Is a Patient Care Technician a Nurse?


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The medical field is growing every day as new technology and treatments are being developed and more people have access to quality health care. There is a bright future possible for anyone working in this field.


If you have been interested in a career in the medical field but are unsure where to start, deciding which role is a good fit for you can be intimidating. There are doctors, nurses, medical assistants, certified nursing assistants, patient care technicians, and more.


While each of these positions provides direct care to patients and can be equally worthwhile, the next question for someone starting out might be what is the difference between a PCT and a nurse?


If you're interested in becoming a Patient Care Technician, consider enrolling in Florida Career College's Patient Care Technician Program!

Is a Patient Care Technician a Nurse?

Patient Care Technicians are different from nurses. PCTs do not have the same level of training and licensing as nurses, but they work closely with nurses to ensure patients are cared for and have many shared responsibilities with nurses. Getting started in the medical field in this position would give a person a good perspective on the role of a nurse.


The major difference between PCTs and Nurses is that nurses have a higher level of training than patient care technicians which allows them to perform more advanced clinical tasks and also allows them to supervise a patient care technician.


Both patient care technicians and nurses work closely with patients. They help monitor a patient’s progress and healing by checking vitals and recording the amount of food or water the patient consumes. They help patients with grooming, eating, and moving as needed to prevent bed sores and help them be more comfortable. They also help transfer patients for medical exams, testing, and x-rays.

PCT vs Nurse: Primary Job Duties

Patient care technicians and nurses have many similar job duties which make becoming a patient care technician an excellent stepping stone toward becoming a nurse. The exact duties of a patient care technician and a nurse will vary depending on the environment they are working in.


The basic duties of a patient care technician include:

  • Changing and cleaning patient bedding
  • Assisting patients with grooming, feeding, bathing, and other everyday needs. This may include washing, brushing hair, changing clothes, and helping patients get to the restroom.
  • Monitoring patient vitals
  • Transporting patients to different rooms for testing and exams
  • Collecting samples for testing
  • Ensuring patient rooms are fully stocked with supplies
  • Changing bandages and coverings on wounds
  • Providing an empathetic ear for patients or their loved ones


Nurses (RN or LPN) may perform all the same responsibilities as a patient care technician but additionally, they may:

  • Supervise the patient care technicians providing care to patients (RN)
  • Administer medications or vaccinations to patients
  • Counsel and collaborate with the physician on the patient’s treatment plan and progress
  • Provide information to the patient’s family on the next steps
  • Admit and discharge patients (RN)

PCT vs Nurse: Where Do They Work?

Both patient care technicians and nurses work in facilities where patients are receiving care for an extended period of time, from days to weeks or years. This may include hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and home hospice care. It is not as common for nurses or patient care technicians to work in doctor’s offices and clinics, but it is possible in some cases. In this role, the patient care technician may provide more administrative assistance.


Depending on the nurse’s level of training they may be able to work in just about any healthcare facility. A Licensed Practical Nurse works mostly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, but a Registered Nurse may work in a doctor’s office, a school, a military or government facility, or an assisted living facility. RNs may choose to specialize in a certain area and work closely with doctors in family medicine, cardiology, oncology, or pediatrics.

Nurse vs PCT: Education & Training

Training to become a patient care technician can be fairly quick and affordable. It is possible to complete a patient care technician training program in as few as ten months.


Patient Care Technicians are trained on the best techniques for moving, feeding, and grooming patients. They are also taught how to care for the details in a patient’s room like cleaning bedding and taking inventory of supplies. Patient care technicians also have training in collecting specimens, performing CPR, checking a patient’s vitals, and performing an EKG test.


Students can enroll in a patient care technician training program with just a high school diploma and may even be able to earn their high school diploma during their training.


The licensing and certification requirements for PCTs may vary from one state to the next. Most states, like Florida, require PCTs to pass a Certified Nursing Assistant exam and may have an additional state-specific exam.


There are several different levels of nursing and the education and training requirements for each differs. The base level for a nursing career is a Licensed Practical (or Vocational) Nurse.


Students do need a high school diploma to begin an LPN course. Most LPN training programs take about 12 to 18 months to complete. Nurses are also required to pass a nursing exam once they complete their training to become licensed.

Patient Care Technician vs Nurse: Length of Time it Takes to Become One

The time it takes to become a PCT or an LPN depends on the training program you select. In general, it is possible to complete a patient care technician training program in as few as 10 months whereas a licensed practical (or vocational) nurse training program takes 12 to 18 months to complete. Other levels of nursing, like a registered nurse, take two to four years.

Should You Become a Patient Care Tech?

If you are interested in providing direct care to patients and want to get started as quickly as possible, becoming a patient care technician may be a good first step. Patient care technicians are a vital part of the medical team and provide critical assistance to patients who are unable to take care of their own basic needs.


Being a patient care technician is a fulfilling position with plenty of opportunities for advancement and growth.


Becoming a patient care technician is an excellent stepping stone toward a nursing career. The training is hands-on, quick, and affordable. Many students find it helpful to begin working as a patient care technician while they work toward their nursing degree. This gives them greater exposure and experience within the medical field but allows them to begin working quickly.

How to Become a Patient Care Tech?

Becoming a patient care technician is easy with the help of a good training program. No matter if you have a high school diploma or not, you can begin training through Florida Career College.


Give us a call to learn how you can earn your high school diploma and your patient care technician diploma in as few as ten months. At the conclusion of your program, you will complete a hands-on externship to perfect your skills and prepare for certification.


Learn more on How to Become a Patient Care Technician!

How Long Does it Take to Become a Patient Care Technician?

It takes just 10 Months to train for an entry-level position as a patient care technician.


The patient care technician program at Florida Career College is hands-on and flexible with a curriculum that will teach students how to:

  • Record patient vitals
  • Control and prevent infections
  • Operate respiratory aide equipment, inhalers, resuscitators, ventilators, and oxygen tanks
  • Perform CPR
  • Recognize troubling symptoms
  • Perform laboratory procedures
  • Draw blood for testing


Students will be taught to apply these skills to the different types of patients they may encounter in a nursing home, hospital, rehabilitation clinic, home health care, and assisted living facility. Patient care technician training also covers communicating professionally and working closely with the other members of the medical team.

Become a Patient Care Technician With Florida Career College

You can find the support and resources you need to begin a career in the medical field at Florida Career College. Ongoing enrollment means you can enroll today and begin your classes on the next class start date. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.


Whether your goal is to work long-term as a patient care technician or use the training as the foundation for further medical training, we can help you create a career you can be proud of at Florida Career College.


Enroll in FCC's PCT Program today!