Navigating the Complex Patient Care Technician Career Field

The patient care technician employment category generally refers to one of any number of allied health professionals who may or may not be licensed and whose role it is to perform select medical activities. A person who chooses to pursue this career pathway will have the opportunity to select from many types of positions that come with their own unique entry requirements and worker responsibilities. Individuals who take some time to understand the options available to them often discover that they are in a better position to select an opportunity that is appropriate for their long-term employment objectives and that will provide a high level of personal and professional satisfaction.

One of the first things to think about when selecting a career path in the patient care technician industry is the amount of education and experience that one has. While there are employment options available to individuals with all levels of credentials, those who have only a high school diploma or GED and who lack formal experience will have fewer options than applicants who have demonstrated competency and who have a long list of positive referrals from previous employers. In general, people who are new to the medical setting tend to focus on securing employment as an entry-level provider working within a general area of practice. Some common titles associated with these types of positions include things like medical assistant, nurse aide, and orderly.

An entry-level position that has few education and training requirements is an excellent way to acquire valuable experience with patient care and show that one has a passion for helping improve the lives of others. Some of the responsibilities that an individual can expect to have in these positions may include things like assisting with activities of daily living such as dressing, feeding, bathing, transporting, turning, and providing emotional support. Additional tasks such as recording vital signs, documenting within the electronic medical record, administering medications, communicating with coworkers, and various other administrative roles may be assigned based on the needs of the facility and the qualifications of a staff member. Those who have a few years of work experience often choose to transition to a specialty area of practice that pays more once they have mastered the basics of comprehensive care.

There are many different specialty departments within the healthcare sector that have fairly low entry requirements, but that allow individuals to earn more while focusing on performing more focused tasks. A few of the most popular options include dialysis, cardiac care, pharmacy, dentistry, and even physical therapy. While many employers in these specialties do require unlicensed personnel to pass a national certification exam that demonstrates competence, they will usually provide the instruction and training to become successful in-house or will refer individuals to independent educational institutions that offer the type of credentials needed to be considered for employment. Generally, a college degree and state licensing is not required to work in these departments.

For those who want to advance their career even further and who are willing to complete a couple years of college and possibly even state licensing, departments such as surgery and radiology may be the best option. These areas manage high risk patients who suffer from complex conditions that require ongoing or invasive treatment. Technicians who choose to pursue employment in these departments can expect to be responsible for operating specialized equipment and assisting with several unique procedures. An individual who has selected one of the more advanced positions should take some time to review the patient care technician job description to make sure the activities appeal to them.

The patient care technician duties associated with a specific employment option are an important part of the career selection process because they can mean the difference between working in a job that is personally and professionally satisfying versus dreading going to work each day. Choosing an employment option that is suitable to one’s personality and that provides rewarding experiences each day is a critical part of enjoying life and will be reflected in the quality of care that is provided to the public. Those who do not like interacting with others and who have little interests in the activities associated with these employment options may want to consider a different industry.