A patient care technician is an important member of the EKG technicians team who performs a variety of tasks that are needed for the safe and effective delivery of comprehensive medical care in many departments throughout a healthcare facility. Although most technicians are employed within a specific practice area, they often have the basic knowledge and skills needed to transition between departments in order to achieve their long-term career objectives. The diversity of this career path along with low education and training requirements makes it extremely appealing to those who want to contribute to the well-being of others without needing to complete several years of college or extensive training. The competency standards associated with a particular area of practice tend to vary, but often include a training program and national certification that is specific to the field in which an individual intends to work.
In general, the patient care technician career path is an unlicensed entry-level opportunity that allows individuals who have nothing more than a high school diploma or equivalent to secure employment and advance over time. Although there are many specialized areas of practice that have more stringent entry requirements, most people begin their career as a medical assistant, nurse aide, or some other form of generalist provider. As an individual acquires the basic knowledge and skills they need to deliver quality care in any area of practice, they may have the opportunity to further their career by completing some form of specialized training and certification that will allow them to transition to a specialty that offers a higher level of pay and more independence. This period of initial employment also allows technicians to gain exposure to many different areas of practice so that they can make an informed decision about the field that they would like to pursue.
There are a couple of primary pathways for acquiring the training necessary to become a successful and happy patient care technician. One of the most popular is to complete a program that is offered by the employer. In-house training opportunities are a great way to enter the healthcare field because they are designed to give new employees the knowledge and skills they need to perform their job responsibilities and to ensure that patients are being managed in a safe and effective manner. In most cases, the clinic will incorporate both classroom instruction and hands-on experience into the training program. Training is typically followed by the expectation that individuals will prepare for and pass a national certification examination that demonstrates competency within a particular area of practice.
An alternative to in-house training is to complete a certificate or degree program that is offered through a local independent educational institution. There are numerous opportunities to complete these types of programs and it is fairly easy to find one that is specific to a very particular area of practice. Before an application for enrollment is completed, it is recommended that individuals contact employers in their area to make sure that the credentials offered through the chosen program will be accepted. This approach can save a significant amount of time and money in the career advancement process.