Patient Care Tech in CA

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.

With the proper training, aspiring patient care technicians in CA can obtain their certifications and qualify for rewarding patient care technician jobs in California.

Education and Training

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Those wondering how to become a patient care technician in California can start the process by undergoing specialized training. Some people gain the necessary experience through on-the-job training in an entry-level allied health or nursing profession. Others prefer to enroll in a trade school or community college program and earn a patient care tech certificate or degree.

On-the-Job Patient Care Tech Training

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

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

What Do You Study?

Completing an educational program at a California trade school is another way to become a patient care technician in CA. Training programs at these institutions typically provide in-depth instruction on:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Terminology and Abbreviations
  • Direct Patient Care Practices
  • Identifying and Reporting Changes in Patient Conditions
  • Infection Control Procedures and Techniques
  • Patient Privacy Regulations
  • Healthcare Ethics

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.

How Long is Patient Care Technician Training in CA?

Aspiring patient care technicians must complete a minimum of 80 theory hours through in-class instruction and 200 clinical hours of hands-on training. It usually takes eight to 11 months to earn a certificate, while degree programs take at least two years to finish. However, you might be able to complete an on-the-job training or accelerated school program in as little as eight weeks.

Program Costs

Students who enroll in a certificate program to become patient care technicians in CA can expect to pay between $1,600 and $2,800 for tuition, fees, and study materials. Degree programs may cost as much as $8,000, depending on where you attend classes.

Additional Classes and Certifications

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 Certification

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.

California Patient Care Technician Requirements

Patient care technicians 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).

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

Other Patient Care Tech Requirements in California

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.

Patient Care Technician Salaries in CA

Although patient care techs in CA might make about $51,704 per year, the average patient care technician salary in California varies across different regions. Take a look at the table below to learn about annual earnings for patient care techs in different California cities.

  • Los Angeles $51,538
  • Sacramento $51,608
  • Anaheim $53,119
  • San Diego $52,802
  • Oakland $63,456
  • San Francisco $58,595

Pharmacy tech salaries at some facilities may be closer to the average medical assistant pay rate of roughly $47,738 per year. However, performance-based raises and bonuses can boost your earnings over time.

Job Descriptions

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

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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