Types of psychiatric technician jobs include working in hospitals, institutions, and substance abuse treatment centers. In addition, some psychiatric techs also provide home health care to mentally ill clients. The tasks performed in different psychiatric technician jobs typically vary according to the experience and qualifications of the psychiatric technician. These tasks can range from assisting patients and clients with basic living skills to performing intake interviews, administering medications, and facilitating group therapy sessions.
A psychiatric technician, sometimes known as a psychiatric tech or psych tech, is someone who works in the mental health industry and assists in the care of mentally ill individuals. In some jurisdictions, psychiatric technician jobs are reserved for individuals who hold some type of professional licensing or certification. In other places, the government may not require any formal training or credentialing of those who hold psychiatric technician jobs. Employers, however, may restrict those without a educational or professional background in the area of mental health to performing less complex job duties until they complete additional education or gain significant experience.
At the entry level, some psychiatric technicians are referred to as psychiatric aides. Aides may perform tasks similar to those performed by nursing aides, such as helping a patient with grooming needs. They may also assist with group activities and may be asked to monitor a patient or client’s behavior and record their observations.
After a psychiatric aide or technician develops considerable experience or achieves professional certification or licensure, he or she may be entrusted with more significant job duties. The technican may be asked to help process the admission of new patients into a hospital or residential setting or to perform some medical testing, such as drug testing, on clients. Some technicians may assume some case management responsibilities for clients and may also facilitate group and occupational therapy sessions. Laws in various jurisdictions often restrict the types of work that a psychiatric technician can perform, so technicians who wish to continue in the mental health field may go on to become psychiatric nurses, counselors, or psychologists.
As an aide or tech gains more experience, a greater variety of psychiatric technician jobs may become open to him or her. While some techs work in hospitals, others may be able to find work in more specialized settings, such as drug rehabilitation centers or criminal justice settings. Additional jobs may be available through community mental health centers or in schools for children with special needs. Each setting has its own specific needs, so job duties for a psychiatric technician can vary widely depending on where he or she works.