Psychiatric Technician Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a psychiatric technician. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a psychiatric technician.
Who is a Psychiatric Technician?
A Psychiatric technician is a professional responsible for the day-to-day operations of psychiatric hospitals, clinics, and other treatment facilities. They commonly work under the supervision of psychiatrists or other medical professionals, providing support to patients with mental health issues while also monitoring their progress over time.
Depending on the requirements of their facility, psychiatric technicians may be assigned a variety of different tasks. They might assist patients with dressing, feeding, bathing, etc., as well as keep an eye on their interactions with other people and their behaviour.
Those with substance misuse issues, mental illnesses, or developmental disabilities are treated by psychiatric technicians. They help to care for the person by doing a range of things, such as administering medication, having a bath, and playing games.
To ensure that patients are as happy, healthy, and secure as they can be while receiving treatment, psychiatric assistants work closely with them to provide therapeutic care.
Psychiatric Technician Job Description
Below are the psychiatric technician job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. The employer can use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The duties and responsibilities of a psychiatric technician include the following:
- Observing the patient’s behaviour and taking note of it.
- Interviewing new patients and conducting intake assessments, as well as administering IQ tests, personality tests, and drug tests
- Assisting people with their emotional needs by listening to their grievances.
- Offering basic nursing care to patients who are unable to feed themselves, such as feeding, dressing, and bathing.
- Preserving patient medical records and producing charts for medical professionals to review.
- Putting patients at ease, spending time talking to and getting to know them personally.
- Supporting therapists’ and psychiatrists’ group therapy sessions.
- Giving patients the medications that a psychiatrist or other doctor has prescribed.
- Performing routine activities like safety checks to protect the well-being of patients and staff.
- Watching patient behaviour for signs of distress or mood swings that might require further staff involvement.
- Keeping an eye on the patient’s vital signs.
- Interacting with the patients through games or discussions.
- Controlling violent patients by aiding with transporting them within a facility or between facilities
- Coordinating patients’ involvement in therapeutic and leisure activities.
- Assisting with accepting and releasing patients.
- Contacting the patient’s family members to arrange family gatherings.
A variety of prerequisites must be met by applicants for the position of psychiatric technician, including:
● A GED or high school diploma is required.
● 480 hours of postsecondary study and a year of fieldwork must have been completed.
● Two years of psychiatric fieldwork in addition to 960 hours of college or university coursework.
● A bachelor’s degree in a discipline relating to mental health or developmental impairments is necessary.
● A postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree.
● Psychiatric technician work history or other positions with supporting documentation.
● knowledge of crisis intervention techniques.
● Ability to connect with students, instructors, and/or staff and work in a team environment.
The skills listed below are necessary for psychiatric technicians to have:
Psychiatric technicians need to communicate with patients in a productive way. Strong communicators focus intently on the requirements of their audience and establish rapport with them through discussion. Psychiatric technicians also use this ability to provide clear notes about the patient’s condition to other medical specialists.
Psychiatric technicians are compassionate toward their patients because they understand the difficult situations they are dealing with. They have empathy for their patients and treat them with kindness. The empathy they gain inspires them to give great care, especially on challenging days.
● Understanding of the text
Psychiatric techs may read aloud to their patients frequently. Additionally, they might get written instructions from other medical experts or the patient’s family. In order to comprehend the text in front of them completely, psychiatric technicians use their reading comprehension abilities.
- Competence in Interpersonal Relationships
Psychiatric technicians must be able to work well with others. They frequently work as a treatment team, so they must cooperate and communicate effectively. They may also be required to communicate with patients who are experiencing behavioral issues or emotional distress. To defuse these situations, psychiatric technicians must maintain their cool and use their interpersonal skills.
- Patient Assessment
Psychiatric technicians should have the ability to assess a patient’s needs and tailor their treatment accordingly. This ability will allow you to determine what type of care would be most beneficial for your patients and thus improve their overall mental health. Psychiatric technicians can instead of prescribing medication, you might advise a patient suffering from mild depression to try relaxation techniques such as meditation.
- Critical Thinking
Psychiatric technicians critically analyze a situation and make sound decisions. Critical thinking skill can be useful when working as a psychiatric technician, especially if you are caring for patients who have mental health issues. Consider how to safely deescalate a situation if, a patient becomes agitated or aggressive. You may also be required to devise novel solutions to problems that patients encounter while receiving treatment.
● Observation of details
Monitoring patients and noting behavioural changes is one of a psychiatric technician’s duties. When noticing subtle changes in a patient, in particular, calls for extreme attention to detail. In order to establish a connection with their patients, psychiatric technicians also keep in mind little tidbits about them, such as preferences or personal anecdotes.
- Therapeutic Technique Skills
Therapeutic techniques are the abilities and knowledge you use to assist patients in resolving their mental health issues. This includes having the necessary medical knowledge, providing counseling and emotional support to patients, and participating in activities that can lift their spirits or change their outlook on life. If a patient is depressed, Psychiatric technicians suggest that they read a book that will make them feel better about themselves or start a new hobby.
● Physical toughness and endurance
Psychiatric technicians must have strong physical stamina because they stand for long periods of time each day. They occasionally assist with lifting and moving patients
● Ability to help
Helpful Psychiatric technicians are kind people who like to assist others. Giving support to others gives them a sense of purpose and motivates them to give their patients the best care possible.
