BRIGHTON, Colo. (KDVR) — Brighton High School is now the first in the state to have students earn their national certification as patient care technicians. 

Students in the PCT program learn to do many of the same things that certified nursing assistants do, plus other things like drawing blood and administering EKGs.

“It’s been really fun and taught me a lot. I have a paid internship,” said Natalie Cherino, who passed the certification exam. “I definitely want to get a job in PCT while I’m going to school,” she said.

Nathan Johnson also got his certification.

“It’s a lot of hands-on work,” he said. He hopes this process will help move him along his career path. “I want to be a physical therapist,” he said.

Their teacher, Paula Zagel, said the certification can mean different things to different kids.

“For some, it’s kind of a stepping stone, others will get employment through this certification as soon as they graduate,” she said.

Zagel said PCT jobs can pay more than CNA jobs, possibly $24 to $28 an hour.

Assistant Principal Jennifer Minor said the 27J School District will even pay for the students’ certification exams.

“We want them to have that chance and that opportunity to take those exams and get those industry certifications. That’s going to help them be employable,” Minor said.

The school is constructing a new STEM and career center that will provide much more space for programs like this.