Psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $30,050
- 2012, number of jobs: 67,760
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 15 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Post-secondary education or high school diploma
Psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides; what they do:
Psychiatric technician and psychiatric aide positions are rewarding jobs for people who has an interest in psychology, enjoys assisting and caring for others and knows how to deal with complex situations through conflict-resolution.
Psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides work with a medical team to help patients who have mental or emotional conditions and developmental disabilities. The two professions are similar, however, technicians encourage patients to develop skills and offer recreational and therapeutic care, while aides assist patients in day-to-day activities and ensure a safe, healthy environment.
Both occupations work very closely with a mental health medical team and because they have such close contact with patients, they can play a pivotal role in their overall health and outlook.
A typical day for a psychiatric technician includes assisting patients with daily living activities, observing, listening and recording patients’ behavior, dispensing medication and following important directions from doctors and other healthcare workers.
Psychiatric technicians admit and discharge patients, physically restrain patients who may harm themselves or others, and carry out therapeutic and recreational activities.
Psychiatric aides do many of the same duties; however they also clean bed linens and other equipment, transport patients to and from different areas of a hospital or residential care center, and generally perform more maintenance work to ensure a safe and clean environment.
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Psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides job titles:
- Health Care Technician,
- Mental Health Assistant
- Licensed Psychiatric Technician
- Mental Health Worker
- Behavioral Health Technician
- Mental Health Associate
- Patient Care Specialist
- Support Team Member
- Mental Health Technician
Psychiatric Technicians and Psychiatric Aides Education, Certification and License Requirements
Psychiatric technicians need an associate’s degree or certificate from a community college or technical school. Many institutions offer work experience. Certificate and Associate degree programs can last from one semester to up to two years.
A psychiatric aide needs at least a high school diploma to attain employment. Psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides gain hands-on training prior to starting a position with little or no supervision.
Psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides programs cover subjects such as:
- Developmental disorders
- Mental disorders
- Nursing science
- Patient education
Psychiatric Technicians and Psychiatric Aides Job Outlook
Forecast: 15 percent employment growth for both psychiatric technicians and aides between 2010 and 2020. The rise in the aging population and the increase of cognitive brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s increases the demand for psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides.
Residential treatment centers, correctional facilities with an aging population and other outpatient facilities also increase the demand for both psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides due to the nation’s increasing developmental issues, mental illness and substance abuse problems.
In addition, mentally disabled adults who were once cared for by their parents need help from psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides as their parents begin to age.
Psychiatric Technicians and Psychiatric Aides Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $30,050
- 2012 workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $39,240
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $23,990
- Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals
- General medical and surgical hospitals
- Residential mental retardation, mental health and substance abuse facilities
- Outpatient care centers