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Become A Licensed Psychiatric Technician

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Working As A Licensed Psychiatric 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

  • $28,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Licensed Psychiatric 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 Licensed Psychiatric 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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Licensed Psychiatric Technician Career Paths

Licensed Psychiatric Technician
Psychiatric Technician Registered Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Psychiatric Technician Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Registered Nurse Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Psychiatric Technician Registered Nurse Consultant Nurse
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Worker Social Worker Team Leader
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Worker Social Worker Therapist
Lead Therapist
5 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Worker Therapist Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Clinic Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager
Registered Nurse Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Team Leader Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Clinic Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Clinical Coordinator Clinical Manager
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Administrator Nurse Manager
Managed Care Director
9 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Executive Assistant Assistant Property Manager
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Administrator Business Office Manager
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Technician Clinician Residential Supervisor
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Technician Clinician House Manager
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Technician Therapist Clinical Social Worker
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Counselor Social Worker Psychotherapist
Health Unit Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Psychiatric Aide 3.5 years
Health Technician 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Licensed Psychiatric Technician
Instructor 4.0%
Cashier 3.6%
Internship 3.2%
Counselor 2.8%
Director 2.0%
Top Careers After Licensed Psychiatric Technician
Counselor 3.9%
Nurse 3.6%
Manager 2.9%
Aide 2.9%
Job Coach 2.6%

Do you work as a Licensed Psychiatric Technician?

Licensed Psychiatric Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

63.1%

Male

23.5%

Unknown

13.4%
Ethnicity

White

50.4%

Hispanic or Latino

30.3%

Asian

7.9%

Black or African American

7.0%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

70.6%

French

11.8%

Tagalog

11.8%

German

5.9%
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Licensed Psychiatric Technician Education

Schools

Mt San Antonio College

15.8%

Cypress College

10.9%

University of Phoenix

9.7%

Cuesta College

7.9%

Pueblo Community College

6.7%

Porterville College

6.1%

West Hills College - Coalinga

6.1%

San Bernardino Valley College

6.1%

Napa Valley College

4.2%

San Joaquin Delta College

4.2%

San Antonio College

3.0%

California State University - Long Beach

3.0%

Arapahoe Community College

2.4%

Colorado Mesa University

2.4%

Santa Rosa Junior College

2.4%

Chaffey College

1.8%

Mission College

1.8%

Front Range Community College

1.8%

University of California - Davis

1.8%

Golden West College

1.8%
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Majors

Mental Health Counseling

24.2%

Nursing

22.0%

Psychology

14.0%

Business

6.4%

Health Care Administration

5.1%

Social Work

4.2%

Medical Assisting Services

2.5%

Sociology

2.1%

Counseling Psychology

2.1%

General Studies

2.1%

Criminal Justice

2.1%

Liberal Arts

2.1%

School Counseling

1.7%

Clinical Psychology

1.7%

Nursing Assistants

1.3%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

1.3%

Health And Wellness

1.3%

Human Services

1.3%

Behavioral Sciences

1.3%

History

1.3%
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Degrees

Other

28.6%

Associate

19.0%

Bachelors

17.3%

Certificate

16.3%

Masters

11.6%

License

5.8%

Doctorate

1.0%

Diploma

0.3%
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Top Skills for A Licensed Psychiatric Technician

  1. General Behavioral
  2. Crisis Intervention
  3. Mental Health
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Give basic level of general behavioral and psychiatric nursing care to mentally or developmentally disabled inmates/patients.
  • Responded to emergency medical situations and facilitated crisis intervention during normal and after business hours as a LPS designated employee.
  • Obtained responses for Mental Health Questionnaire from newly admitted inmates/patients to the Administrative Segregation Unit.
  • Provided a high level of patient care and ensured that patients were comfortable at all times.
  • Lead group therapy sessions to observe and interact with patients.

How Would You Rate Working As a Licensed Psychiatric Technician?

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Top Licensed Psychiatric Technician Employers

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Jobs From Top Licensed Psychiatric Technician Employers

Licensed Psychiatric Technician Videos

Psychiatric Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

Psychiatric Technician.mov

The Life of a Psychiatric Technician

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