Do you think you would like a career in the world of psychiatry, but not as a psychiatrist? Do you have a high level of patience and compassion for individuals who are experiencing hardship? If you said yes to both of these questions, then maybe you should think about pursuing a career as a psychiatric technician. Although the specific requirements vary some from one state to another, it is likely that you will have to gain certification in order to practice in this career field. Your training will be focused on areas such as pharmacology, general psychology, and abnormal psychology. This career path has varying levels of entry, which will of course be directly related to your rate of pay and your level of responsibility. For instance, a level one certified technician must have only completed high school, while a level four certification will require that you have completed your bachelor’s degree in a field relative to mental health. Of course, no matter which level of certification you aim to obtain you will still have to pass a certification examination.
In your profession as a psychiatric technician you will likely be working under the direct supervision of registered nurses, executive level mental health workers, and psychiatrists. As a mental health professional in this capacity you will be working to provide hands-on care to people who have been diagnosed with emotional disabilities, developmental disabilities, or mental illnesses (like dementia and psychosis). Most psychiatric technicians seek employment within a long-term care facility, a public hospital, or a private hospital. No matter which of these avenues you become employed within, you will be helping to implement many different options, depending upon the type of patient you are working with. These treatments can include somatic, humanistic, psychoanalytic, psychopharmaceutical, behavioral, or humanistic approaches to dealing with patients who are experiencing difficulties. It is important to note that as a psychiatric technician, you will often be one of the first people that a patient comes in contact with inside the medical field. You will likely be responsible for helping a patient to implement a treatment plan that has been developed by a higher ranking medical individual. In addition, you will be required to report changes that may occur in relation to a patient’s mental or physical health, along with problems, concerns, or issues that have presented themselves in reference to a patient’s medications.
Depending upon your place of employment you may be expected to consult or counsel a patient about the treatment and therapy options that they may have. Keep in mind, there will be different options for different patients so it will be important that you stay abreast of current trends and progressions that may be made in reference to this. You should also expect to be responsible for record keeping so that each patient’s file is up to date, monitoring a patient as they receive medications, remain current on safety issues of each medication that your supervising psychiatrist administers to his or her patients, learn about the advantages and disadvantages of new medications as they become available on the market. As more and more individuals experience difficulties in their life that require them to seek out help from a psychiatrist, the demand for psychiatric technicians also grows. This occupational path is expected to grow at a significant rate over the next several years. Keep in mind, while a psychiatrist will typically only see a patient once or twice a week, a psychiatric technician will be expected to interact with patients on a daily basis; which is intended to help them acclimate to their surroundings.