Psychiatric Tech Job Description

Psychiatric technician leading a group therapy session. 

Group therapy allows clients to share experiences and learn from each other.

Psychiatric Tech Job Description: Psychiatric Tech's or Psychiatric Technicians provide nursing care to mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or mentally retarded patients in psychiatric hospital or mental health clinic and participates in rehabilitation and treatment programs: They help patients with their personal hygiene, such as bathing and keeping beds, clothing, and living areas clean.

Administers oral medications and hypodermic injections, following physician's prescriptions and hospital procedures. Takes and records measures of patient's general physical condition, such as pulse, temperature, and respiration, to provide daily information.

Observes patients to detect behavior patterns and reports observations to medical staff. Intervenes to restrain violent or potentially violent or suicidal patients by verbal or physical means as required. Leads prescribed individual or group therapy sessions as part of specific therapeutic procedures.

May complete initial admittance forms for new patients. May contact patient's relatives by telephone to arrange family conferences. May issue medications from dispensary and maintain records in accordance with specified procedures. Job descriptions and work expected often mirror those of a nurses aide.

Working Conditions

Generally the physical environment is clean, well lighted and indoors. Psychiatric technicians are occasionally subject to aggressive or violent behavior from their clients and are expected to be able to lift over 70 pounds as needed. Shift work and variable days are standard as the majority of the positions are in psychiatric hospitals and inpatient settings.

Training and Qualifications

Most states require some formal training from an accredited college or vocational program. These are usually one year certificate programs. Prerequisites include chemistry, biology, and psychology.   Many behavioral or psychiatric technicians possess a bachelors degree. 

Licensing and Credentialing

A licensure or state regulated certification of psychiatric techs is only required in 4 states. A national certification is available through the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians.

Significant Points About Psychiatric Tech Job Description

Job opportunities remain higher than average for all healthcare professions

This job may be more stressful due to potential aggressive or violent clients

wages for this profession are at the lower end for healthcare related professions

Advancement - chances for promotion

Limited opportunity for advancement exists as this is considered an entry level career. Many techs seek further education and become psychiatric nurses or other related healthcare professions.

Resources for Psychiatric Technicians and Aides Job Description:

Psychiatric Technicians and Aides: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

American Association of Psychiatric Technicians