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Career profile Orderly

Also known as Attendant, Operating Room Assistant, Orderly, Patient Care Assistant (PCA), Patient Care Technician (PCT), Patient Escort, Patient Transporter, Radiology Transporter, Transporter


Also known as Attendant, Operating Room Assistant, Orderly

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Realistic
  • Social
Pay Range
$22,260 - $44,550 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Service Orientation
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Transportation
Core tasks
  • Lift or assist others to lift patients to move them on or off beds, examination tables, surgical tables, or stretchers.
  • Transport patients to treatment units, testing units, operating rooms, or other areas, using wheelchairs, stretchers, or moveable beds.
  • Disinfect or sterilize equipment or supplies, using germicides or sterilizing equipment.
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What does an Orderly do?

Orderlies transport patients to areas such as operating rooms or x-ray rooms using wheelchairs, stretchers, or moveable beds.

In addition, Orderlies

  • may maintain stocks of supplies or clean and transport equipment,
  • psychiatric orderlies are included in Psychiatric Aides.

What kind of tasks does an Orderly perform regularly?

Orderlies are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Lift or assist others to lift patients to move them on or off beds, examination tables, surgical tables, or stretchers.
  • Transport patients to treatment units, testing units, operating rooms, or other areas, using wheelchairs, stretchers, or moveable beds.
  • Disinfect or sterilize equipment or supplies, using germicides or sterilizing equipment.
  • Clean equipment, such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, or portable medical equipment, documenting needed repairs or maintenance.
  • Respond to emergency situations, such as emergency medical calls, security calls, or fire alarms.
  • Change soiled linens, such as bed linens, drapes, or cubicle curtains.
  • Carry messages or documents between departments.
  • Transport portable medical equipment or medical supplies between rooms or departments.

The above responsibilities are specific to Orderlies. More generally, Orderlies are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

What is an Orderly salary?

The median salary for an Orderly is $30,030, and the average salary is $31,780. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Orderly salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Orderlies earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Orderlies earn less than $22,260 per year, 25% earn less than $25,680, 75% earn less than $36,530, and 90% earn less than $44,550.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Orderlies is expected to change by 7.3%, and there should be roughly 5,800 open positions for Orderlies every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$22,260 - $44,550
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Orderlies?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Orderly are usually higher in their Conventional and Realistic interests.

Orderlies typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Orderlies typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Orderly tend to value Support, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Orderlies moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Orderlies moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Orderlies somewhat value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Orderlies must consistently demonstrate qualities such as concern for others, self-control, and stress tolerance.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Orderlies, ranked by importance:

Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

What education and training do Orderlies need?

Working as an Orderly usually requires a high school diploma.

Orderlies need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Orderlies

  • 5.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 30.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 34.0% completed some college coursework
  • 13.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 13.4% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 3.2% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Orderlies

Orderlies may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, public safety and security, or transportation knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Orderlies might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Important Abilities needed by Orderlies

Orderlies must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Orderlies need abilities such as oral comprehension, trunk strength, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Orderlies, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Trunk Strength
The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Static Strength
The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.

Critical Skills needed by Orderlies

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Orderlies frequently use skills like social perceptiveness, service orientation, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Orderlies, ranked by their relative importance.

Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.