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Patient Care Technician Schools and Home Health Aide Training Programs

A patient-focused health care career without four years of medical school is a real option for you -- as a patient care technician. Also known as patient care assistants, nurse aides or nurse techs, these caregivers are found in a wide range of medical specialties. From behavioral health to rehabilitation, psychiatry to clinical support, you can make a difference in your community as you hone a highly marketable set of career skills.

Specializations for Nurse Aides or Patient Care Technicians

As a patient care tech, you could first pursue core training and then focus on an area that matches your interests. Nurse aides or patient care technicians might perform different functions in different workplaces or fields. Here are some examples.

Hospitals: Take vital signs, observe and report treatment information, collect specimens for medical tests, and assist with dietary procedures such as fluid intake and meal coordination.

Rehabilitation: Conduct range of motion exercises, interview patients concerning recovery protocols, and assist therapists in adjusting exercise regimens.

Home health care: Work with patients and families as they adjust to challenges related to care, recovery and quality of life issues.

Geriatric care: Care for the elderly in settings such as nursing homes, assisting with personal hygiene, managing prescriptions, and offering comfort and support to patients' family members.

Training and Certification for Nurse Aides and Assistants

Qualifications for these careers vary by state and also by occupation, work setting and employer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov). A high school diploma is generally required for nursing aides, but not for home health aides. Training may be found in vocational and technical schools and some community colleges. Classes may cover anatomy and physiology, body mechanics, communication skills, infection control and nutrition.

The federal government mandates that patient care techs working in nursing care facilities complete a minimum of 75 hours of state-approved training as well as a formal assessment; those who complete programs of this type may become certified nurse assistants, or CNAs.

As a general rule, salary and advancement opportunities are more favorable for those with credentials. Certification may be required if you work for the federal government, handle infection control or record-keeping, or care for those with cognitive impairments. You can find organizations that offer certification programs with classroom instruction, clinical experience and assessment preparation.

Careers in Patient Care

Patient care positions are found in most public and private health care environments, including community care facilities for the elderly, hospitals, nursing care facilities, home health care and employment services. The flexibility of scheduling means you could work days, nights, weekends or holidays, and most organizations pay a differential for night and weekend shifts. You may have to spend some time on call, so a willingness to work outside of traditional hours may serve to your advantage.

Job Growth and Salary for Patient Care Techs, Nurse Aides and Home Health Aides

Patient care technicians and home health aides should see impressive job gains due to the increases in the elderly population and metropolitan populations, according to bls.gov projections.

Home health aides could experience a remarkable 69 percent increase in employment in the 2010-2020 period. Bls.gov reports that these workers saw a median annual wage of $20,560 in 2010.

Bls.gov counts patient care techs in the category of nursing aides, orderlies and attendants; this occupation should gain 302,000 new positions, with 20 percent growth between 2010 and 2020. These health care employees earned a median annual wage of $24,010, per bls.gov data for 2010, and the best wages were paid by the federal government or insurance companies.

Careers Related to Patient Care Technicians on Health-Care-Careers.org
Nursing Degrees and Programs

Additional Resources for Professionals Searching for Nursing Aide Schools
American Nurses Association
National Healthcareer Association

Campus and Online Patient Care Technician and Nurse Aide Schools

 
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