Patient Care Technician (PCT) Vs Licensed Practicing Nurse (LPN) | Career Comparison | NEIH

Updated: Mar 19


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Patient Care Technician (PCT)

Patient Care Technician is a new rapidly emerging position in healthcare. Hospitals and medical facilities seek patient care technicians due to there range and vast scope of practice. Patient Care Technicians are able to perform Phlebotomy procedures, EKGs and many patient care activities. Employers may even require that PCT's are certified in these areas. Patient Care Technicians can work in a variety of departments including ICU, Emergency, Labor and Delivery, CCU and psych. Patient Care Technicians have three separate certifications in EKG, Phlebotomy and Patient Care.


What are Patient Care Technicians Able to do

  • Venipuncture (Blood draw from adults)

  • Dermal Punctures (Blood draw from children)

  • Heel Sticks (Blood draw from infants)

  • Range of Motion Exercises (physical therapy)

  • Patient Positioning

  • Assisting in ADL (activities of daily living)

  • Administer EKG (electrocardiograms)

  • Assist in Cardiac Stress Tests

  • Patient Transfers

Patient Care Technician Traning, Jobs, and Salary

Patient Care Technicians training programs typically last around 3-6 months. The length of the program is dependant on the schedule you chose. Patient Care Technicians work mostly in hospitals in various departments, however, due to the three separate certifications they possess, they enjoy more employment opportunities than the LPN. The hourly rate of a Patient Care Technician can range between $15 - 25 an hour. Pay varies a lot based on the state, however, in New Jersey, patient care technician salary has a high-income potential. Starting salary or rate will vary depending on the facility and years of experience.


Licensed Practicing Nurse

Licensed Practicing Nurses or (LPN's) are very important members of the healthcare system. However, there are conflicting reports regarding this profession. Talk of LNP's being "phased out" of the healthcare system has been heard for years. The idea supporting this claim is that hospitals will up the degree standard for the entire nursing profession. Meaning that 4-year BSN's (Bachelors in Science of Nursing) will replace 2-year RNs. This will can even affect Advanced practicing Nurses (APRN) so instead of a master's degree, a PH-D will be the standard. LPN's are not Registered Nurses (RN's) and there schooling typically lasts around a year apposed to two and four years.


What are LPNs able to do

  • Insert Catheters

  • Take Blood Pressure

  • Reports patients status to registered nurses and doctors

  • Keep a record of patients health

  • Provide comfort to patients by helping them bathe and dress

  • Administer basic patient care

Licensed Practicing Nurse Salary, Jobs, and Training

Training programs for Licensed Practicing Nurses on average last around a 12months or a year. The scope of practice and vary depending upon the state of employment. The cost of education varies depending on the state as well and will usually be less than the cost of a 2-year nursing degree. However, the cost of training can be expensive exceeding over $10,000. The salary of LPN is averaged around $44,000 a year or $22.23 an hour.


Common Misconception about Healthcare Training

One common myth or misconception about healthcare training programs is that you have to start from the bottom and work your way up.

  • For example, some believe you have to start as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) then become a Licensed Practicing Nurse (LPN), and finally a Registered Nurse (RN) and continue your college education if you so chose.

This is not the case. If you want to work your way up in the nursing profession, you can, however, this will take a much longer time. Choosing this route can cost more, due to the fact that you are paying for each program separately. If you want to work in the healthcare field before starting a college-level program you can do that by becoming an LNP or PCT. Becoming a patient care technician will usually cost less for training and finish faster with similar income potential as the LPN.



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