If you’re looking for a career in mental health, you may be wondering how to become a mental health tech. Here’s what you need to know about this important role.
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Considering a career in mental health? A mental health technician is a trained professional who works with patients suffering from mental illness. If you have a passion for helping others and want to work in the field of mental health, read on to learn more about what it takes to become a mental health tech.
What is a Mental Health Technician?
A mental health technician is a professional who provides direct care to patients with mental illness or emotional disturbance. The role of a mental health technician is to provide support and assistance to those who need it in order to maintain their mental health and well-being.
Mental health technicians typically work in hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare settings. They may also work in community mental health centers, private practices, or residential facilities. Some mental health technicians may even work in schools or government agencies.
Mental health technicians typically have at least an associate’s degree in psychology, social work, or a related field. Some positions may require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Many Mental Health Technicians are certified by the American Association of Mental Health Professionals (AAMHT).
The duties of a mental health technician vary depending on their specific position and place of employment. However, there are some common duties that most mental health technicians perform on a daily basis. These duties include:
-Assessing the needs of patients
-Providing support and guidance to patients
-Helping patients develop coping and problem-solving skills
-Helping patients develop positive social skills
-Monitoring patients’ progress
-Documenting patient care logs
The Duties of a Mental Health Technician
A mental health technician is a trained professional who assists patients with mental illness in hospitals and clinics. They may also work in schools or community mental health centers. Patients may have a wide range of diagnoses, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Mental health technicians typically have an associate’s degree in mental health technology, although some have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. They must complete a supervised clinical practicum as part of their training. In most states, they must be licensed or certified by the state in which they practice.
Mental health technicians typically work under the supervision of a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional. They may provide direct patient care, such as helping patients with their activities of daily living, leading group therapy sessions, and providing support and guidance to patients and their families. They may also conduct intake interviews, administer psychological testing, and help develop treatment plans.
The Skills Needed to Become a Mental Health Technician
Mental health technicians typically need at least a high school diploma. Some jobs may require postsecondary education, and all jobs will require on-the-job training. Employers also value customer service skills, interpersonal skills, and the ability to handle difficult situations. Because mental health technicians work closely with patients, employers often seek candidates who have a genuine interest in helping others. The following are some specific skills that mental health technicians need:
-Observation skills. Mental health technicians must be able to closely observe patients and look for changes in their behavior or appearance that could indicate a problem.
-Communication skills. Mental health technicians must be able to communicate effectively with patients, other members of the healthcare team, and family members. They must be able to explain procedures and treatments clearly and answer questions completely and accurately.
-Interpersonal skills. Mental health technicians must be able to build relationships of trust with patients. They also need to be able to deal effectively with the stress that comes from working with sometimes difficult or combative patients.
-Patience. Mental health technicians must be patient when working with patients who may not be cooperative or may not understand what is happening around them.
-Detail oriented. Mental health technicians must pay attention to details in order to follow instructions correctly and complete paperwork accurately.
-Flexibility. Mental health technicians’ schedules often change at the last minute, and they may have to work evenings or weekends if necessary. They must be able to adapt quickly to changes in their work environment or in the condition of their patients
The Education Needed to Become a Mental Health Technician
A mental health technician, also known as a psychiatric technician, is a paraprofessional who works closely with patients suffering from mental illness. These professionals typically work in psychiatric hospitals or clinics, and their responsibilities include providing direct patient care, leading group therapy sessions and performing administrative tasks.
Mental health technicians need at least a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may require postsecondary education, and must complete on-the-job training. Most states regulate mental health technicians through licensure, certification or registration.
Mental health technicians typically need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may prefer or require candidates to have completed some postsecondary coursework in psychology or a related field, although it is not always necessary. Many community colleges offer certificate and associate degree programs in mental health technology that can be completed in one to two years and that may help students qualify for some positions.
Mental health technicians generally must complete on-the-job training lasting several months to a year. During this period, they work under the supervision of experienced technicians and learn basic tasks, such as how to restrain patients and administer medication. As they gain experience, they are given more responsibilities and may receive additional training in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), first aid or other topics related to their field.
The Certification Needed to Become a Mental Health Technician
Mental health technicians typically need at least a high school diploma, although some jobs may require postsecondary education, and must complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some states have certification programs for mental health technicians, but requirements vary considerably. For example, the state of Texas offers two levels of certification for mental health technicians. The first level, called Certified Mental Health Technician (CMHT), requires completion of an approved training program and passage of an examination. The second level, called Licensed Mental Health Technician (LMHT), requires CMHT certification and two years of full-time paid experience working as a mental health technician under the supervision of a licensed professional.
The Training Needed to Become a Mental Health Technician
Mental health techs, also known as psychiatric technicians, provide care and assistance to patients with mental illness or developmental disabilities. They work under the direction of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses to help patients in hospitals, clinics, private practices, and other settings.
Mental health techs typically need a postsecondary nondegree award or an associate’s degree in mental health technology, psychiatric technology, or a related field. Employers may prefer applicants who have completed a supervised work or internship experience in a mental health setting.
A growing number of community colleges and technical schools offer programs in mental health technology that lead to an associate’s degree or postsecondary nondegree award. These programs generally take 2 years to complete and include coursework in psychology, human development, psychopathology, therapeutic techniques, and ethics. Students also completing supervised clinical experience in a mental health setting.
After completing an accredited program, graduates are eligible to take the Certified Psychiatric Technician (CPT) exam administered by the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians. Although certification is not required for entry-level positions as a mental health tech, it may improve job prospects.
Continuing education is important for mental health techs because they must keep up with changes in technology and treatments. Many states require technicians to complete a certain number of hours of continuing education every few years to maintain licensure.
The Salary of a Mental Health Technician
Mental health technicians work in hospitals, nursing homes and other care facilities under the supervision of nurses and therapists. They provide basic care and support to patients with mental illness or developmental disabilities. Most mental health technicians have at least a high school diploma, although some jobs may require postsecondary education or certification. The median annual salary for mental health technicians was $29,660 in May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.