Mental Health Technician Certification Guide

In the ever-changing world of mental health care, where technology and innovation pave the way for better treatment and care methods, there's a place for everyone who wants to make a difference. You don't have to be an allied health professional with years of experience to start; becoming a mental health technician is a significant first step towards a fulfilling career in this essential healthcare sector.

And if the idea of combining work with the excitement of travel appeals to you, Trusted offers a gateway to explore travel allied jobs. Join us as we dive into how anyone passionate about mental health care can embark on this rewarding journey, equipped with the right certification and the support of Trusted to navigate the vast opportunities in mental health care.

Why Certification Matters for Mental Health Technicians

Becoming a certified mental health technician (CMHT) signifies a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of mental health care. Certification can lead to higher salary potential, increased job opportunities, and recognition as a professional dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of patient care. It serves as an endorsement to your skills, knowledge, and dedication to continuous improvement in a field where the stakes are incredibly high.

What is the Difference Between a Mental Health Technician vs Psychiatric Technician?

Mental health technicians and psychiatric technicians both play integral roles in supporting individuals with mental illnesses, but their responsibilities, training, and certification processes can differ. Mental health technicians often work under the supervision of nurses and doctors, providing direct patient care and support in a variety of settings. Psychiatric technicians may have more specialized training in psychiatric care, including administering medications and working closely with psychiatric professionals.

Understanding the distinction between these roles is crucial for professionals aiming to align their career paths with their interests and skills.

Mental Health Technician vs Psychiatric Technician: Key Differences

Role and Responsibilities:

  • Mental Health Technicians: Provide direct patient care and support under the supervision of nurses and doctors in various settings.
  • Psychiatric Technicians: Have specialized training to administer medications and work closely with psychiatric professionals.

Training and Certification:

  • Mental Health Technicians: Require general training in patient care and support, with certification focusing on broad mental health care aspects.
  • Psychiatric Technicians: Undergo more specialized training in psychiatric care, with certifications that emphasize medication administration and working with psychiatric conditions.

Work Environment:

  • Mental Health Technicians: Can work in a range of settings, from hospitals to community health centers, providing general mental health support.
  • Psychiatric Technicians: Often found in psychiatric hospitals, residential mental health facilities, or specific psychiatric departments, dealing with more intensive psychiatric care.

Career Path Alignment:

  • Choosing between becoming a mental health technician or a psychiatric technician depends on personal career goals, interests in specific aspects of mental health care, and desired level of specialization.

General Requirements to Become a Mental Health Tech

The journey to becoming a mental health technician involves several key actions:.


  • High school diploma or equivalent required
  • Additional certification (CMHT or NCPT) or an associate degree in a related field is preferred

Skills & Traits:

  • Strong interpersonal communication
  • Patience
  • Genuine desire to assist and support others in need


  • Prior experience in mental health settings is beneficial, though not mandatory, for enhancing employment opportunities

What Certifications Do You Need for a Mental Health Tech?

While no universal standard dictates the number of certifications required to practice as a mental health technician nationwide, obtaining recognized credentials can vastly improve your marketability and professional growth. Two notable certifications include:

Certified Mental Health Technician (CMHT)

The CMHT certification validates your expertise and knowledge in mental health care, signaling to employers your capability to handle the complexities of patient support and care.

Nationally Certified Psychiatric Technician (NCPT)

The NCPT certification, while more specialized, demonstrates proficiency in psychiatric care, offering an additional layer of credibility for those looking to focus in this area.

Both certifications have their merits, and the best choice depends on your career goals and the specific demands of the positions you seek.

Mental Health Technician Requirements by State

Understanding the specific requirements for mental health technicians in each state is important for strategically planning your career path and taking advantage of every opportunity. Whether you're seeking a stable long-term role or interested in exploring travel mental health tech positions, this guidance aims to simplify your certification journey. Remember, the criteria for each state can change, so it's a good idea to regularly consult the state's board page for the most current and precise information.

Currently, California, Colorado, and Kansas are the only states that require a state license to work as a mental health tech.

California Licensure

California Psychiatric Technician  

You can find more information on California psychiatric tech licenses at the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians website.

  • Temporary/Limited Permit: Yes/$50
  • Initial Licensing Fee: $300
  • Renewal: $300, every two years

Colorado Licensure

Colorado Psychiatric Technician

You can find more information on Colorado licenses at the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website.

  • Initial Licensing Fee: $260
  • Renewal: All psychiatric technician licenses expire on March 30 of every odd-numbered year

Kansas Licensure

Kansas Mental Health Technician

You can find more information on Kansas mental health tech licenses at the Kansas Board of Nursing website.

  • Initial Licensing Fee: $50
  • Renewal: $55, every two years

What Comes Next After Mental Health Certification?

Obtaining your mental health technician certification is a significant achievement, but it's just the beginning. Continuing education, professional development, and recertification play key roles in maintaining your certification and staying current with the latest practices and technologies in mental health care.

Find a Mental Health Technician Job with Trusted Health

Embark on your next career adventure with Trusted Health! Discover a wide range of mental health technician roles tailored to your skills, interests, and career aspirations in your dream location. Expand your career perspectives and embrace the chance to travel and work as a mental health technician. Find a Mental Health Technician Job with Trusted today and discover the opportunities awaiting you!

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