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Become A Behavior Technician

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Working As A Behavior Technician

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $31,140

    Average Salary

What Does A Behavior Technician Do

Psychiatric technicians and aides care for people who have mental illness and developmental disabilities. Technicians typically provide therapeutic care and monitor their patients’ conditions. Aides help patients in their daily activities and ensure a safe, clean environment.

Duties

Psychiatric technicians, sometimes called mental health technicians, typically do the following:

  • Observe patients’ behavior, listen to their concerns, and record their condition
  • Lead patients in therapeutic and recreational activities
  • Give medications and other treatments to patients, following instructions from doctors and other medical professionals
  • Help with admitting and discharging patients
  • Monitor patients’ vital signs, such as their blood pressure
  • Help patients with activities of daily living, including eating and bathing
  • Restrain patients who may become physically violent

Psychiatric aides typically do the following:

  • Monitor patients’ behavior and location in a mental healthcare facility
  • Help patients with their daily living activities, such as bathing and dressing
  • Serve meals and help patients eat
  • Keep facilities clean by doing tasks such as changing bedlinens
  • Participate in group activities, such as playing sports and going on field trips
  • Help transport patients within a hospital or residential care facility
  • Restrain patients who may become physically violent

Many psychiatric technicians and aides work with patients who are severely developmentally disabled and need intensive care. Others work with patients undergoing rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction. The work of psychiatric technicians and aides varies with the types of patients they work with.

Psychiatric technicians and aides work as part of a medical team under the direction of physicians and with other team members, who may include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, counselors, and therapists. For more information on the counselors and therapists they may work with, see the profiles on substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists.

Because they have such close contact with patients, psychiatric technicians and aides can have a great deal of influence on patients’ outlook and treatment.

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How To Become A Behavior Technician

Psychiatric technicians typically need postsecondary education, and aides need at least a high school diploma. Both technicians and aides get on-the-job training.

Education

Psychiatric technicians typically have a postsecondary certificate. Often, they have experience as a nursing assistant or a licensed practical nurse and have completed postsecondary education in nursing.

Some psychiatric technicians also may have a postsecondary certificate or associate’s degree in psychiatric or mental health technology. These programs are offered by community colleges and technical schools and include courses in biology, psychology, and counseling. Psychiatric technician programs may include supervised work experience or cooperative programs, in which students gain academic credit for structured work experience.

Psychiatric aides typically need a high school diploma.

Training

Psychiatric technicians and aides usually have a short period of on-the-job training before they can work without direct supervision.

Training may include working with patients while under the close supervision of an experienced technician or aide. Technicians and aides also may attend workshops, lectures, or inservice training.

Work Experience

Psychiatric technicians typically need clinical experience, which can be gained by working in occupations such as nursing assistant or licensed practical nurse.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Because psychiatric technicians and aides spend much of their time interacting with patients, they should be caring and want to help people.

Interpersonal skills. Psychiatric technicians and aides often provide ongoing care for patients, so they should be able to develop a rapport with them. Gaining such rapport makes psychiatric technicians and aides better able to treat their patients and evaluate their condition.

Observational skills. Technicians must watch patients closely and be sensitive to any changes in behavior. For their safety and that of their patients, they must recognize signs of discomfort or trouble among patients.

Patience. Working with the mentally ill can be emotionally challenging. Psychiatric technicians and aides must be able to stay calm in stressful situations.

Physical stamina. Psychiatric technicians and aides must be able to lift, move, and sometimes restrain patients. They must also be able to spend much of their time on their feet.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states do not license psychiatric technicians. California is one of the larger states that does. For those states which license them, technicians usually are required to complete an accredited education program, pass an exam, and pay a fee to be licensed.

Psychiatric aides are not required to be licensed.

The American Association of Psychiatric Technicians offers four levels of certification for psychiatric technicians. The certifications allow technicians to show a high level of professional competency. Requirements vary by certification.

