How to Become a Health Technician
Health Technician Careers & Degrees

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Health Technician is an umbrella term used to define several specialized positions in the healthcare field.

These professionals play a variety of roles within the health care field depending on the specialization they work in.

These specialists use their medical knowledge to assist a medical team that can include doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.

Responsibilities depend on the specialty in which a Health Technician works in but for the most part, revolves around a patient’s care.

Health Technicians work in a variety of locations including Hospitals, Mental Health Clinics, Veteran Affairs, Victim Abuse centers, Ophthalmology or Podiatry Offices to name a few places.

The several types of Health Technicians include the following examples:

  • Mental Health Technician: Work with patients in a mental health facility
  • Therapeutic Technician: Help treat patients who are being treated by Physical Therapists, Respiratory Therapists or Occupational Therapists
  • Health Technician Phlebotomy: Take blood and urine samples in order to perform testing
  • Health Technician Ophthalmology: Works in an Ophthalmology office (eye doctor) to provide care and request patient information
  • Health Information Technicians: Handle sensitive patient information: health history, personal information, symptoms and treatment
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Education Requirements to Become a Health Technician

Someone making plans to become a Health Technician needs to have a minimum of a high school diploma in combination with certification and experience.

However, qualifications differ depending on the specialization and each individual employer’s requirements.

Someone who has more education will remain more competitive in the field.

Most employers prefer candidates with at least an Associate’s Degree in a medical related discipline.
The majority of people who want to become a Health Technician need to complete at least one year of study focused on Medical, Health or a similar course of study.

Acquiring certification to become a Health Technician greatly improves the chances of getting a job in the field.

For candidates that seek employment in coding such as in Ophthalmology, Health Technicians can become certified through The Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS).

More information on this organization and certification requirements can be found at their website.

Specializations, such as Mental Health Technicians or Therapeutic Health Technicians would require more education either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in addition to certification.

Health Technician Job Description

Responsibilities for Health Technicians depend on the specialization they work in.

  • Mental Health Technician: Assists in the treatment of patients who are mentally ill or emotionally troubled possibly under the supervision of Psychologists, Counselors or Psychiatrists.Monitor patient behavior and assist with maintaining hygiene and medication dosages.
  • Therapeutic Technician: Helps provide healthcare to patients who have debilitating conditions or have suffered severe injuries.Health Technician may work within a specific area: Respiratory, Physical or Occupational Therapy.
  • Health Technician Phlebotomy: Draw, collect, label and process patient blood samples for testing and analyzing.May also collect and process urine samples.
  • Health Technician Ophthalmology: Works in Ophthalmology maintaining patient records and requesting patient health history including vision health history.
  • Health Information Technicians: Assists in managing important patient medical information in a hospital, clinic or a private physician’s office.

Health Technician Salary and Career Path

Wages for Health Technicians vary between specializations.

Salary expectations for Health Technicians ranges from approximately $23,000 to $39,000.

Health Technicians play a variety of roles in the Healthcare industry working in many different specializations.

Health Technicians can work in hospitals or in-patient facilities but are also found working for Veteran Affairs or with victims of abuse.

The Medical Industry is expected to have strong growth throughout the next decade.

This growth will result in more job opportunities for Health Technicians and beyond.

A Health Technician can rely on their background in order to remain competitive in the field.

Having a background that includes a combination of education, certification and experience will help a Health Technician throughout their career in the Medical Industry.

Health Technicians play an important role in the Medical Industry and their unique skills and talents help medical facilities provide the best healthcare for patients.

Physicians and patients depend on their work in order to facilitate a diagnosis, manage patient information and perform specific tasks that help a facility run smoothly.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$59,450
New Hampshire$45,080
New Jersey$53,280
New Mexico$44,260
New York$52,540
North Carolina$40,810
North Dakota$49,910
Rhode Island$52,860
South Carolina$42,030
South Dakota$43,480
West Virginia$41,230
Puerto Rico$24,880
Virgin Islands$50,990

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $59,450.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $59,450
Alaska - $58,000
Hawaii - $54,920
Massachusetts - $54,370
Washington - $53,890
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Medical Dosimetrists, Medical Records Specialists, and Health Technologists and Technicians, OCC Code 29-2098, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat is a health technician?

Health technicians, also known as patient care technicians, are allied health professionals who provide care for patients.

They usually work in clinics, emergency departments or labs.

Health technicians have a variety of duties, including specimen collection, I.V. insertion, patient bathing and grooming, and transporting patients for medical procedures.

They may also perform other essential tasks that are not directly related to patient care, such as cleaning the unit and transporting the patient’s belongings.

The exact responsibilities of a health technician depend on the place of employment.

To be able to perform all the above tasks, health technicians need a variety of skills, including the ability to follow strict sanitation and safety procedures, dexterity, compassion, and physical strength.

This profession can be stressful but also personally rewarding because you get to care for people and help them feel better.

QuestionHow much does a health technician make?

The answer to the above question depends on the technician’s education and experience but also on the place of employment and their specialty.

For example, the median annual wage for psychiatric technicians was $32,870 as of May 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a health technician?

Most health technicians hold an associate’s degree or a certificate in nursing or a related healthcare field.

Often they also have experience as nursing assistants or practical nurses.

Costs for post-secondary programs in healthcare vary widely based on the school and program itself.

For example, programs for licensed practical nurses cost, on average, between $10,000-$15,000.

QuestionWhat is the demand for health technicians?

The demand for health technicians varies depending on the region and the specialty.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for nursing assistants is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028.

This growth is explained in part by the fact that more health technicians will be needed to assist healthcare professionals in hospitals and clinics.

Healthcare technicians will also be needed in long-term care facilities to care for older people.

Because this job is emotionally and physically challenging, many workers leave the occupation each year and this creates employment opportunities for job seekers.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a health technician?

The answer to this question depends on the educational path you want to pursue.

You can become a health technician by finishing a training program for certified nursing assistants (CNA) or you can study to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN).

CNA courses typically last between 4 and 12 weeks, depending on the school and the program.

LPN programs take usually around 12 months to complete.

If you want to work with psychiatry patients you can choose to enroll at an associate’s program in psychiatric or mental health technology.

Associates degree programs can typically be completed in around 1-2 years.

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