Mental health technician– The mental health technician, also known as a psychiatric technician, is a key member of a mental treatment team. They work directly with patients with mental illnesses or disabilities and can be referred to as psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, and physicians.
There are many levels of certification available, from people with a high school diploma to those who have a bachelor’s plus work experience. Your goals and skill level will determine the ideal place for you on a treatment team.
Understanding the role of a mental health tech
A mental health tech can be a part of a treatment plan if you or someone you care about is struggling with a mental illness. There are many settings where mental health technicians can be found, including long-term care facilities and outpatient mental health facilities.
The responsibilities of mental health techs include:
- New patients will need to fill out admission forms
- Therapeutic or recreational activities
- Prescribed medication administration
- Examining vital signs and patterns of behavior
- Being available to patients who have a need for communication
Mental health techs can be used in many ways. Instead, the tech’s approach to patients reflects the culture of the facility where they work.
Train to be a Mental Health Tech
Some jurisdictions do not require any additional education for mental health technicians beyond a high school diploma. Employers have traditionally provided on-the-job training and classroom instruction to help develop these skills. This is slowly changing. Employers now require college coursework for social work or psychology. A few even require a bachelor’s degree.
There are four levels of certification for mental health techs, according to the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians:1
- Niveau 1:A high school diploma or GED is required
- Level 2:At least 480 hours in any type of college or university course, and at least one year of work in the field
- Level 3:Minimum of 960 hours in any type of college or university course, and at least two years of work in the field.
- Niveau 4:A bachelor’s degree in a field related to developmental disabilities or mental health, and at least three years of work in this field
The entry-level job of mental health tech is not suited for those who want to specialize. Techs prefer to work in the areas that are most suitable for them, such as halfway houses or clinics. Techs might also be able to work in chemical dependency or schools for people who have developmental disabilities. You can learn from different types of jobs and help you get a better understanding of the requirements for further education.
No matter what certifications you have, it is essential to have excellent interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills. Mental health techs need to be adaptable, flexible, and quick thinkers. Given the nature of your job and the people, you will be working with daily, patience, compassion, as well as good listening skills are essential.
Find a job as a mental health techne
There are more job opportunities for mental health technicians. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were more than 82,800 psychiatric technicians in 2019, and the number of jobs is expected to grow 13%–considered much faster than average–by 2029.2
The median annual wage for mental health techs was $35,030 in 2020. The lowest 10% earned less than $24,960, while the highest earners took home more than $59,000. Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals paid the best, followed by state governments and residential facilities.2
Mental Health Technician vs. Mental Health Technician vs.
Although the names of the two jobs may be similar, they often work in the same places. A mental health aide assists with daily tasks such as transportation, personal hygiene, bathing, and meal preparation. Aides typically require no more than a high school diploma or GED for the job, earning a median wage of $31,570.2
You can choose to be a technician or an aide. However, many of these jobs are found in hospitals and 24-hour facilities. This could mean that you will need to work weekends, nights, and holidays.