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How Much Salary Does a Patient Care Tech Make?

Updated on December 6, 2012
Source

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

The ultimate responsibility of patient care technicians is to take care of patients at healthcare facilities, often under the supervision of medical staff. They may also be called nursing aides or attendants, if they provide medical care such as measuring blood pressure and heart rate; or orderlies, if they transport patients from their rooms to operating theaters.

Basics

The nation’s 1,466,700 patient care technicians earned a mean $25,420 per year, or $12.22 per hour, as of May 2011, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • However, their salaries could descend below an annual $18,060, or $8.68 hourly, or rise above $35,170 yearly, or $16.91 per hour.
  • This compared to the mean $45,230 per year, or $21.74 per hour earned by all workers in all professions, and the average $27,370 yearly, or $13.16 hourly, earned by all healthcare support occupations. This occupational category included medical assistants, pharmacy aides and massage therapists.

Employers

Almost 43 percent of patient care techs worked in nursing care facilities, where they averaged $24,460 per year, or $11.76 per hour.

  • Other big employers included general medical and surgical hospitals, elder care facilities and home health care services.
  • The highest salaries were in scientific research and development services at a mean $36,910 annually, or $17.75 hourly.

To obtain these salaries, nursing aides and attendants need a postsecondary education from vocational schools or community colleges. They must also take a competency exam and may use the title “Certified Nursing Assistant” in some states. Orderlies need only a high school diploma.

Locations

Locations with the highest populations contain the highest number of patients and thus, the highest number of jobs for patient care technologies.

  • Among states, California topped the opportunity list with 7 percent of the total jobs and averages at $28,990 per year, or $13.94 per hour.
  • New York City showed the most positions among metro areas, with means at an annual $33,460, or $16.09 per hour.

The highest salaries were in locations with high costs of living. Among states, the distinction went to Alaska, with means at an annual $34,700, or $16.68 per hour. Among cities, it was San Francisco, California, averaging $37,440 yearly, or $18 per hour.

Prospects

Because America’s population is growing and aging, it will require more medical diagnosis and treatment, and longer stays in hospitals and nursing homes. Therefore, jobs for patient care technicians are forecast to increase by 20 percent, which is higher than the predicted 14 percent growth for all jobs in all industries. Prospects for those with formal training will be good. Opportunities will continue to be the best in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I had no idea of such details well informed and researched. So much I had no idea about thanks for this hub.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      Thanks for doing this piece on one of the less-known careers in healthcare! I managed clinics for several years, and there are quite a few 'unknown' fields people can go into if they choose. Anything to do with medicine is a growing field and will continue to grow as the Baby Boom generation begins requiring more and more health services.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      While this profession may not be the highest paying, it can be very rewarding in other ways. That said, the work that these people is so important and I think they deserve more than they get for the work that they do.

      Shared, pinned, tweeted, up and interesting.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      This is one industry that will always be in demand. It's such a worthwhile profession. It's sad that they aren't paid more for the hard work that they do.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I'm surprised that though patient care is a very important job requiring skills of a specific type the salary these techs are making is lower than the average salary of workers in the entire gamut of healthcare support. With more jobs being forecast due to increase in the aging population I feel they need a better pay packet.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is an important job for not very much money. We need people who genuinely care for others and who do this type of work. Like vespawoolf stated, it is disappointing that they do not get more money for their efforts. Up and interesting votes. Will share.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I'm disappointed that such an important work earns such a small salary. I would have expected more, and especially as there are more of the elderly generation who need to be cared for. This is another interesting addition to the series.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      This sounds like an excellent field for younger folks to get into. I am sharing this with my 20 something crew. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      alocsin....Although this is a worthy and possibly satisfying job......IMO, it's too high a degree of responsibility, physical and mental stress for the terribly low pay. Those who make the higher end of that pay scale must have special training and years of experience......not to mention, be employed by a large, metropolitan hospital with a healthy budget. Good review......UP+++

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Sounds like healthcare might be a good option for people who don't quite know what to do for a career because as the populace ages, we'll need more care. Awesome hub!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I was really expecting to see a higher salary for this career. As you stated, with the aging population we will only see an increased need for this position. Good information and well researched.