Health Professions Readiness

Are you interested in building a solid base for a future health care career? Do you want to prepare for applying to an allied health program? Would you like to learn the basic health care skills to become a Patient Care Technician? 

Health Professions Readiness (HPR) courses prepare you for a rewarding health care career with the basic skills you'll need for other allied health care programs, plus the skills necessary to become a patient care technician along with successful completion of the national exam. 

Preparation for Other Allied Health Programs

If you are applying to an allied health or Nursing program at El Centro, admissions points are awarded for HPR courses. That gives you more points for application plus a head start on the basic skills needed for your chosen program.

Completing the two HPR awards also counts as one of three eligibility categories to apply to these El Centro College allied health programs: 

  • Cardiac Sonography
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Cardiovascular Technology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Radiologic Sciences
  • Respiratory Care Program
  • Surgical Technologist  

The other two eligibility categories to apply to these specified allied health programs are: 

  • Documentation of a minimum of two years employment within the last five years as a health care worker in specified health care professions with direct patient care experience. 
  • Documentation of a current credential in specified health care professions. 

Note: this is a general summary only. See complete eligibility guidelines for specified allied health care programs at El Centro College.  

Health Professions Readiness courses are listed under HPRS in the online catalog. For more information on Health Professions Readiness awards, download the HPR information packet.  

See information packets for all El Centro College allied health programs, which include specific information on qualifications, application process and deadlines.  

Health Professions Readiness At-A-Glance


What Can I Earn?

These rates are entry hourly wages for the following Health Professions Readiness jobs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Please review current job openings and contact your advisor to review your options.

All data gathered for Dallas/Fort Worth.
Source: DCCCD Labor Market Intelligence

Patient Care Technician Certification

The skills taught in the HPR program are recognized as entry-level patient care skills by many hospitals and clinics. Completing the two HPR awards and passing the national credentialing exam qualifies you to become a patient care technician — an entry-level health care position requiring basic patient care skills that's also an excellent base for future medical fields. Each award can be completed in one semester and consists of three courses. 

Successful completion of El Centro’s Patient Care Technician courses qualifies you to sit for the National Healthcareer Association CPCT Assistant exam. The NHA is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

What Does a Patient Care Technician Do?

Patient care technicians (PCTs) work alongside doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to provide direct patient care in a variety of health care settings. PCTs help patients with tasks they may not be able to do for themselves, such as eating, getting out of bed and personal hygiene. They also check vital signs, assist in medical exams, perform basic lab procedures, assist patients with daily activities and perform EKGs and phlebotomy (drawing blood).  

Becoming a patient care technician prepares you for entry-level health care such as home health aide or Certified Nurse Aide. It's also an excellent foundation for medical careers such as nursing, radiologic sciences and imaging specialties.  

Where Do Patient Care Technicians Work?

Patient care technicians work under the supervision of doctors or nurses in:

  • Hospitals and clinic
  • Doctors' offices
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Assisted living and long-term care facilities
  • Home health care 

Why Is This a Good Career Bet?


Health-related occupations will add the most new jobs to the U.S. economy through 2024 — nearly a third of all jobs — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fourteen of the top 20 fastest-growing careers are in health care occupations, according to CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Medical professionals increasingly rely on health care support staff so they can treat more patients, depending on positions such as home health aides, certified nurse aides and patient care technicians.

CareerOneStop lists projected job growth for nursing assistants (with essentially the same job skills as a patient care technician) as increasing by 26%. 

Awards in Health Professions Readiness

El Centro College 

The college awards a diploma upon completion of this whole program, which includes: 

Patient Care Technician Certification

Earning the HPR II award prepares you for successful completion of the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) Certified Patient Care Technician/Assistant exam (CPCT/A). The NHA is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.  

HB 1508 Notice

This program may lead to an occupational license for which a prior criminal history may make a student ineligible. For more information please visit