If you’re searching for a fast track into the healthcare industry and work best in constantly changing work environments, becoming a patient care technician might be a great career path to meet your goals.
Patient care technicians have a fulfilling career supporting patients and other medical professionals to provide treatment and care, so every day is different.
From hospices and retirement communities to medical practices and hospitals, patient care technicians enjoy working across various settings with different patients each day.
This type of experience can be a fantastic stepping stone into more advanced healthcare positions in the future.
Whether you’re ready to enroll or still weighing your options, it’s important to understand the best online patient care technician training programs.
Keep reading to learn more!
Best Online Patient Care Technician Training Programs
Given the projected role increase for patient care technicians, most vocational schools and community colleges offer training programs.
An essential first step is to research the programs and cons of all options to help you make a confident and informed decision.
Some of the best online patient care technician programs include the following schools:
Advanced eClinical Training
The eight-week, self-paced, entirely online Patient Care Technician Certification Course is offered for pre-health students to prepare for nursing, physician’s assistant, or medical school.
The program aims to prepare students to take the National HealthCareer Association (NHA) or American Medical Certification Association (AMCA) exams to become certified.
Throughout the course, students learn how to administer medications, phlebotomy procedures, sample collection, transportation to a lab, nutrition monitoring, understand EKG readings, monitor vital signs, and medical terminology.
The online program format allows students to work through the program without time limits or deadlines on assignments to allow for maximum flexibility.
Also, all training materials are available instantly after registration, and students can access the information for up to 12 months.
College of Staten Island
Part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, the College of Staten Island offers an inline patient care training program that prepares students to assist patients with mobility, track patient progress, listen to their concerns, and communicate them effectively to the primary care provider, collect samples, and check vital signs.
Other foundational topics include legal issues in healthcare, patient care competency, wheelchair management, pressure sores and wound care, medical terminology, infection control, and standard precautions.
Given that the coursework is entirely online, students can start the program anytime, but the curriculum must be completed within six months.
The only prerequisite to take the program is a high school diploma.
The Lehman College hybrid patient care technician program allows students to learn in classroom and online settings, allowing more interaction with classmates.
The curriculum includes 10 Electrocardiography sessions, eight Phlebotomy I, and 17 sessions of Phlebotomy II.
The EKG and Phlebotomy II classes are hybrid due to the clinical requirements, and Phlebotomy I requirements can be completed entirely online.
These three classes cover all patient care technician entry-level job requirements and provide students with the knowledge to sit for the National Healthcareer Association certification exam to become a Certified Patient Care Technician.
The cost of the exam is not included in course tuition.
Midlands Technical College
Located in South Carolina, MTC offers an entirely online patient care technician certificate training program that requires a nine-month time commitment.
To enter the program, prospective students must earn at least a ”C” grade in the medical terminology course.
The curriculum covers nurse assisting, cardiac care, conducting echocardiograms, and phlebotomy.
Students must complete 300 classroom hours and an in-person clinical requirement to graduate.
Tuition costs $3,800 for the program, and the school has tuition assistance opportunities available.
Graduates have a high employment placement rate in medical clinics, hospitals, and various other healthcare facilities.
To apply for the program, aspiring students must apply to the program within the department rather than to the school.
One of the best aspects of the curriculum is each course is offered several times per year to give busy students more flexibility in completing graduation requirements.
As one of the leading online schools, it’s no surprise Penn Foster has made this list.
While the school doesn’t specifically offer a patient care technician program, it has an excellent medical assistant program, which allows graduates to move into various healthcare roles, including as a patient care technician.
This associate degree program helps students gain the fundamental credentials and skills required to work in the healthcare industry.
The fully online curriculum includes the basics of various body systems, terminology, clinical procedures, safety, and professional skill development.
Graduates are employed in numerous healthcare settings, from hospitals and urgent care clinics to doctors’ offices and outpatient centers.
The curriculum prepares students to sit for the following certification exams:
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certificate
- Certified Phlebotomy Technician certification
- Clinical Medical Assistant certification
- National Certified Medical Assistant certificate
- Registered Medical Assistant certification
Phlebotomy Career Training
The Patient Care Technician certification program from Phlebotomy Career Training is entirely online, and the curriculum includes electrocardiograms, venipuncture, documentation, patient care, patient assessment, and taking vital signs.
Students will also be exposed to professional skills like ensuring professional conduct, mental health, effective bedside manner, OSHA and HIPPA regulations, and inpatient management.
This program is designed for students with at least six months of related experience, so a notarized letter from their employer as proof of experience is required.
The curriculum was developed to be self-paced and accessible around the clock so students have maximum flexibility.
The only time restriction is the coursework must be completed within six months of beginning the program.
Tuition is $495, covering all materials, fees, online access, and lectures.
Saint Paul College
Based in Minnesota, SPC offers an online patient care technician associate degree, which requires completing 60 credits over a two-year time commitment in full-time study.
Several essential classes include phlebotomy, medical office skills, telemetry, EKG, and essential life support for healthcare providers.
