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Become A Respiratory Technician

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Working As A Respiratory 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

  • $51,158

    Average Salary

What Does A Respiratory 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 Respiratory 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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Respiratory Technician Career Paths

Respiratory Technician
Staff Nurse Assistant Director Office Manager
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Nursing Director Branch Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Unit Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
9 Yearsyrs
Therapist PRN Registered Nurse Case Manager
Clinical Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Respiratory Therapist Respiratory Care Practitioner Clinical Instructor
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Respiratory Care Practitioner Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Nurse Manager
Emergency Services Director
10 Yearsyrs
Technician Driver Direct Support Professional
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Case Manager Therapist
Lead Therapist
5 Yearsyrs
Respiratory Therapist Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Respiratory Therapist Clinical Instructor Instructor
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Staff Respiratory Therapist Patient Care Manager Clinical Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Respiratory Care Practitioner Clinical Instructor Instructor
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Certified Respiratory Therapist Respiratory Therapist Specialist
Property Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Therapist Service Director Director Of Food And Beverage
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Technician Delivery Driver Direct Support Professional
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Staff Respiratory Therapist Staff Nurse
Service Director
10 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Instructor Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Technician Production Supervisor
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Home Health Aid Licensed Practical Nurse
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
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Respiratory Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

53.3%

Male

44.7%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

62.9%

Hispanic or Latino

16.9%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

5.6%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

73.7%

Portuguese

5.3%

French

5.3%

Dakota

5.3%

Arabic

5.3%

Italian

5.3%
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Respiratory Technician Education

Schools

Fresno City College

7.5%

Independence University

7.5%

Ferris State University

7.5%

College of DuPage

7.5%

Grand Canyon University

7.5%

South Plains College

5.7%

University of Phoenix

5.7%

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

5.7%

University of Alabama

3.8%

West Kentucky Community and Technical College

3.8%

University of Kentucky

3.8%

Northland Community and Technical College

3.8%

Michigan State University

3.8%

Community College of the Air Force

3.8%

Liberty University

3.8%

Pennsylvania State University

3.8%

Nassau Community College

3.8%

Missouri State University

3.8%

Siena Heights University

3.8%

University of South Alabama

3.8%
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Majors

Medical Technician

33.5%

Nursing

10.7%

Business

10.2%

Health Care Administration

5.1%

Medical Assisting Services

4.7%

Criminal Justice

4.7%

General Studies

3.7%

Education

3.7%

Management

3.3%

Psychology

2.8%

Nursing Assistants

2.3%

Medicine

2.3%

Military Applied Sciences

2.3%

Sociology

1.9%

Public Health

1.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.4%

Graphic Design

1.4%

Pharmacy

1.4%

Communication

1.4%

Biology

1.4%
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Degrees

Associate

29.1%

Other

27.5%

Bachelors

19.5%

Masters

9.9%

Certificate

8.3%

Diploma

3.0%

License

1.3%

Doctorate

1.3%
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Top Skills for A Respiratory Technician

  1. Oxygen Tanks
  2. Respiratory Care
  3. Respiratory Therapy Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Retrieved oxygen tanks from various departments (approximately sixty tanks daily).
  • Provide respiratory care involving the application of well-defined therapeutic techniques under the supervision of a respiratory therapist and a physician.
  • Provided maintenance for respiratory therapy equipment to ensure proper and safety function; ordered repairs as needed.
  • Perform EKG exams on patients per physician request, document completion of EKG exams, perform oxygen round checks.
  • Instructed, informed, and advised customers on the proper sizing and use of our durable medical equipment.

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