While they are very similar, there are several differences between a CAN (certified nurse’s aide) and a PCT (patient care technician). Luckily, being a CNA means you already have a nurse aid license, work experience and exposure to patients. These three factors will serve as the foundation of your PCT career.
The Main Differences between the Two
Being a CNA means you currently provide basic patient care and do not have the autonomy to make medical decisions. Once you transition to a PCT, you’ll be able to perform your CNA duties as well as basic treatments. Therefore, you ‘ll gain the autonomy to make some basic medical decisions by taking the three steps outlined below.
3 Steps to Becoming a PCT
1. Get the additional training.
Since a PCT is required to draw blood, read ECGs and perform some basic treatments unsupervised, a PCT requires more training than a CNA. On average, PCT training can last as much as 24 weeks (compared to approximately six weeks for a CNA) and will include advanced classes. However, the exact nature of the training varies by state.
2. Earn the relevant certificates and/or licenses.
Additional certificates and licenses may be required depending on the state in which you wish to practice. In some states, a PCT needs a license or a certificate in phlebotomy before being allowed to draw blood. Other states only require a phlebotomy license or certificate if you intend to work with certain categories of patients (e.g. those on dialysis).
3. Gain the right job experience.
To become a PCT, you’ll need work experience as one or more of the following:
– ECG technician
You may need more experience depending on the age of your CNA career, but the good thing is that you’re already accumulating the time needed.
Transitioning from a CNA to a PCT will take some work. However, it’s a tremendous investment in your future and the first step towards furthering a fulfilling career in the medical field!