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What is a Mental Health Technician?

A mental health technician is a professional who offers critical support across a spectrum of emotional, psychological, and physical needs for individuals experiencing mental health issues. Often working in various healthcare settings, they collaborate closely with a team that includes mental health nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists. 

Known by several titles such as certified mental health technicians, behavioral health technicians, or psychiatric technicians, they play a pivotal role in the care and safety of those facing mental health and psychiatric challenges. The demand for mental health technicians is on the rise, highlighting the importance and rewarding nature of this career in supporting mental wellness.

What does a Mental Health Technician Do?

The general daily responsibilities of a mental health technician can vary slightly based on their specific work environment. Here’s generally what to expect:

  • Provide emotional and psychological support and safety to patients 
  • Participate in mental health therapy sessions
  • Perform mental health assessments
  • Take vitals signs
  • Observe patients for response to therapy and treatment
  • Report changes in patient status and behaviour to nursing and medical staff
  • Ensure the safety of those actively in a mental health crisis
  • Help with basic physical care, hygiene, and cleaning as needed

What skills does a Mental Health Technician need?

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What skills does a Mental Health Technician need?

Mental health technicians are skilled communicators and listeners with sharp observational skills! Mental health technicians spend a significant amount of time with patients experiencing mental health problems. They are often the first to notice subtle changes in behaviour and alert the mental health team as needed. 

In addition to their strong observation and communication skills, mental health technicians are skilled in de-escalation and crisis intervention. While extremely rewarding, it’s not always easy working with patients affected by mental health conditions. Mental health technicians are resilient, caring, and calm in stressful situations. 

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Mental Health Technicians

Work settings for Mental Health Technicians

Mental health technicians work in many different types of mental healthcare facilities. You will have a wide range of work environments to choose from, offering you the flexibility to find a job with hours that fit your schedule and your life. Mental health technicians work in both inpatient and outpatient environments. 

  • Inpatient environments include mental health units within hospitals, mental health hospitals, psychiatric emergency departments, and residential therapy and treatment programs. 
  • Outpatient environments include mental health offices, day treatment programs, and crisis recovery centers. 
  • Mental health technicians are needed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in inpatient environments. You will have a wide range of shifts to choose from and may work weekends and holidays. 
  • Outpatient environments offer more traditional working hours and are sometimes open on weekends. 

Common Cases Mental Health Technicians Encounter

Mental health technicians see a wide range of mental health conditions and cases. Some of the most common include patients needing support with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Addiction
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

How to Become A Mental Health Technician

You will need a high school diploma or equivalent to become a mental health technician. Beyond that, the specific requirements vary between facilities. Be sure to check and see what the exact requirements are for job postings that interest you! Here’s a general idea of what you can expect: 

  • Some mental health technician jobs require no further training beyond a high school diploma. 
  • Other mental health technician jobs may require a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license. 
  • Many mental health jobs require previous experience with patient care or prior work in a mental health care setting. 

How to Advance Your Career As A Mental Health Technician

Once you begin a career as a mental health technician, you will have plenty of opportunities to expand your skills and advance your career.  

After gaining experience, you can become a lead mental health technician, mental health technician supervisor, or begin training new mental health technicians. 

While being a mental health technician is a great career choice on its own, many people choose to gain mental health experience in this role and then continue their education. Being a mental health technician is a great starting point for those interested in becoming mental health nurses, therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists. 

Education Requirements & Helpful Certification

The minimum education requirement for a mental health technician is a high school diploma or equivalent. Be sure to check what specific credentials are required for jobs in your area. Prior experience and a CNA license may also be needed. 

  • Mental health technicians are required to maintain  Basic Life Support CPR certification. 
  • Mental health technicians may need to complete de-escalation, crisis intervention, and other safety and mental health-specific training programs. 
  • There are several other national certifications available to mental health technicians. Here are two of the most popular:

Mental health technician certification sets you apart from others in your field and shows your knowledge, skill, and dedication to your patients and profession.

Average Salary For Mental Health Technicians

The average salary for mental health technicians is approximately $37,330 per year, or $17.95 per hour. Mental health technicians are in demand and needed in all fifty states. Plus, the mental health technician job outlook is expected to grow by 9% from 2022 to 203, which is much faster than other professions!

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What is Travel Nurse?

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What is a Mental Health Technician?

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Here are some broad resources to help you in your travel healthcare career, applicable to Allied health roles as well as travel nursing.

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