● Time management
Psychiatric technicians balance both their own and their patient’s schedules. They make sure patients adhere to a schedule, such as when to receive treatment or take medications, by using their time management skills. Psychiatric technicians put a high priority on being on time because their patients depend on them.
● Strong observational skills
Strong observational skills are important for psychiatric technicians in order to spot changes in patient behaviour. This enables them to effectively treat conditions and keep patients safe.
Psychiatric technicians must be patient with one another and maintain their composure in high-stress or fast-paced situations because working with mental health patients can be challenging at times. This facilitates the day-to-day operations of psychiatric technicians.
● Teaching Skill
Patients are given particular skills instruction by the psychiatric aides. By employing their teaching abilities to provide them with precise instructions, they aid their patients in becoming better learners. Psychiatric technicians also use this ability to come up with fresh approaches to teaching when a tried-and-true strategy doesn’t work.
How To Become a Psychiatric Technician
Follow the steps below to become a psychiatric technician:
Step 1: Obtain a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification
Enrollment in a program for psychiatric technicians requires a high school diploma or its equivalent. To prepare for a career as a psychiatric technician, consider taking biology, psychology, and other science-related classes while still in high school. Before applying to a reputable psychiatric technician school, consider volunteering at a mental health facility to gain experience and strengthen your resume.
Step 2: Complete an accredited program for psychiatric technician
Psychiatric technicians are accredited by (APTA). Seek out colleges with accredited programs, and if at all possible, think about enrolling in an APTA-accredited course of study. Instead of obtaining a certificate as a mental health technician, think about obtaining a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science, psychology, or social work. But compared to a certificate program, these advanced degrees frequently take longer to complete.
Step 3: Become certified through the American Psychiatric Technicians Association (APTA)
The American Psychiatric Technicians Association can help you get certified (APTA).
The American Psychiatric Technicians Association (APTA) offers a certification test for psychiatric technicians that addresses clinical, administrative, and ethical issues in the industry. Before you can practice as a psychiatrist, you must have at least a year of full-time professional experience as a psychiatric technician. You may also be required to take additional classes or receive additional training in your area of specialization.
If you pass the exam, the APTA will award you the credential of Certified Psychiatric Technician (CPT). This is valid for three years, after which it must be renewed by taking continuing education courses and paying an annual fee.
Step 4: Obtain state licensure if required by your state
If your state requires psychiatric technicians to be licensed, you must meet the prerequisites. These could include completing an accredited program, passing a test, and submitting letters of recommendation or a resume. Some states also require psychiatric technicians to pass a background investigation before receiving a license.
Step 5: Gain experience working with patients in a psychiatric setting
Consider gaining experience in a medical setting after completing your program to become a psychiatric technician. You can do this by volunteering or working part-time at a mental health facility while looking for a full-time position. This will make it easier for you to become acquainted with the work environment and responsibilities of a psychiatric technician so that you are ready to seize an opportunity when it arises.
Step 6: Take continuing education courses each year to keep your certification
According to the American Psychiatric Technicians’ Association, psychiatric technicians must complete 20 hours of continuing education each year (APTA). Courses in pharmacology, mental health nursing, first aid and CPR, patient rights, and ethics are included. If you need to keep your state license active, you must continue your education. It is critical for technicians in the field to stay up to date on new developments in psychiatry as it evolves.
Step 7: Advance in the Psychiatric technician Field
With many years of experience, a psychiatric technician may be promoted to a supervisory position or a higher rank. If a technician is truly interested in psychiatry and wishes to advance beyond therapeutic care, they should consider pursuing a medical degree in psychiatry or a related field. Although the process necessitates many years of education at various levels, beginning with a bachelor’s degree, many undergraduate programs frequently accept technical school or community college courses as credit toward a degree.
Aspiring psychiatric technicians must have a minimum undergraduate certificate in psychiatric or mental health technology, and licensure is required in some states.
Step 8: Join professional organizations such as the APTA
The American Psychiatric Technicians Association (APTA) is the primary professional organization for psychiatric technicians in the United States. By joining this organization, you can network with other professionals, stay up to date on industry changes, and obtain the continuing education courses (CEUs) needed to maintain your certification. Another option is to join a support group such as National Alliance on Mental illness (NAMI), which provides resources and support to people suffering from mental illnesses and their loved ones.
Where to Work as a Psychiatric Technician
The majority of psychiatric technicians work in drug and alcohol treatment facilities that are public, private, or community-based. Psychiatric technicians are also employed by state governments, general hospitals, and residential mental health facilities. Psychiatric technicians may work full or part-time, depending on the facility.
Typically, psychiatric technicians work on their feet. The majority of their schedules are during the day, though this may vary depending on the facility and the patients they work with.
On rare occasions, the patient may be accompanied outside the facility by a psychiatric technician.
Psychiatric Technician Salary Scale
Psychiatric technicians typically earn between $104,166 and $127,819. As of September 26, 2022, the average psychiatric technician salary in the United States was $116,531 according to Salary.com. Salary ranges can vary significantly depending on a number of important factors, including education, credentials, supplemental skills, and the length of time you’ve worked in a specific field.