Average Salary
$33,489
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
12%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
26,423
Job Openings

Psychiatric Aide Careers

What Does a Psychiatric Aide 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.

How To Become a Psychiatric Aide

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 Salary
$33,489
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
12%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
26,423
Job Openings

Psychiatric Aide Career Paths

Top Careers Before Psychiatric Aide

Cashier
14.5 %

Top Careers After Psychiatric Aide

Psychiatric Aide Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for a Psychiatric Aide

Psychiatric Aides in America make an average salary of $33,489 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $42,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $26,000 per year.
Average Salary
$33,489
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Best Paying Cities For Psychiatric Aides

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Vancouver, WA
Salary Range25k - 34k$30k$29,661
Bossier City, LA
Salary Range20k - 32k$26k$25,863
$20k
$34k

Recently Added Salaries

CompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Psychiatric Aide Supervisor 1
State of Louisiana
08/05/2021
$31,07508/05/2021
Psychiatric Provider Aide (CNA)
Sea Mar Community Health Centers
07/14/2021
$36,91907/14/2021
Psychiatric Aide 1 or 2
State of Louisiana
07/03/2021
$33,88307/03/2021
Psychiatric Provider Aide (CNA)
Sea Mar Community Health Centers
06/27/2021
$36,91906/27/2021
Psychiatric Aide
Aspen Hills/Buttonwood
05/25/2021
$26,08805/25/2021
See More Recent Salaries

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Psychiatric Aide Demographics

Gender

female

60.3 %

male

34.9 %

unknown

4.8 %

Ethnicity

White

50.9 %

Black or African American

25.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

14.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.4 %

French

12.5 %

Thai

6.3 %
Show More Psychiatric Aide Demographics

Psychiatric Aide Education

Majors

Nursing
10.7 %

Degrees

Bachelors

44.3 %

Associate

19.2 %

High School Diploma

19.0 %
Show More Psychiatric Aide Education Requirements

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Top Skills For a Psychiatric Aide

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 18.2% of psychiatric aides listed crisis intervention on their resume, but soft skills such as observational skills and compassion are important as well.

Best States For a Psychiatric Aide

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a psychiatric aide. The best states for people in this position are Nevada, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Delaware. Psychiatric aides make the most in Nevada with an average salary of $38,200. Whereas in Rhode Island and Hawaii, they would average $38,190 and $35,323, respectively. While psychiatric aides would only make an average of $33,932 in Delaware, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Maine

Total Psychiatric Aide Jobs:
160
Highest 10% Earn:
$41,000
Location Quotient:
1.66
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Rhode Island

Total Psychiatric Aide Jobs:
86
Highest 10% Earn:
$55,000
Location Quotient:
0.98
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Delaware

Total Psychiatric Aide Jobs:
92
Highest 10% Earn:
$46,000
Location Quotient:
1.01
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Psychiatric Aides

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Top Psychiatric Aide Employers

1. Westmed Medical Group
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$31,275
Psychiatric Aides Hired: 
14+
2. Clarks Summit State Hospital
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$26,741
Psychiatric Aides Hired: 
9+
3. Torrance Memorial Medical Center
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$33,277
Psychiatric Aides Hired: 
8+
4. University of Missouri-Kansas City
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$28,980
Psychiatric Aides Hired: 
7+
5. Spectrum for Living
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$28,013
Psychiatric Aides Hired: 
5+
6. Brunswick
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$26,922
Psychiatric Aides Hired: 
5+

Psychiatric Aide Videos

Updated August 18, 2021