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Become A Health Care Technician

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Working As A Health Care 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 Health Care 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 Health Care 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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Health Care Technician Jobs

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Health Care Technician Career Paths

Health Care Technician
Technician Specialist
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Technician Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Manager Office Manager
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Technician Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Project Manager Program Manager
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Teacher Assistant Lead Teacher Assistant Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Nurse Staff Nurse
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Technician Service Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Correction Officer Technician Service Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Correction Officer Case Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Systems Administrator Quality Assurance Engineer
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Unit Secretary Office Manager General Manager
Regional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Registered Nurse Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Technician Service Manager
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Unit Secretary Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Teacher Assistant Home Health Aid Warehouse Associate
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Health Care Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Health Technician 2.7 years
Technician 2.6 years
Therapy Technician 2.2 years
Care Associate 2.2 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 9.9%
Internship 5.5%
Supervisor 3.3%
Technician 2.8%
Volunteer 2.5%
Top Employers After
Cashier 3.7%
Volunteer 3.0%
Supervisor 3.0%
Technician 3.0%
Owner 2.7%
Teller 2.7%

Do you work as a Health Care Technician?

Health Care Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

62.7%

Male

35.4%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

63.3%

Black or African American

14.3%

Hispanic or Latino

12.6%

Asian

6.4%

Unknown

3.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.6%

German

11.1%

Yoruba

11.1%

Serbian

11.1%

Armenian

11.1%
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Health Care Technician Education

Schools

Vance-Granville Community College

19.2%

University of Phoenix

7.5%

Wayne Community College

7.5%

Liberty University

5.8%

Wake Technical Community College

5.8%

Grand Canyon University

5.8%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

5.0%

Wilson Technical Community College

5.0%

Western Piedmont Community College

4.2%

Capella University

4.2%

ECPI University

3.3%

Parkland College

3.3%

North Carolina Wesleyan College

3.3%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

3.3%

Shaw University

3.3%

Fayetteville State University

3.3%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2.5%

Miller-Motte College-Wilmington

2.5%

Georgia Southern University

2.5%

Gaston College

2.5%
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Majors

Nursing

14.4%

Business

10.9%

Health Care Administration

10.0%

Medical Assisting Services

9.1%

Criminal Justice

7.5%

Psychology

7.5%

Nursing Assistants

6.9%

Social Work

4.1%

Medical Technician

4.1%

Education

3.4%

Forestry

3.1%

General Studies

2.5%

Biology

2.5%

Environmental Science

2.5%

Plant Sciences

2.2%

Pharmacy

2.2%

Human Services

2.2%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

1.9%

Public Health

1.6%

Kinesiology

1.6%
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Degrees

Other

32.9%

Bachelors

29.8%

Associate

16.2%

Masters

8.2%

Certificate

7.0%

Diploma

3.4%

Doctorate

1.7%

License

0.8%
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Top Skills for A Health Care Technician

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  1. Health Care
  2. Independent Living
  3. Behavioral Issues
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supervised Behavioral Health Care Technician and provided feedback on their performance.
  • Helped clients with daily independent living skills and helped to open and maintain an Adult Living Skills Program.
  • Maintain secured and safety environment for patients and co-worker.
  • Administer oral medications or hypodermic injections, following physician's prescriptions and hospital procedures.
  • Provided quality care and assistance to residents with behavioral issues while maintaining a cheerful disposition.

How Would You Rate Working As a Health Care Technician?

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