Psychiatric technicians are professionals who provides care for people who have mental disabilities and developmental issues. Technicians generally provide therapeutic care for patients to help in their daily activities. They normally works under the direction of psychiatrists and works in private or public hospitals and works to ensure a clean and safe environment.
Psychiatric technicians are trained in general and abnormal psychology which helps them to learn and understand safe medications and pharmacology. They usually assist specialists in implementing somatic humanistic or behavioral treatments of emotional and mental illness.
Education Prerequisites and certification programs
A certification program in Psychiatric Technology is an undergraduate option for one who want to take up a career in this field. Certificate programs are offered through technical schools or health departments and takes about 1 year to complete. Most of the colleges require you to have some college level psychiatric courses along with high school graduation in order to gain admission. All certifications are available through the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians.
Technicians generally enter the job with a post-secondary certification. Most of the programs includes courses in counselling, biology and psychology. The programs also include corporative programs and course works in which candidate gain sufficient experience by working in the real environment. Certificate course requires a high school diploma certificate or any equivalent certification.
Different levels of certification available for candidates
The initial level just requires a high school diploma, the second level requires a college university course completion which might come around 480 hours. The third level requires a 960 hour education in a university course plus work experience in mental health field for two years. The fourth level requires a bachelor degree in developmental disabilities or mental health field plus work experience of three years.
Regardless the certifications, desired candidates must pass the level 1 certification. Basic level exams will have around 200 multiple choice questions that can be taken from a school, worksite or even from home. After passing the level 1 exam, higher levels require completion of an essay test which includes the real life situation a technician might encounter.
Licensing requirements for a Psychiatric Technician
Till 2013, a few states including Arkansas, Colorado and California were the only states that demanded license for psychiatric technicians. Though requirements differ with states, most of the institutions require candidates to pass the exam and some experience in coursework. To get licensed in California, candidates need to attend a training program which is approve by the state. In Colorado, institutions might conduct individual tests to candidates who work with people with emotional and mental disabilities.
Check also how much does a psychiatric tech make.
Important Qualities a Psychiatric Technician must possess
A true professional psychiatric technician requires interpersonal skills, observational skills, compassion and physical stamina. Because technicians spends most of their time with the patients, they have to possess caring nature and a heart which want to help people. Technicians must observe patients clearly and identify any changes in their behavior. They must also have a good physical stamina as they have to restrain patients at times.