How to Become a Patient Care Technician as a CNA

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If you are currently working as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) but are looking to advance in your career, you may want to consider pursuing studies to become a certified patient care technician (CPCT). Becoming a patient care technician is a logical next step for those wishing to take on more responsibility and earn a higher income. 

Advanced eClinical Training can help you earn your CPCT credentials with our 8-week self-paced online program. Advancing in your career has never been easier, and you can work on your CPCT course at your own pace while continuing to work your full-time CNA job. 

What Does a Patient Care Technician Do?

CNAs and CPCTs have very similar work duties. Both provide basic medical care and support for patients in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, residential care facilities, and home healthcare services. Some may even develop a specialty such as hospice care, emergency room, or intensive care unit. The main differences between CNAs and CPCTs are that patient care technicians have more training, extended responsibilities, and higher salaries. Similar to a nursing assistant, a patient care technician is responsible for:

  • Assisting patients with hygiene such as bathing and dressing
  • Taking vital signs
  • Monitoring food and beverage intake
  • Assisting patients with exercise
  • Providing emotional support

Because of their higher level of training, patient care technician jobs are also qualified to:

  • Administer medications
  • Collect blood or urine samples
  • Administer electrocardiograms ECG/EKG
  • Administer catheters
  • Remove stitches or staples
  • Clean and change wound dressings

If you wish to elevate your medical career to a CPCT and take on the above job responsibilities, you will need to acquire proper training. 

How to Become a Certified Patient Care Technician (CPCT)

Requirements to become a certified patient care technician vary by state and facility. In some cases, you may need to be a CNA before training to become a CPCT. To become a CNA, you need:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Completion of a certified CNA training course
  • A passing score on a competency exam

Once you have earned your CNA credentials, you can seek employment as a nursing assistant. Depending on the medical facility in which you work, you may be able to advance to a CPCT through on-the-job training and validation of competence from your employer. 

If you are not currently employed as a CNA or your employer does not provide the required training, you can become a CPCT by:

  • Completing a patient care technician training program
  • Passing a patient care technician certification exam, either through the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • An externship is not required but will provide the clinical exposure that is especially valuable for pre-health students. If your program does not include a clinical externship, you can seek out opportunities on your own.

If you have your sights set on becoming a nurse, physician assistant, or medical doctor, becoming a patient care technician is an excellent way to start your path to nursing, PA, or med school. 

Advanced eClinical Training: Helping You Grow in Your Medical Career

At Advanced eClinical Training, we aim to make the path to your medical career of choice as smooth as possible. By allowing medical certification programs to fit into your schedule and budget, we can help you earn the credentials you need to further your career in healthcare. Want to learn more? Enroll today and qualify to work as a CPCT in as little as eight weeks.

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