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Occupation Profile

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Psychiatric Technicians
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Description: what do they do?
Care for individuals with mental or emotional conditions or disabilities, following the instructions of physicians or other health practitioners. Monitor patients' physical and emotional well-being and report to medical staff. May participate in rehabilitation and treatment programs, help with personal hygiene, and administer oral or injectable medications.
Also known as:
Mental Health Assistant (MHA), Health Care Technician, Mental Health Associate, Mental Health Worker, Licensed Psychiatric Technician (LPT), Behavioral Health Technician, Mental Health Technician (MHT), Mental Health Specialist, Residential Aide (RA), Psychiatric Technician (PT)

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: Psychiatric technicians and aides provide safety and support to help people with mental illness and severe developmental disabilities enjoy quality of life, and to improve their mental health. Also known as mental health technicians, psychiatric technicians assist with patients’ therapeutic care; they listen to patients’ concerns and lead them in recreational or therapeutic activities. They also have medical tasks, administering medication and monitoring patients’ vital signs. Psychiatric aides assist with transportation, engage patients in activities, and maintain a safe, clean physical environment. Both technicians and aides help patients with daily living needs, such as eating, bathing, and dressing. Meeting patients’ needs requires patience and fortitude as well as the stamina to be on your feet all day and, if it comes to it, the strength to restrain a distressed or violent patient. It’s not always pleasant work. However, these workers can have a great deal of influence on patients’ outlooks and treatments. Observation skills, communication, and compassion are key qualities in these fields. Psychiatric technicians and aides work in psychiatric hospitals, residential mental health facilities, and chemical dependency addiction treatment centers. Facilities are typically all-hours, so work hours may include nights, weekends, and holidays. Psychiatric technicians usually need a certificate in the field, and many also have previous experience as a nursing assistant or licensed practical nurse. Psychiatric aides typically need only a high school diploma. Both technicians and aides get on-the-job training before they work without direct supervision.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Maine
370
2016 Employment
360
2026 Employment
-1%
Percent change
30
Annual projected job openings
United States
76,600
2018 Employment
86,100
2028 Employment
12%
Percent change
7,500
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016 (for states) or 2018 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2026 (for states) or 2028 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2016-26.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2018-28.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Psychiatric Technicians in Maine
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationMaineUnited States
10%$21,890$22,800
25%$23,490$26,940
Median$26,630$32,870
75%$32,630$43,680
90%$39,190$64,430


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Postsecondary certificate
  • Less than 5 years work experience
  • Less than 1 month on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2018.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2016–17.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Record patient medical histories.
  • Examine patients to assess general physical condition.
  • Operate diagnostic or therapeutic medical instruments or equipment.
  • Inform medical professionals regarding patient conditions and care.
  • Care for patients with mental illnesses.
  • Treat patients using psychological therapies.
  • Administer intravenous medications.
  • Administer non-intravenous medications.
  • Maintain medical facility records.
  • Interact with patients to build rapport or provide emotional support.
  • Maintain inventory of medical supplies or equipment.
  • Assist patients with hygiene or daily living activities.
  • Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
  • Assist healthcare practitioners during examinations or treatments.
  • Encourage patients or clients to develop life skills.
  • Position patients for treatment or examination.
  • Train medical providers.
  • Teach health management classes.
  • Collect medical information from patients, family members, or other medical professionals.
  • Move patients to or from treatment areas.
  • Perform clerical work in medical settings.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Service Orientation - Looking for ways to help people.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Enterprising - Occupations with Enterprising interests frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. Many involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Social - Occupations with Social interests frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Most involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Take and record measures of patients' physical condition, using devices such as thermometers or blood pressure gauges.
  • Monitor patients' physical and emotional well-being and report unusual behavior or physical ailments to medical staff.
  • Provide nursing, psychiatric, or personal care to mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or mentally retarded patients.
  • Administer oral medications or hypodermic injections, following physician's prescriptions and hospital procedures.
  • Issue medications from dispensary and maintain records in accordance with specified procedures.
  • Observe and influence patients' behavior, communicating and interacting with them and teaching, counseling, or befriending them.
  • Aid patients in performing tasks, such as bathing or keeping beds, clothing, or living areas clean.
  • Collaborate with or assist doctors, psychologists, or rehabilitation therapists in working with mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or developmentally disabled patients to treat, rehabilitate, and return patients to the community.
  • Encourage patients to develop work skills and to participate in social, recreational, or other therapeutic activities that enhance interpersonal skills or develop social relationships.
  • Restrain violent, potentially violent, or suicidal patients by verbal or physical means as required.
  • Lead prescribed individual or group therapy sessions as part of specific therapeutic procedures.
  • Train or instruct new employees on procedures to follow with psychiatric patients.
  • Develop or teach strategies to promote client wellness and independence.
  • Interview new patients to complete admission forms, to assess their mental health status, or to obtain their mental health and treatment history.
  • Escort patients to medical appointments.
  • Contact patients' relatives to arrange family conferences.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.