through the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.

    Many employers prefer to hire candidates who have the proper credentials to render aid in situations that require:

    • CPR
    • First Aid
    • Use of an AED
    • Emergency medicine administration, such as adrenaline and epinephrine injections)

    BLS card

    Those who undergo on-the-job training at a hospital or clinic might be able to attend one of these classes in their workplace. Schools may even include BLS certification in their patient care tech course curriculum.

    Students can also check out the Red Cross or AHA website to learn whether any medical facilities in their areas are hosting CPR and First Aid classes.

    Other Requirements

    Like most professionals in the nursing and allied health field, patient care techs may need to undergo a criminal background check before they can qualify for most patient care technician jobs in California.

    While some employers are willing to hire applicants with a felony on their record, most medical facilities prefer candidates who pass their background screenings.

    Salary Range

    According to Indeed.com, the average salary in the state is $60,367.  Its worth comparing that number to the average provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for nursing assistants which is $47,070.

    Below is some more data from the BSL for areas of the state.

    Area Hourly Annual
    Bakersfield $19.66 $40,890.00
    Chico $20.62 $42,890.00
    Eastern Sierra-Mother Lode $22.08 $45,920.00
    El Centro $20.05 $41,710.00
    Fresno $20.16 $41,930.00
    Hanford-Corcoran $19.29 $40,130.00
    Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim $22.11 $46,000.00
    Madera $22.47 $46,740.00
    Merced $20.53 $42,700.00
    Modesto $21.27 $44,240.00
    Napa $22.70 $47,210.00
    North Coast $21.46 $44,630.00
    North Valley-Northern Mountains $21.90 $45,560.00
    Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura $21.35 $44,410.00
    Redding $19.86 $41,310.00
    Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario $20.83 $43,330.00
    Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade $22.82 $47,460.00
    Salinas $22.96 $47,750.00
    San Diego-Carlsbad $22.16 $46,100.00
    San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward $27.18 $56,530.00
    San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara $26.72 $55,580.00
    San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande $21.08 $43,850.00
    Santa Cruz-Watsonville $21.86 $45,470.00
    Santa Maria-Santa Barbara $21.26 $44,230.00
    Santa Rosa $22.40 $46,590.00
    Stockton-Lodi $21.27 $44,240.00
    Vallejo-Fairfield $22.21 $46,200.00
    Visalia-Porterville $20.52 $42,690.00
    Yuba City $21.27 $44,240.00

    Occupation: Nursing Assistants (SOC Code311131)
    source: data.bls.gov

    Career Overview

    What Do They Do?

    Like CNAs, patient care technicians are responsible for providing emotional support and direct patient care in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and long-term care facilities.

    However, these professionals have the skills and credentials to perform additional tasks like:

    • Performing wound care and removing stitches and staples
    • Inserting and removing catheters
    • Administering prescribed medications
    • Collecting fluid samples and specimens

    Additional Duties

    Employers may offer additional training for workers who want to qualify for patient care tech job openings at their facility.

    On-the-job education typically involves performing more direct patient care duties and learning how to perform tasks employees may be unfamiliar with, such as:

    • Administering medications
    • Operating medical equipment like EKGs, hemodialysis machines, and ultrasound and CT scanners
    • Drawing blood and collecting samples for medical lab techs
    • Preparing exam rooms for doctors
    • Using specialized software to update and maintain patient records

    Other Career to PCT

    Many aspiring patient care technicians in CA already work in the healthcare field as one of the following:

    Career Outlook

    Patient care technicians in CA fall under the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics Nursing Assistants and Orderlies category. According to reports, this industry is likely to experience a five-percent growth rate over the next ten years. More openings may also become available as experienced patient care techs transition into LPN and RN careers.

    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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