How To Become a Hospital Patient Transporter
Updated June 30, 2023
If you want to work within the medical industry, you can find job opportunities with minimal education requirements. Being a hospital patient transporter enables you to gain experience working within a hospital environment and interacting with patients. You can determine whether this role fits you by learning about its typical responsibilities and necessary skills.
In this article, we discuss what a dispatcher is and what they do, their average salary and the steps you can take to pursue this job.
Hospital patient transporters help facilitate medical care by moving patients between areas of the hospital according to treatment schedules and providers' requests.
Working as a transporter in a hospital is usually an entry-level role, and most employers require candidates to hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
Core skills for hospital patient transporters include physical stamina, safety and the ability to communicate with medical personnel, patients and families.
What is a hospital patient transporter?
A hospital patient transporter is responsible for moving patients from one area of hospitals to another, including from the hospital to a vehicle upon discharge. They perform this role using various transport medical devices, such as wheelchairs and stretchers. Hospital patient transporters work with medical staff to ensure patients' comfort and safety during these relocations. Some of their typical responsibilities include:
Assisting patients out of vehicles upon arrival at the hospital, such as cars, taxis, ambulances or helicopters.
Transporting patients throughout hospitals, including to and from treatment areas, operating rooms and patients' rooms.
Performing transportation activities on time, following any relevant procedure schedules.
Identifying patients before transporting them to their destination.
Maintaining transport medical equipment and preparing it for use.
Lifting and transferring patients from hospital beds to wheelchairs or other medical transport devices.
Transporting lab samples, equipment, mail and medical supplies throughout hospitals.
Providing comfort and support to patients and families.
Transporting deceased patients to the mortuary.
Following relevant hospital, local, state and federal standards and regulations.
Related: Transporter Resume Samples
How to become a hospital patient transporter
The role of a hospital patient transporter represents an entry-level job within the medical industry. If you are interested in working at hospitals and with patients, you can use the following steps to pursue this job:
1. Obtain a high school diploma
The minimum educational requirement for hospital patient transporter positions is to obtain a high school diploma. If you do not have a diploma, you can earn a GED. Obtaining your GED requires passing four exams on the subjects of mathematical reasoning, science, language arts and social students. Make sure that you read the job posting thoroughly to learn whether the employer lists any additional education or training requirements for candidates.
2. Obtain certifications
As mentioned, employers do not necessarily require hospital patient transporter applicants to have specific certifications. However, obtaining certifications may help differentiate you from other candidates. They demonstrate that you already have the relevant knowledge and skills needed to perform this job successfully.
Some employers seek candidates who have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or basic life support (BLS) certifications. Otherwise, they may ask employees to gain these certifications upon hiring. You can find CPR and BLS certification courses through organizations like the American Red Cross or American Heart Association. You may also consider becoming a Certified Healthcare Transporter from the National Association of Healthcare Transport Management. This certification can help ensure you understand the standard practices and procedures of this profession.
3. Develop your resume
When looking for hospital patient transporter jobs, you want to read the job description carefully to ensure you meet its requirements. If you have obtained relevant certifications, make sure to highlight them to help yourself stand apart as a candidate. Some employers also appreciate candidates with prior experience in customer service roles or medical settings. In your professional experience section, highlight any jobs you have had thus far that required communication and interpersonal skills. Tailoring your resume to the job requirements can help demonstrate that you understand the role's responsibilities and are ready to perform them.
4. Apply for full-time positions
Once you meet the requirements listed in a job posting, you can begin applying for full-time hospital patient transporter positions. Employers often hire individuals with little to no prior experience in this role or training. When you are a new hire, these employers typically provide you training over several months. This training teaches you about the hospital and transporting procedures, enabling you to perform your job successfully.
Average salary for hospital patient transporters
The average national salary for a patient transporter is $13.50 per hour. This salary can vary based on the hospital patient transporter's location or their place of employment. For example, some salaries range from $11.85 per hour to $23.53 per hour.
Skills needed for hospital patient transporters
Working as a hospital patient transporter requires a combination of hard and soft skills. Some of these necessary skills include:
Communication skills: Hospital patient transporters interact with a wide variety of people daily, including patients and medical staff members. They need to communicate messages clearly and concisely to keep both patients and medical staff informed. Patient transporters must also utilize listening skills to ensure they hear and understand patients' concerns or can follow instructions on where to transport patients and medical supplies or equipment around the hospital.
Interpersonal skills: When working closely with patients, hospital patient transporters need skills that create positive interactions and experiences. Empathy and patience represent two relevant interpersonal skills they must use. In their job, they often meet patients and families going through difficult or stressful situations. These skills help ensure that transporters take these individuals' needs and feelings into consideration. Demonstrating empathy and patience can help provide support and comfort to patients and their families.
Physical stamina: Hospital patient transporters spend much of their day standing or moving around hospital facilities. They must have the stamina to remain active or withstand such activity for long periods. Their role may also require them to lift patients or carry medical supplies and equipment, which means they also need the physical strength to perform such tasks. Some job postings specifically state how much weight candidates must be able to lift.
Organizational skills: Hospital patient transporters may have to perform multiple transportation activities throughout their workday, whether they move patients or medical supplies and samples. Having organizational skills helps them prioritize their various tasks and manage their time effectively. Being organized can also ensure that they deliver patients and supplies to their appropriate location and on time. Some transporters must fill out daily logs to document patients' or supplies' location, so organization and attention to detail can help them perform this task accurately.
Safety skills: Hospital patient transporters move patients or lab samples across the facilities and work alongside medical equipment and supplies. As a result, they must understand how to take the proper precautions and procedures to maintain patients' and medical staff members' safety. These professionals can often gain such knowledge or skills through on-the-job training or certification programs. One way they ensure safety is by obtaining CPR and BLS certifications to provide emergency care if needed.
Frequently asked questions
You can use the following frequently asked questions to gain additional insights into the role of a hospital patient transporter:
What is the work schedule like for hospital patient transporters?
The role of a hospital patient transporter is typically a full-time, hourly position. Hospitals are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which may require patient transporters to work various shifts to help support patients. As a result, individuals in this profession sometimes work shifts during nights, weekends and holidays.
Related: What Is Shift Work?
What is the work environment for hospital patient transporters?
Hospital patient transporters work in hospitals, which can be a high-pressure environment. These professionals may transport patients to and from emergency rooms and potentially follow strict schedules to ensure patients receive the care they need. This role can also be physically demanding because hospital patient transporters spend most of their workdays standing and walking while moving from area to area and transporting patients or supplies. The job may also require physical strength when lifting or otherwise assisting patients.
What is the job outlook for hospital patient transporters?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have a specific job outlook for hospital patient transporters, though it categorizes this role under "nursing assistants and orderlies." The BLS projects this category to grow 8% through 2029, faster than the national average 4% job growth rate for all occupations. A higher growth rate can demonstrate more job opportunities and potentially more stability for individuals who work in this profession.
Related: What Is an Orderly?
What advancement opportunities are available for hospital patient transporters?
A hospital patient transporter represents an entry-level medical industry job. These individuals can find numerous advancement opportunities, often by pursuing additional training or education. When working in hospitals, they may identify career paths that interest them and ask their colleagues or conduct research to learn the professional steps they must take.
For example, they may obtain certification to become nursing assistants or medical assistants. For further advancement, they may return to school to gain a degree to pursue a nursing career. Their time as patient transporters provides relevant experience working within hospitals and offering excellent service and care to patients.
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