Introduction to Psychiatric Technician Careers
Psychiatric technicians work with mentally, developmentally or emotionally disabled individuals, helping and supervising patients in daily activities on a routine basis. In many ways, psychiatric technicians are the "face" of psychiatric care. While a psychiatrist may only see each patient a few times per week, the psychiatric technician often has direct and long-term interaction with patients on a daily basis.
Psychiatric Technician Job Description
Psychiatric technicians usually work in institutions such as psychiatric hospitals, mental care facilities, substance abuse care facilities and other organizations treating the mentally, developmentally or emotionally disabled. Working under the supervision of a psychiatrist or other health care professional, psychiatric technicians are responsible for a variety of everyday responsibilities like administering medications, assisting patients with personal care and hygiene, monitoring patients during general activities, assisting in therapeutic activities and conducting basic nursing duties.
Since they are likely to interact with patients frequently, psychiatric technicians must track patients' progress and report any significant details or incidents to the psychiatrist or doctor in charge. Depending on their training and qualifications, psychiatric technicians may also be responsible for keeping medical records, admitting patients and participating in the formulation of patient treatment plans.
Psychiatric Technician Requirements
Although many psychiatric technicians learn via on-the-job training, those with a bachelor's degree in a field like mental health have better job prospects. College-level coursework in subjects such as psychology, counseling, genetics and pharmacology are all useful.
Licensing requirements to work as a psychiatric technician vary between states; while some states require licensing, it's not necessary everywhere. Psychiatric technicians may become officially certified by taking a test offered by the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians (AAPT). Four levels of certification are available, the first requires only a GED or high school diploma--level four requires a bachelor's degree in a field such as mental health plus a minimum of three years of work experience.
Psychiatric Technician Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual salary for psychiatric technicians to be $28,140. The majority of psychiatric technicians work in psychiatric hospitals, substance abuse centers and mental health facilities. As with most jobs in the health care field, psychiatric technician prospects are expected to grow in the coming decade - however the increase is not expected to be significant. According to the US Department of Labor's O*NET online resource, an estimated 16,800 psychiatric technician jobs are expected to open up in the U.S. from 2008 to 2018.
Psychiatric Technician Trends
One reason to explain the slower-than-average growth rate of psychiatric technician jobs may be the fact that psychiatric technician duties are increasingly being consolidated with those of other jobs, such as nursing and psychiatric aides. Since future competition for psychiatric technician careers will be high, it's likely that people interested in this line of work will more frequently seek advanced degrees and certification.
Psychiatric Technician Degree Programs
Welcome to the most complete directory on the Web of Psychiatric Technician programs. It contains all the nationally accredited programs, from 5 schools across the country.