How to Become a Patient Care Technician in Alabama

Patient care technicians (PCTs) play a vital role in the healthcare industry by providing direct patient care and support under the supervision of registered nurses and other healthcare providers. Becoming a certified patient care technician is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and gain recognition for your expertise in the field of patient care. In this article, we will discuss how to become a certified patient care technician in Alabama, including eligibility requirements, certification exam overview, registration, renewal requirements, and career opportunities.

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Exam Eligibility Requirements for Patient Care Technician Certification in Alabama

To be eligible to take the certification exam in Alabama, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Completed an accredited patient care technician training program or have equivalent work experience
  • Possess a valid government-issued identification

Patient Care Technician Certification Exam Overview

The certification exam is offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and covers a range of topics related to patient care, including medical procedures, vital signs, patient safety, patient blood pressure, basic care, and patient care infection control. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within two hours. To pass the exam, you need to score at least 70%.

Registering for the Certification Exam in Alabama

To register for the certification exam in Alabama, follow these steps:

  • Visit the NHA website and create an account
  • Fill out the application form and submit it
  • Pay the exam fee, which is typically around $160

Tips for Preparing for the Certification Exam

To increase your chances of passing the certification exam, follow these tips:

  • Review the exam content outline provided by the NHA
  • Use study materials, such as practice exams and study guides, which are available on the NHA website
  • Practice time management to ensure you have enough time to answer all the questions
  • Get enough rest before the exam day
  • Arrive early on the exam day to avoid stress and anxiety

Renewal Requirements for Certification in Alabama

Certification as a patient care technician is valid for two years in Alabama. To renew your certification, you need to complete continuing education requirements, which include:

  • 10 continuing education units (CEUs)
  • Successful completion of an approved CPR course
  • Payment of renewal fee

How long does it take to become a patient care technician in Alabama?

The length of time it takes to become a patient care technician (PCT) in Alabama can vary depending on the training program you choose. Typically, patient care technician training programs can range from a few weeks to several months. Some training programs may offer evening or weekend classes to accommodate working students.

Community colleges, vocational schools, and technical schools in Alabama offer patient care technician training programs that can take around 6-12 weeks to complete. These programs provide classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training to prepare students for the demands of the job.

Additionally, some hospitals and healthcare facilities in Alabama offer on-the-job training programs for PCTs. These programs typically last around 6-12 weeks and provide hands-on training in a healthcare setting.

After completing the training program, you may be eligible to take the certification exam offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) to become a certified patient care technician. The certification exam takes around two hours to complete, and passing the exam is a crucial step in becoming a certified patient care technician.

Overall, the length of time it takes to become a patient care technician in Alabama can vary depending on the training program you choose and the requirements for certification.

Where PCTs Work in Alabama

Alabama PCTs will typically be found working in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care and assisted living facilities, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers and doctor’s offices. Many PCTs also work in home health care settings to provide assistance to patients who require more specialized care.

Patient Care Technician Programs in Alabama

The following is a selection of patient care technician schools in Alabama. This is not an exhaustive list.

National Training Institute for Healthcare Technicians LLC

The National Training Institute for Healthcare Technicians LLC (NTIHCT) offers a comprehensive training and certification program for PCTs in Birmingham, Alabama. The program offers courses, exam preparation material, and certification programs that are designed to help future patient care technicians gain the knowledge and expertise they need to provide quality patient care. Courses include topics such as infection control, communication skills, documentation basics, anatomy and physiology, vital signs electrocardiogram (EKG), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic First Aid, and blood draws.

Career Health Services Academy

The Patient Care Technician program at Career Health Services Academy in Pelham, AL is designed to produce skilled and competent healthcare professionals. The program offered provides students with patient care skills including basic infection control procedures, acute care skills, direct patient care, phlebotomy basics, and more. Upon completion of the program, students may be eligible to sit for the Patient Care Technician certification exam.

Jefferson State Community College

Jefferson offers a Patient Care Assistant/Technician (PCA/T) course as part of its Fast-Track & Workforce Education Healthcare Academy. It is comprehensive program designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in healthcare facilities. Students learn critical skills such as basic patient care, medical and surgical asepsis, phlebotomy, and interpersonal skills. The program also covers therapeutic communication, safety, and cultural sensitivity for patients and their families while under care. The course includes clinical rotations, and students will need to complete 96 hours of clinical externship to successfully graduate. Graduates are eligible to sit for the Patient Care Technician/Assistant Certification (CPCT/A), and a Certificate of Completion is issued upon successful completion.

Autauga County Technology Center

Autauga County Schools in Prattville, AL, includes a one-credit patient care technician course as part of its Health Science program. Students develop a working knowledge of advanced patient care skills, vital signs, 12-lead ECG, oxygen therapy, basic phlebotomy via simulation, and specimen collection and processing.

Northeast Alabama Community College

Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) offers a Patient Care Technician program designed to give graduates multiple pathways to employment in the health care field. The program is comprehensive and includes instruction in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, medical office procedures and more. Graduates may be eligible to take certification exams for nursing assistant, EKG technician, and phlebotomy technician, as well as patient care technician.

Salary Outlook for PCT’s in Alabama

The median annual wage for nursing assistants, including patient care technicians, in Alabama was $28,270 as of May 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, wages can vary depending on the employer, location, and level of experience. The top 10% of nursing assistants earned more than $39,710 per year.

PCTs who work in hospitals tend to earn higher wages compared to those who work in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. PCTs who work in specialty areas, such as oncology or pediatrics, may also earn higher wages than those who work in general patient care.

Career Opportunities for Certified Patient Care Technicians in Alabama

The job prospects for nursing assistants, including patient care technicians, are expected to grow 7% from 2020 to 2030 in Alabama. PCTs typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and other healthcare facilities in Alabama. PCTs may also work in specialty areas, such as oncology or pediatrics, or in home health or hospice care, providing direct patient care in the patient’s home.

All Patient Care Technician Schools in Alabama

Jefferson State Community College

2601 Carson Road
Birmingham, AL 35215

Jeremiah’s Hope Academy

2800 University Boulevard, Suite 101
Birmingham, AL 35233

Wallace Community College

3000 Earl Goodwin Parkway
Selma, AL 36703

Limestone County Career Technical Center

505 East Sanderfer Road
Athens, AL 35611

Lawson State Community College

3060 Wilson Road, SW
Birmingham, AL 35221

National Training Institute for HealthCare Technicians L.L.C

616 Gadsden Hwy, Suite A
Birmingham, AL 35235

Career Technical Educational Center

701 Highway 70
Columbiana, AL 35051

Baker High School

8901 Airport Boulevard
Mobile, AL 36608

Career Health Services Academy

1974 Chandalar Drive, Suite B
Pelham, AL 35124

Autauga County Technology Center

1301 Upper Kingston
Prattville, AL 36067

Northeast Alabama Community College

138 AL Hwy 35
Rainsville, AL 35771

Shelton State Community College

9500 Old Greensboro Rd
Tuscaloosa, AL 35405