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Working as a Psychiatric Technician

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.

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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Average Salary$37,118
Job Growth Rate12%

Psychiatric Technician Jobs

Psychiatric Technician Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Psychiatric Technician

Psychiatric Technicians in America make an average salary of $37,118 per year or $18 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $54,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $25,000 per year.
Average Salary
$37,118

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range44k - 70k$56k$55,890
Salary Range40k - 73k$55k$54,765
Salary Range48k - 59k$54k$53,805
Salary Range35k - 59k$46k$46,186
Salary Range33k - 59k$45k$44,857
Salary Range30k - 51k$40k$39,944
$21k
$73k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Psychiatric Technician
Psychiatric Technician
Merakey
Merakey
10/30/2020
10/30/2020
$25,04410/30/2020
$25,044
Psychiatric Technician
Psychiatric Technician
Novant Health
Novant Health
10/25/2020
10/25/2020
$35,16610/25/2020
$35,166
Psychiatric Technician (Safety)
Psychiatric Technician (Safety)
California Prison Health Care System
California Prison Health Care System
10/17/2020
10/17/2020
$66,03610/17/2020
$66,036
Psychiatric Technician (Safety)
Psychiatric Technician (Safety)
California Prison Health Care System
California Prison Health Care System
09/24/2020
09/24/2020
$66,03609/24/2020
$66,036
Psychiatric Technician I/II
Psychiatric Technician I/II
County of El Dorado
County of El Dorado
09/23/2020
09/23/2020
$44,45009/23/2020
$44,450
See More Recent Salaries

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Psychiatric Technician Demographics

Gender

female

58.0%

male

37.8%

unknown

4.2%

Ethnicity

White

62.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

12.5%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.7%

French

12.2%

Arabic

3.9%
See More Demographics

Psychiatric Technician Education

Majors

Nursing
12.9%

Degrees

Bachelors

41.8%

Masters

19.2%

Associate

15.0%

Top Colleges for Psychiatric Technicians

1. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Tuition and fees
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

2. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA

Tuition and fees
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

3. Hunter College of the City University of New York

New York, NY

Tuition and fees
$7,182
Enrollment
16,205

4. New York University

New York, NY

Tuition and fees
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

5. Duke University

Durham, NC

Tuition and fees
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

6. University of Holy Cross

New Orleans, LA

Tuition and fees
$14,180
Enrollment
863

7. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

8. San Jose State University

San Jose, CA

Tuition and fees
$7,796
Enrollment
27,125

9. Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT

Tuition and fees
$48,350
Enrollment
4,103

10. Coppin State University

Baltimore, MD

Tuition and fees
$8,873
Enrollment
2,326
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Psychiatric Technician

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Part Time
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Top Skills For a Psychiatric Technician

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, 12.8% of psychiatric technicians listed patient care on their resume, but soft skills such as physical stamina and observational skills are important as well.

Best States For a Psychiatric Technician

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a psychiatric technician. The best states for people in this position are Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Psychiatric technicians make the most in Rhode Island with an average salary of $55,262. Whereas in Massachusetts and Connecticut, they would average $54,722 and $54,624, respectively. While psychiatric technicians would only make an average of $53,503 in New Hampshire, 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. Hawaii

Total Psychiatric Technician Jobs:
51
Highest 10% Earn:
$67,000
Location Quotient:
1.27
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. Connecticut

Total Psychiatric Technician Jobs:
183
Highest 10% Earn:
$93,000
Location Quotient:
0.97
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. Maine

Total Psychiatric Technician Jobs:
95
Highest 10% Earn:
$69,000
Location Quotient:
1.61
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
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Psychiatric Technician Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a psychiatric technician. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless psychiatric technician resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Psychiatric Technician Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless psychiatric technician resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

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Top Psychiatric Technician Employers

1. U.S. Navy
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$53,690
Psychiatric Technicians Hired: 
53+
2. NHS Human Services
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$33,658
Psychiatric Technicians Hired: 
49+
3. IntraCare North Hospital
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$44,865
Psychiatric Technicians Hired: 
45+
4. Mountain View Hospital
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$49,327
Psychiatric Technicians Hired: 
41+
5. Montgomery County
3.6
Avg. Salary: 
$37,190
Psychiatric Technicians Hired: 
39+
6. State Hospital
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$45,246
Psychiatric Technicians Hired: 
37+

Psychiatric Technician Videos

Recently Added Psychiatric Technician Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020