Nurse Care Technician Requirements

by Oubria Tronshaw

Nurse care technicians, also known as patient care technicians, assist nurses, doctors and other medical staff in providing patient needs. Duties include recording vital signs, feeding and dressing patients, helping patients with exercises and mobility, and assisting them with the bathroom. The profession requires three to six months of post-secondary education, including clinical practice. In addition to becoming a nurse care tech, program graduates will also be qualified to work as a Certified Nurse Assistant or a phlebotomist, and to perform EKG exams.

Prerequisite Education

For admission to most nurse care technician programs, applicants must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Helpful classes include health, biology, and English. Learning a foreign language is a plus. For most programs, applicants must also have current CPR certification to gain admission.

Formal Training Program

Nurse care technician programs typically last between three and six months, and are offered at community colleges and technical schools. Programs are a combination of classroom education, lab work and supervised clinical practice. Subject matter includes direct and indirect patient care, diagnostic procedures, documentation, safety precautions, and ethical and legal standards. Students also learn how to take vital signs, perform emergency procedures, and to communicate with patients.

Health and Ethics Requirements

Most programs require applicants to complete ethics and health requirements as admissions prerequisites. Applicants are typically asked to complete a background check and drug test, and to provide fingerprints. Results from a recent health exam is usually also required, as well as an up-to-date immunization record, and proof of having passed a TB skin test.


Nurse care technicians are not required to be certified, but voluntary certification can increase a candidate’s employment and earning potential. Certification is offered through numerous nationwide and regional organizations, including the National Center for Competency Testing and the American Certification Agency. Certification requirements typically include having a high school diploma or GED equivalent, completing a post-secondary training program with a clinical practice component and passing a certification exam.

About the Author

Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.

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