There are four different mental health technician jobs: patient care and support, managing patient attendance to treatment programs, administrative tasks, and security. A mental health technician is also known as a psychiatric aide. In this role, they are an important part of the mental health services team. Positions are usually found in long term care facilities, psychiatric departments of large hospitals, or psychiatric outpatient clinics.
There is no formal education or licensing requirements to become a mental health technician. Training programs are available through vocational high schools, community or career colleges. These programs are typically eight to 12 weeks in length and provide a minimal amount of training. The vast majority of technicians learn the skills on the job.
One of the most important jobs for a mental health technician is to provide patient care and support. This may include helping clients with personal hygiene and care, helping with getting dressed, and related tasks. Many technicians assist with the socializing aspect of mental health, playing cards, watching television, and interacting in a social way with the patients.
Managing patient attendance to the appropriate treatment program is another one of the mental health technician jobs central to patient recovery. All patients in residential facilities will have specific programs and activities that they are required to participate in. Ensuring that the patient is in the appropriate location for these meetings and activities is critical. Patience and compassion are necessary skills for this career.
There are a wide range of mental health technician jobs available in administration. Many technicians take on administrative tasks, such as answering the phone, coordinating appointments, and arranging day trips. All these activities are important to the smooth operation of the facility and the program.
Security is very important in this type of setting. It is important for the technician to ensure that patients are unable to harm themselves or others. This may require physical restraint or other methods of calming a patient who is agitated or upset.
Career advancement opportunities for people in mental health technician jobs all require further education. Building on their experience, many technicians register for programs to become nurse’s aides, medical office assistants, and even nurses. Some institutes have staff development programs that encourage staff to complete further education. The support services available often include tuition assistance, flexible work schedule, and potential for employment upon graduation. Talk to your human resources office about the options available to you.