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Become A Mental Health Technician

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Working As A Mental Health 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 Mental Health 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 Mental Health 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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Mental Health Technician Career Paths

Mental Health Technician
Certified Nursing Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Registered Nurse Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Counselor Therapist Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Counselor Clinician Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Counselor Therapist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Clinic Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager
Registered Nurse Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Utilization Review Nurse Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Patient Care Technician Staff Nurse Team Leader
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Patient Care Technician Staff Nurse Clinical Coordinator
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Team Leader Unit Manager
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Technician Instructor Therapist
Lead Therapist
5 Yearsyrs
Technician Team Leader Assistant Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Clinician Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director
Managed Care Director
9 Yearsyrs
Unit Secretary Executive Assistant Assistant Property Manager
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Worker Residential Supervisor
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinician Office Manager House Manager
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Case Worker Case Planner Integrator
Health Unit Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Unit Secretary Patient Care Coordinator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Mental Health Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Psychiatric Aide 3.5 years
Mental Health Aide 3.0 years
Health Technician 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Mental Health Technician
Cashier 11.9%
Internship 7.9%
Volunteer 3.3%
Counselor 3.3%
Server 2.8%
Top Careers After Mental Health Technician
Case Manager 10.0%
Internship 6.5%
Counselor 5.2%
Cashier 4.5%
Therapist 3.9%
Supervisor 2.8%

Do you work as a Mental Health Technician?

Mental Health Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

58.0%

Male

30.7%

Unknown

11.3%
Ethnicity

White

63.7%

Black or African American

14.0%

Hispanic or Latino

13.1%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

71.0%

French

8.8%

German

3.3%

Tagalog

1.9%

Portuguese

1.7%

Russian

1.4%

Chinese

1.4%

Polish

1.2%

Swedish

1.0%

Hindi

1.0%

Korean

1.0%

Carrier

1.0%

Romanian

0.7%

Italian

0.7%

Mandarin

0.7%

Filipino

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Czech

0.7%

Japanese

0.7%

Vietnamese

0.5%
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Mental Health Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.5%

Liberty University

8.2%

Capella University

7.4%

Walden University

6.4%

Jackson State University

5.7%

Troy University

5.2%

Kaplan University

4.7%

Ashford University

4.7%

Grand Canyon University

4.2%

Hinds Community College

3.6%

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.6%

University of Central Florida

3.5%

University of South Florida

3.2%

Webster University

3.2%

Kankakee Community College

3.1%

Norfolk State University

3.0%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

2.9%

Indiana State University

2.8%

Temple University

2.6%
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Majors

Psychology

21.7%

Nursing

12.4%

Social Work

8.6%

Criminal Justice

8.4%

Business

7.1%

Mental Health Counseling

5.2%

Medical Assisting Services

5.0%

Human Services

4.3%

School Counseling

3.6%

Counseling Psychology

3.3%

Health Care Administration

3.3%

Nursing Assistants

2.9%

Sociology

2.6%

General Studies

2.3%

Education

2.0%

Medical Technician

1.7%

Clinical Psychology

1.6%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

Biology

1.3%

Rehabilitation Science

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

34.7%

Other

24.1%

Masters

20.2%

Associate

12.1%

Certificate

4.6%

Diploma

2.2%

Doctorate

1.2%

License

0.9%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$28,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$21,000
Min 10%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$36,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Watertown Regional Medical Center
Highest Paying City
North Las Vegas, NV
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Mental Health Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Mental Health Technician in the United States is $28,213 per year or $14 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $21,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $36,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Mental Health Technician?

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

Top Skills for A Mental Health Technician

  1. Patient Care
  2. Mental Health
  3. Behavioral Issues
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supervised patients undergoing in-patient care, documenting patient behavior and responses to treatment.
  • Provided direct care to adolescents in a mental health residential treatment facility.
  • Assisted mentally ill patients at psychiatric hospital, including co-facilitating group activities, redirecting behavioral issues, and providing emotional support
  • Assisted child and adolescent psychiatric in-patients using behavioral modification and crisis intervention techniques.
  • Executed individualized interventions by comparing to master behavior treatment plans resulting in appropriate patient discharge from facility.

How Would You Rate Working As a Mental Health Technician?

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

Top Mental Health Technician Employers

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Jobs From Top Mental Health Technician Employers

Mental Health Technician Videos

Mental Health Counselor, Career Video from drkit.org

Psychiatric Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

Psychiatric Technician.mov

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