Psychiatric technicians provide therapeutic care and living assistance for individuals with mental illness and developmental disabilities. They may work with patients with severe disabilities or patients undergoing treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. Psychiatric technicians work under the supervision of physicians and other healthcare professionals. Some of the many job responsibilities of psychiatric technicians include:
- Observing patients and recording their behavior
- Leading patients in physical therapy and recreational activities
- Assisting patients with daily tasks such as eating and bathing
- Administering medication under the supervision of doctors and other medical professionals
According to the BLS, employment of psychiatric technicians is expected to grow by 15% from 2010 to 2020. The nation's growing senior aged population is stimulating this job growth, as more patients with cognitive mental diseases enter residential care. The increasing trend toward the treatment of developmental disabilities, mental illness, and drug and alcohol addiction in residential facilities is providing more career opportunities for psychiatric technicians.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming a Psychiatric Technician
Psychiatric technicians typically hold a postsecondary certificate and, if employed in Arkansas, California, Colorado, or Kansas, a state license. Voluntary certification is available for psychiatric technicians in the rest of the U.S. states through the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians. Psychiatric technicians with certification typically earn higher salaries and enjoy more opportunities for career advancement.
Psychiatric technician programs require applicants hold a high school degree or its equivalent. These programs are designed to prepare students for licensure in their respective state and can take anywhere from one semester to two years to complete. A sampling of classes you may take in psychiatric technician program, drawn from the course listings for Cypress College's psychiatric technician program, include the following:
- Nursing Science
- Developmental Psychology
- Developmental Disabilities
- Mental Disabilities
Psychiatric technicians should possess strong interpersonal skills along with a high degree of compassion and patience. Physical stamina is also required in order to move patients and remain standing for long periods of time. Once hired, psychiatric technicians will undergo a period of supervised on-the-job training. Training will include working alongside an experienced technician, attending workshops and lectures, and additional in-service training.