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Become A Psychiatric Technician

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Working As A 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 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 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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Psychiatric Technician Career Paths

Psychiatric Technician
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Registered Nurse Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse 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 Team Leader Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Utilization Review Nurse Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Team Leader Program Director
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Therapist Supervisor
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Therapist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Senior Technician Specialist Nursing Director
Managed Care Director
9 Yearsyrs
Technician Team Leader Unit Manager
Registered Nurse Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Foreman Superintendent
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinician Clinical Supervisor Clinical Manager
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Clinician Clinical Coordinator Clinic Registered Nurse
Nurse Case Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Counselor Clinical Coordinator Clinic Registered Nurse
Senior Registered Nurse
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Lead Teacher House Manager
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Support Coordinator Residential Supervisor
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Psychiatric Technician?

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 Psychiatric Technician
Cashier 8.6%
Internship 8.5%
Volunteer 4.6%
Counselor 3.3%
Server 3.1%
Teacher 2.8%
Top Careers After Psychiatric Technician
Case Manager 11.1%
Internship 7.1%
Counselor 6.4%
Therapist 4.7%
Supervisor 3.4%
Technician 3.4%
Clinician 3.3%
Cashier 3.1%

Do you work as a Psychiatric Technician?

Psychiatric Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

54.9%

Male

35.2%

Unknown

9.9%
Ethnicity

White

64.3%

Hispanic or Latino

14.0%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.7%

French

12.2%

Arabic

3.9%

Hindi

2.8%

German

2.8%

Russian

2.2%

Chinese

1.7%

Telugu

1.1%

Somali

1.1%

Mandarin

1.1%

Korean

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Thai

1.1%

Italian

1.1%

Japanese

1.1%

Dakota

1.1%

Polish

1.1%

Dutch

0.6%

Hmong

0.6%

Blackfoot

0.6%
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Psychiatric Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.3%

University of Utah

11.2%

Utah Valley University

7.4%

Capella University

7.2%

Mt San Antonio College

6.3%

Walden University

5.9%

University of Maine

4.2%

Cuesta College

4.2%

Temple University

3.9%

Liberty University

3.9%

Houston Community College

3.4%

San Bernardino Valley College

3.3%

Ashford University

3.3%

Brigham Young University

3.1%

Pennsylvania State University

3.1%

University of Houston

2.9%

Grand Canyon University

2.9%

Boise State University

2.9%

Kaplan University

2.8%

Purdue University

2.8%
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Majors

Psychology

24.7%

Nursing

14.0%

Social Work

8.0%

Mental Health Counseling

7.7%

Business

5.9%

Criminal Justice

5.4%

Counseling Psychology

4.5%

Human Services

3.9%

Medical Assisting Services

3.4%

School Counseling

3.2%

Clinical Psychology

3.0%

Health Care Administration

2.4%

General Studies

2.1%

Education

2.1%

Nursing Assistants

2.0%

Sociology

1.9%

Liberal Arts

1.5%

Medical Technician

1.5%

Biology

1.5%

Management

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

33.9%

Masters

23.6%

Other

21.3%

Associate

11.4%

Certificate

5.1%

Doctorate

1.9%

Diploma

1.8%

License

1.0%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$28,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$22,000
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%
$35,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Baptist Health Care
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Psychiatric Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Psychiatric Technician in the United States is $28,200 per year or $14 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $22,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $35,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Psychiatric Technician?

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

Top Skills for A Psychiatric Technician

  1. Patient Care
  2. Crisis Intervention
  3. Treatment Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided quality patient care in psychiatric areas by facilitating and monitoring educational, recreational, and unit activities.
  • Group and individualized therapeutic communication, crisis intervention, charting patient information, basic nurse support, assisting patients
  • Assisted in the development of behavioral management including the delivery of treatment plans and participation in diversified patient care.
  • Provide individualized psychiatric inpatient care to children/adolescents, and adults in acute mental health crisis.
  • Monitored vital signs and checked that monitoring equipment were functioning correctly.

How Would You Rate Working As a Psychiatric Technician?

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

Top Psychiatric Technician Employers

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Jobs From Top Psychiatric Technician Employers

Psychiatric Technician Videos

Psychiatric Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

Psychiatric Technician.mov

The Life of a Psychiatric Technician

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