Also, the program requires multiple in-person clinical experiences to help students develop real-world, office, lab, and patient environment skills.
For those who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree program after graduation, SPC has a transfer agreement with Metropolitan State University.
Upon completing the online patient care technician associate degree, graduates can seek certification as a patient care technician, phlebotomist, EKG technician, trained medication aide, home health aide, or registered nursing assistant.
Also, the program can be started during the spring, summer, or fall semesters to give students extended flexibility.
U.S. Career Institute
The U.S. Career Institute is an online vocational institution with excellent patient care technician training.
The program prepares students for entry-level work in long-term care facilities, doctors’ offices, and hospitals.
It provides the knowledge to sit for the patient care technician certification administered by the National Healthcare Association.
The certification exam is included in the tuition cost.
Essential courses include taking vital signs, moving and assisting patients, medical ethics, nutrition, anatomy, and medical terminology.
One of the best aspects of the program is access to the Career Coach Program, which provides students exclusive one-on-one access to a career advisor specializing in the healthcare industry.
The Institute makes the program affordable by offering a monthly payment option, so the bill is not all due at once.
Furthermore, students gain professional skills throughout the program, and all content is mobile-friendly, which can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
What Courses Are in an Online Patient Care Technician Program?
While different educational levels have varying course requirements, they will include the following standard courses:
Fundamentals of Nursing
Since patient care technicians will work under RN and other healthcare professionals’ supervision, students must know how to provide primary nursing care.
This course focuses on the role of patient care technicians in nursing environments, emphasizing meeting patient and colleague needs across multiple settings and situations.
Commonly taken during the first semester, healthcare professionalism is an introductory course that helps students better understand employer expectations and how they can be met.
Topics include handling performance reviews, meeting employer expectations, communication, and interview appearances.
Healthcare professionalism is vital for providing excellent patient customer service and crucial in working with other healthcare professionals.
When taking a patient support class, you will gain an understanding of how to identify and support patient needs during their treatment while emphasizing effective communication with them and their relatives.
Phlebotomy Principles offers the knowledge and skills required to draw patient blood and emphasizes the fundamental skills in safe packaging and transporting samples to labs, calming patients, managing infection control procedures, and venipunctures.
Principles of Electrocardiograms (EKGs)
As part of their regular job responsibilities, patient care technicians conduct EKGs, so it’s crucial to understand the procedures and principles to execute them accurately while maintaining a clean and safe environment for patients and healthcare workers.
In addition to studying the concepts behind EKGs, this course includes a firsthand lab component that allows students to practice using the equipment.
Proper Sanitation Techniques
Recognizing safety and sanitization hazards while maintaining cleanliness levels when interacting with other healthcare professionals and patients keeps all parties safe.
Understanding the healthcare industry’s regulatory, ethical, and legal responsibilities helps protect your patients.
Part of being a patient care technician could be helping patients rehabilitate from illness or injuries, so learning the proper protocols for restorative activities is essential.
Skills in Health Assessment
This course delivers the basic skills required to ensure patients are comfortable and informed while in care, take patient histories, and develop and maintain healthcare records.
Students also learn how to take and record vital signs accurately.
Can You Earn a Patient Care Technician Certification Entirely Online?
Although all coursework may be completed from home, patient care technicians must fulfill clinical requirements at an approved healthcare facility to graduate with any degree options.
That means you cannot earn a patient care technician certification completely online.
Contact your program administrator to assist in finding a suitable location for an externship when the requirement arises.
In some programs, clinical work is required throughout the program.
Other programs require clinical work to complete the curriculum, which allows students to apply the knowledge learned in the classroom.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Patient Care Technician Certification Online?
Many factors influence the length of earning a patient care technician certification.
Associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates require varying time to complete.
Traditionally, full-time associate degrees take two years, diplomas take one year, and certificates require a few months of time commitment.
Whether students opt for full-time or part-time study will determine the length of time.
Some vocational schools and colleges offer intensive, accelerated options for those looking to enter the workforce.
Before starting a program, it’s always advisable to align with the program administrators on program and timeline options that meet your educational and career goals.
What is the Cost of an Online Patient Care Technician Certification?
Like the time commitment, online patient care technician program costs can significantly range based on many factors.
First, attending an in-state public school will be considerably less expensive than enrolling in a for-profit or private institution.
Also, you will pay more for part-time study because you’re charged semester-based fees.
Additionally, accreditation and the school’s reputation, based on faculty quality, factor into the cost.
It’s important to understand the amount of tuition assistance you can secure through scholarships, grants, and financial aid to help lower the price tag.
As the population grows, the need for experienced medical professionals continues to expand.
These professionals need support staff like patient care technicians who directly assist patients and colleagues with various treatment and care activities.
To become a patient care technician, training is required by employers to ensure you have the knowledge and skills for success.
As technology continues to improve, more online patient care technician programs are available than ever.
It’s important to note that you must complete clinical rotations to be considered for employment, so most schools have partnerships with local medical facilities or can assist with finding you an externship to fulfill the requirement.