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Behavior Technician jobs

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Behavior Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

75.4%

Male

22.8%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

77.1%

Hispanic or Latino

13.6%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.6%

French

8.1%

Vietnamese

5.1%

Arabic

3.0%

Korean

3.0%

Chinese

2.0%

German

2.0%

Japanese

2.0%

Hindi

2.0%

Tagalog

2.0%

Italian

2.0%

Swedish

1.0%

Portuguese

1.0%

Albanian

1.0%

Russian

1.0%

Cantonese

1.0%

Mandarin

1.0%

Polish

1.0%
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Behavior Technician Education

Schools

Ball State University

10.3%

University of Phoenix

9.7%

Capella University

8.5%

Liberty University

6.0%

Kaplan University

6.0%

Arizona State University

5.1%

Michigan State University

4.5%

University of West Florida

4.5%

Oakland University

4.5%

University of Central Florida

3.9%

Chicago School of Professional Psychology

3.9%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.9%

Western Michigan University

3.9%

Grand Canyon University

3.9%

Ashford University

3.6%

George Mason University

3.6%

Florida Institute of Technology-Melbourne

3.6%

Florida International University

3.6%

California State University - Sacramento

3.3%

Eastern Michigan University

3.3%
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Majors

Psychology

34.5%

Counseling Psychology

10.6%

Social Work

7.7%

Special Education

6.1%

Criminal Justice

4.2%

Business

4.1%

Education

3.8%

Sociology

3.8%

Human Services

3.2%

Mental Health Counseling

3.2%

Human Development

2.7%

School Counseling

2.5%

Elementary Education

2.4%

Nursing

1.9%

Behavioral Sciences

1.8%

Communication Disorders Sciences

1.8%

Early Childhood Education

1.6%

Kinesiology

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.3%

General Studies

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.2%

Masters

28.5%

Other

13.6%

Associate

6.3%

Certificate

2.8%

Doctorate

1.2%

Diploma

0.2%

License

0.1%
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Real Behavior Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Behavior Technician (Foreign Language Speaker) Autism Care West LLC Las Vegas, NV Dec 01, 2016 $53,323
Behavior Technician The Magnolia School LLC DBA The Magnolia School Austin, TX Sep 15, 2016 $44,000
Registered Behavior Technician MATL BCBA LLC San Diego, CA Jan 02, 2016 $41,740
Behavior Technician South Sound Behavior Therapy Lacey, WA Apr 25, 2016 $37,566
Recreational/Behavior Technician Alaska Island Community Services Wrangell, AK Jan 15, 2011 $34,362 -
$35,000
Recreational/Behavior Technician Alaska Island Community Services Wrangell, AK Jan 15, 2011 $30,000 -
$35,000
Registered Behavior Technician Total Spectrum LLC Elmhurst, IL Nov 15, 2015 $29,740 -
$41,740
Registered Behavior Technician Total Spectrum LLC Elmhurst, IL Nov 15, 2015 $29,218 -
$41,740

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Top Skills for A Behavior Technician

ABATherapyBehaviorAnalysisAutismSpectrumDisorderBcbaSocialSkillsIndividualTreatmentPlansDailyLivingDataCollectionCrisisInterventionDiscreteTrialTrainingBehaviorDataDevelopmentalDisabilitiesCommunicationSkillsBehavioralSkillAcquisitionLifeSkillsNaturalEnvironmentTrainingBehaviorTherapyAutisticChildrenBehaviorInterventionPlansBehaviorReductionProtocols

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Top Behavior Technician Skills

  1. ABA Therapy
  2. Behavior Analysis
  3. Autism Spectrum Disorder
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide ABA Therapy for children who have been diagnosed with Autism in their homes and their schools.
  • Provide 1:1 applied behavior analysis in home and school settings.
  • Provided Autism Waiver related services to children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder ranging from the ages of 9-13.
  • Work in conjunction with BCBA classroom supervisor to ensure quality standards and performance.
  • Provide mentoring and academic instruction which include social skills, reading, math, and vocational skills.

Top Behavior Technician Employers

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Behavior Technician Videos

Psychiatric Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

Career Advice on becoming a Laboratory Technician by Katherine G (Full Version)

The Life of a Psychiatric Technician

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