A patient care technician is a health care professional who cares for patients under the supervision of doctors and nurses. The role of a patient care technician is similar to that of a nursing assistant or aide, to provide basic bedside care. Salary can vary for this occupation depending on several factors including experience and qualifications, which can have different requirements depending on the employer. PayScale cites average salaries based on 1,534 individuals reporting their wages in December 2010.
Requirements for this occupation vary by state and employer. In most cases, patient care technicians are required to have a high school diploma or GED and obtain vocational training to receive a diploma or certificate. Some states also require a license to practice professionally in this occupation, which can be obtained by passing a state-administered exam.
Patient care technicians are typically paid hourly wages, as well as overtime wages if they work over 40 hours per week. Because patient care technicians may be required to work different shifts, some employers pay higher wages, referred to as shift differentials, for those working second or third shift. The average hourly wages range from $10.48 to $13.99 per hour and overtime wages range from $14.02 to $20.73 per hour. Along with hourly and overtime wages, some employers offer patient care technicians bonuses and profit sharing. Average bonuses and profit sharing range from $272 to $1,123 per year. The total yearly salary including all compensation ranges from $22,441 to $30,990 per year.
Patient care technicians can increase their salary and responsibilities by receiving certifications, and some employers and states require some certifications to qualify for this occupation. Patient care technicians who receive the certified phlebotomy technician (PBT) credential can perform job duties including drawing blood from patients. The average salary for this certification ranges from $11.38 to $13.96 per hour. Those who obtain the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification earn average salaries ranging from $10.27 to $13.02 per hour. Those licensed as certified nursing aides or assistants earn average salaries ranging from $10.40 to $13.52 per hour.
Salary can also vary in metropolitan areas based on the need for these professionals in different regions and the cost of living. The highest salaries were reported in New York City, New York, where patient care technicians earn average salaries ranging from $9.82 to $20.08 per hour. Other cities paying high salaries were Flint, Michigan, where average salaries range from $11.38 to $18.27 per hour, and Naperville, Illinois, where average salaries range from $13.13 to $19.88 per hour.
Due to the increasing need of health care professionals and the opportunity to earn higher salaries, patient care technicians can continue their education and advance in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects health care occupations to create 3.2 million new jobs between 2008 and 2018. Common future jobs for patient care technicians include licensed practical nurse (LPN), earning average salaries ranging from $31,213 to $43,753 per year, and registered nurse, earning average salaries ranging from $46,030 to $65,892 per year.