Psychiatric Technician Certification and Certificate Program Overview

Aspiring psychiatric technicians can enroll in a certificate program in the field. These programs prepare students for supervised work with mental health staff and registered nurses who care for mentally or emotionally disabled patients.

Essential Information

Psychiatric technician certificate programs are commonly offered through the health science departments of community colleges and technical schools. Focusing on behavioral science and counseling methods, such programs take about one year to complete. Other disciplines incorporated into the curriculum are sociology, anthropology and personality psychology.

Many colleges offering certificate programs in psychiatric technology require that high school graduates and incoming students complete some college-level prerequisite courses in order to gain admission. These most commonly include introductory psychology, college mathematics, college writing and human anatomy.

Although a few states require that psychiatric technicians become licensed, others require that trained and experienced individuals have certification. Certification is available through the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians.

Certificate in Psychiatric Technology

Students in a Psychiatric Technology Certificate program learn about various mental illnesses they can expect to encounter in the profession. They also learn basic concepts of providing patient care for the mentally ill. Specific course examples include the following:

  • Foundations of psychiatric technology
  • Nursing science and psychiatric technology
  • Behavioral science
  • General psychology
  • Counseling techniques

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

There were roughly 145,200 psychiatric technicians and aides employed in the United States in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). In May 2015, these workers earned a median annual salary of $28,320. The BLS projected employment growth of 5% from 2014-2024.

Certification Options

There are only a handful of states that require psychiatric technicians to gain licensure before practicing, including Arkansas, Kansas, Colorado and California. The other 46 U.S. states don't require psychiatric technicians to be licensed but do require certification. The American Association of Psychiatric Technicians (www.psychtechs.org) offers certification options for trained individuals. There are four different certification levels available, depending upon a candidate's educational background and experience in the field.

Psychiatric technician certificate programs can prepare students to meet the certification or licensure requirements for entry into this career field through coursework in such subjects as human behavior, counseling methodology and mental disorders.

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