Psychiatric Technician Job Information

A psychiatric technician is a licensed professional working with a psychiatric team to assist people who are emotionally or developmentally challenged. A psychiatric technician is expected to work with people belonging to different age groups, who are victims of mental ailments like psychosis, depression and dementia. Psychiatric technicians form a vital part of their teams. These professionals work under the supervision of a registered nurse, psychiatrist, mental health nurse or other professional who works in the mental health care sector. Psychiatric technicians provide assistance to patients in matters of personal hygiene, intake of medicines and participation in individual and group activities. Depending on the level of education, such technicians would also be involved in activities like the following:

  • Maintaining patients’ records
  • Admitting patients
  • Participating in treatment planning
  • Monitoring the progress of the patients.

Education and Training

Rather than focusing on formal education, people interested in this profession should pursue on-the-job training. While doing so, you should keep the following things in mind:

  • Some states insist on allowing only licensed technicians to practice.
  • Some states accept candidates with a high school diploma into the profession.
  • Psychiatric technician training, in most cases, occurs on the job.
  • A college degree in a subject related to medical health will guarantee additional benefits like increased salary, job security and possibilities of promotion.
  • The American Association of Psychiatric Technicians offers certification for four levels. Each level requires you to meet minimum criteria.
  • Wide ranges of online programs are also available for undergoing psychiatric technician training.

Hours

A psychiatric technician must work closely with other team members. Hence the hours of work would largely depend on the team’s schedule. At times, a psychiatric technician has to perform certain duties in absence of other team members. Like any other health care job, you could work long or irregular hours.

Basic Tasks

Everyday tasks of a psychiatric technician include these:

  • Coordinate with other team members to understand specific tasks to be carried out on a particular day
  • Study the record of the patients admitted
  • Assist the patients with personal care like bathing, changing clothes, eating and taking medication
  • Assist the patients in performing activities like walking, physiotherapy or any other group activities
  • Monitor the progress of the patients and convey the same to superiors.

Salary

The salary of a psychiatric technician is governed by numerous factors like experience, level of education, geographical location, employer and the demand for technicians in the specific locality or institution. Entry-level salaries vary from $25,000 to $35,000 annually. With considerable experience, your salary might rise to $38,000.

Career Outlook

According to a report on the mental health care industry published by Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2008, positions in the health care industry, including psychiatric technicians, are expected to grow by 28 percent until 2016,