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Become A Behavioral Technician

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Working As A Behavioral 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

  • $32,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Behavioral 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 Behavioral 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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Average Length of Employment
Health Technician 2.8 years
Behavioral Analyst 1.8 years
Behavior Therapist 1.7 years
ABA Therapist 1.5 years
Top Careers Before Behavioral Technician
Internship 10.8%
Cashier 9.1%
Volunteer 7.3%
Server 4.9%
Tutor 3.8%
Counselor 3.5%
Teacher 3.3%
Assistant 3.0%
Nanny 2.7%
Top Careers After Behavioral Technician
Internship 7.9%
Counselor 5.8%
Cashier 5.7%
Volunteer 5.4%
Supervisor 3.8%
Teacher 3.8%

Do you work as a Behavioral Technician?

Behavioral Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

60.3%

Male

28.3%

Unknown

11.4%
Ethnicity

White

62.0%

Hispanic or Latino

16.9%

Black or African American

10.7%

Asian

6.8%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.8%

French

7.9%

Italian

4.5%

Mandarin

3.4%

Portuguese

2.2%

German

2.2%

Cantonese

2.2%

Japanese

2.2%

Swedish

1.1%

Hebrew

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Chinese

1.1%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Romanian

1.1%

Greek

1.1%

Catalan

1.1%

Tagalog

1.1%

Russian

1.1%

Arabic

1.1%

Korean

1.1%
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Behavioral Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

11.0%

Missouri State University

10.0%

Capella University

8.5%

Western Michigan University

7.2%

Ozarks Technical Community College

5.3%

Liberty University

5.0%

Arizona State University

4.8%

University of Central Florida

4.8%

Walden University

4.5%

University of North Carolina at Wilmington

4.5%

Michigan State University

4.3%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

4.3%

California State University - Sacramento

3.8%

Nova Southeastern University

3.5%

Grand Canyon University

3.5%

University of South Florida

3.3%

National University

3.0%

Wayne State University

3.0%

California State University - Northridge

3.0%

Cape Fear Community College

3.0%
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Majors

Psychology

32.0%

Social Work

7.0%

Criminal Justice

6.9%

Business

5.6%

Counseling Psychology

5.5%

Human Services

5.1%

Nursing

5.0%

Mental Health Counseling

4.7%

Sociology

4.3%

School Counseling

3.0%

Education

2.9%

Medical Assisting Services

2.7%

Special Education

2.6%

Human Development

2.4%

Liberal Arts

2.0%

Kinesiology

1.9%

Health Care Administration

1.8%

Biology

1.7%

General Studies

1.5%

Elementary Education

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.7%

Masters

21.6%

Other

18.6%

Associate

8.8%

Certificate

2.8%

Diploma

1.1%

Doctorate

1.0%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$32,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$21,000
Min 10%
$32,000
Median 50%
$32,000
Median 50%
$32,000
Median 50%
$32,000
Median 50%
$32,000
Median 50%
$32,000
Median 50%
$32,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
SSM Health Care of Wisconsin
Highest Paying City
Alameda, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
1.7 years
How much does a Behavioral Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Behavioral Technician in the United States is $32,254 per year or $16 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $21,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $48,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Behavioral Technician?

Have you worked as a Behavioral Technician? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Behavioral Technician.

Top Skills for A Behavioral Technician

  1. Behavioral Issues
  2. ABA
  3. Crisis Intervention
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided assistance to adolescents that have a variety of mental and behavioral issues in a residential independent living program.
  • Conducted programs and recorded data on client behaviors using Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy for children with autism.
  • Oversee unit with cameras while utilizing therapeutic communication and redirection techniques to deescalate potentially dangerous situations through Crisis Intervention.
  • School-based program, implemented individual treatment plans.
  • Apply therapy to increase language, communication skills, attention, focus, social skills, memory and academics.

What is it like to work as a Behavioral Technician

5.0

Behavioral Interventionist

May 15, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Behavioral Technician.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Behavioral Technician?

Working with children's development, building on common knowledge and skills The challenge it brings but knowing the outcome is what it's about... Show More

What do you NOT like?

There really is not anything that comes to mind... Show More

How Would You Rate Working As a Behavioral Technician?

Are you working as a Behavioral Technician? Help us rate Behavioral Technician as a Career.

Top Behavioral Technician Employers

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Jobs From Top Behavioral Technician Employers

Behavioral 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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