How to Become a Patient Care Technician in California

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How to Become a Patient Care Technician in California

From home healthcare services to nursing homes to hospitals, many segments of the medical field require a regular need for compassionate and caring individuals who love to help improve the lives of others.

Therefore, if you are searching for a new career path within the healthcare industry and fancy the thought of collaborating with patients directly, then striving to become a patient care technician in California may be the right choice.

Best of all, you don’t need to spend decades in school to kickstart your career.

Before jumping in feet first, it is important to understand California state requirements.

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Keep reading to learn more!

Licensing Requirements to Become a Patient Care Technician

California requires a certification to become a patient care technician since the candidate will be critical to the medical staff and patients.

Therefore, you must follow this process to become licensed in California as a patient care technician:

Provide Personal Information

To even be considered for a training program or to take the National Health Association (NHA) Certified Patient Care Technician (CPCT) exam, you must be over 18 years of age, hold a high school diploma, and show proof of citizenship.

The State of California also requires that candidates submit a set of fingerprints.

Complete a Training Program

California is a large state with countless patient care technician training programs ranging from community colleges to trade schools, medical schools, and other institutions.

The process of applying is like applying for college and most schools offer financial aid or scholarships.

The difference is, that completing this program type can be accomplished in six months to one year.

Pay the Examination Fee

Once you have completed an accredited training program, you must pay for the examination, which costs $149.

Many training programs pay the fee as part of your tuition cost, so it is important to check at the beginning.

Pass the NHA CPCT Exam

The CPCT exam consists of 100 questions and 20 pre-test questions.

On average, the entire testing process takes a little under two hours.

Your training program will help you prepare to pass the examination with flying colors.

For those who did not complete a training program, NHA also accepts one year or more of experience in the field.

Once you pass the test, you can professionally use the CPCT next to your name.

Find a Job 

The last step is to find a job.

Many training schools offer career placement and assistance, with some even requiring internships, which is a fantastic way to learn your craft, gain experience, and potentially have a position waiting for you post-graduation.

5 Patient Care Technician Schools in California

With such a large population, California has countless patient care technician schools for you to complete a training program.

These include:

California Medical College

California Medical College Logo

California Medical College is an institution that focuses only on medical fields.

Their patient care technician program consists of nine courses whereby students learn clinical responsibilities, with the end goal of passing the certification exam.

One externship with a healthcare professional or location is required to complete the program.

Healthcare Career College

Healthcare Career College Logo

With an 11-month patient care technician diploma, Healthcare Career College teaches students how to draw blood, take vital signs, operate EKG equipment, prepare the examination room for a doctor, manage electronic health records, perform insurance billing, and patient medical recordkeeping, and basic office skills.

Oxman College

Oxman College Logo

Located in Daly City, California, Oxman College offers a patient care technician program that takes only 24-weeks and costs $8,500 for the entire program, including books and supplies.

Students learn enough information to prepare them for the NHA exam and tuition includes the examination fee.

Pima Medical Institute

Pima Medical College Logo

The patient care technician program at Pima Medical Institute teaches students how to draw blood, insert catheters, perform tube removal, remove staples and sutures, perform EKGs, and conduct emergency room skills.

For those living in California, you can take the program online.

Simi School

Simi School Logo

The curriculum for the patient care technician training program at the Pima Medical Institute includes an introduction to infection control, standard precautions, legal issues in healthcare, and patient care, medical terminology, therapeutic exercises, and wound care, among others.

The program length is only around a six-month commitment.

Patient Care Technician Schools in California – Summary Table

School Name Address
California Medical College 7851 Mission Center Ct UNIT 326, San Diego, CA 92108
Healthcare Career College 8527 Alondra Blvd Suite #128, Paramount, CA 90723
Oxman College 309 4th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118
Pima Medical Institute 780 Bay Blvd, Chula Vista, CA 91910
Simi School 5400 Cochran St., Simi Valley, CA 93063
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The median patient care technician’s national salary ranges from $30,000 to $38,600.

However, in Los Angeles, California, the median salary ranges from $33,600 to $43,100.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Los Angeles $39,052
San Diego $37,263
San Jose $43,334
San Francisco $43,162
Long Beach $38,500
Fresno $34,350
Sacramento $37,323
Oakland $41,090
Santa Ana $38,535
Anaheim $38,587

Regional Salary in California

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bakersfield, CA1,340$38,770$18.64$46,100$32,230
Chico, CA890$39,690$19.08$44,680$32,960
El Centro, CA200$37,310$17.94$42,850$32,380
Fresno, CA2,550$38,240$18.38$45,480$31,780
Hanford-Corcoran, CA240$37,180$17.87$42,810$31,650
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA39,710$42,620$20.49$51,260$36,480
Madera, CA470$42,440$20.4$51,930$36,160
Merced, CA380$38,810$18.66$45,040$33,590
Modesto, CA1,560$41,060$19.74$48,670$35,840
Napa, CA530$44,180$21.24$46,650$38,260
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA1,720$41,230$19.82$50,550$36,120
Redding, CA580$38,410$18.47$44,000$32,000
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA8,460$39,770$19.12$47,210$34,480
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA5,090$44,040$21.17$59,800$36,580
Salinas, CA910$43,100$20.72$47,650$37,640
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA9,290$42,420$20.39$51,820$36,810
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA10,980$52,280$25.13$68,940$40,110
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA5,230$51,600$24.81$70,700$40,380
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA570$40,030$19.25$48,240$34,300
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA370$44,440$21.36$62,950$37,700
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA1,050$42,120$20.25$48,820$34,240
Santa Rosa, CA1,050$43,660$20.99$51,560$38,740
Stockton-Lodi, CA2,110$40,990$19.71$46,930$34,630
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA980$43,180$20.76$55,130$36,670
Visalia-Porterville, CA1,190$38,720$18.62$46,450$31,540
Yuba City, CA470$39,670$19.07$46,460$35,900
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Nursing Assistants, OCC Code 31-1131, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary job duties of a patient care technician in California?

In addition to helping patients, patient care technicians also assist their families and staff within the medical location.

Primary duties include bathing and feeding patients, catheter care, escorting patients to other locations within the building or campus for additional evaluation, maintaining patient rooms, performing phlebotomy processes, talking to families, and vital sign monitoring.

Where can a patient care technician work in California?

Once certified, patient care technicians can work in assisted living facilities, home care, hospices, hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and specialized clinics.

One major benefit of this career is that a patient care technician can move to various locations if they are not satisfied with the work.

Is being a patient care technician in California difficult?

While helping patients feel better is incredibly rewarding, the position can often be emotionally demanding.

Since you are working in a medical facility, you will often be interacting with patients who are incredibly ill or dying, which can take a toll on those attempting to save them.

USA PCT Schools by City

USA PCT Schools by State

One Comment
  1. Avatar for Abby Shaffer Abby Shaffer

    Perfect! I’ve been gathering important requirements on how to get a PCT license and I just discovered there is a school in Simi Valley. It is a bit near to my home so I think I am going to pursue it there.

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