What Does a Psychiatric Technician Do? (With Job Duties)

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Psychiatric technicians and aides care for people who have mental illness and developmental disabilities. Technicians typically provide therapeutic care and monitor their patients’ conditions. Aides help patients in their daily activities and ensure a safe and clean environment.

The Life of a Psychiatric Technician

Psychiatric technician job responsibilities

The exact responsibilities of a psychiatric technician vary based on where they work and the types of patients theyre caring for. Typically, psychiatric technicians perform some of these tasks on a daily basis:

What is a psychiatric technician?

A psychiatric technician works with individuals with developmental disorders, mental illnesses or substance abuse issues. They help take care of the individual by performing a range of tasks, such as administering medication, bathing and playing games. Psychiatric technicians work closely with their patients to ensure theyre as happy, healthy and safe in the treatment facility as possible.

While the role of a psychiatric technician has similarities to that of a psychiatric aide, psychiatric technicians focus more on providing therapeutic care, while aides help more with daily activities. However, some facilities dont employ psychiatric aides, leaving those duties to the technicians. In addition, becoming a psychiatric technician requires more education than a psychiatric aide.

Psychiatric technician work environment

Most psychiatric technicians work in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals operated either at a state level, local level or run by a private company. Other employers of psychiatric technicians include state governments, residential mental health facilities and general hospitals.

Psychiatric technicians work in both full-time and part-time positions, depending on the facility. Psychiatric technicians spend much of their days on their feet. The hours they work depend on the facility and the type of patients they work with, however, most work during the day. In some cases, the psychiatric technician accompanies their patient on field trips outside the facility.

Average salary and job outlook for a psychiatric technician

Most employers of psychiatric technicians require a certification or an associates degree in mental health or psychiatric technology. You can find these programs at local community colleges and technical schools across the country. These programs teach you about patient counseling, human biology and psychology. Your program may also include supervised work experience, allowing you to gain professional experience before graduating.

In some states, you must pass a licensing exam administered by the state before working as a psychiatric technician. The state may also require you to complete an accredited education program before taking the exam.

You can also pursue a professional certification as a psychiatric technicians. While theyre not required for employment, earning one of these certifications demonstrates professional competency and may help you earn a position.

Psychiatric technician skills

Here are some skills for psychiatric technicians:


Psychiatric technicians need to effectively communicate with their patients. Because they listen closely to their needs and develop a connection with them through conversation, its important to have strong communication skills. Psychiatric technicians also use this ability to communicate clear notes regarding the status of the patient to other medical professionals.


Psychiatric technicians demonstrate compassion towards their patients when understanding the difficult situation theyre in. They have sympathy for their patients and use this when caring for them. The compassion they develop encourages them to provide exceptional care, even on difficult days.

Reading comprehension

Psychiatric technicians may regularly read to their patients. In addition, they may also receive written instructions from other medical professionals or family members of the patient. Psychiatric technicians use their reading comprehension skills to fully understand the text in front of them.

Attention to detail

Part of a psychiatric technicians responsibilities is to monitor patients and note changes in behavior. This requires great attention to detail, especially when noticing small changes in a patient. Psychiatric technicians also remember small details about their patients to help connect with them, such as personal anecdotes or preferences.

Physical strength and stamina

Psychiatric technicians use their physical stamina to spend many hours on their feet each day. In some situations, they also help lift and move patients, requiring physical strength. Therefore, psychiatric technicians require a good physical condition and the ability to perform physical tasks throughout the day.


The primary responsibility of psychiatric technicians is to help their patients. Psychiatric technicians have a helpful nature and enjoy helping others. Providing assistance to others gives them a sense of purpose and encourages them to provide the best possible care to their patients.

Time management

Psychiatric technicians manage not only their own time, but also that of their patients. Using their time management skills, they ensure patients stick to a schedule, such as when to receive treatment or take medications. As their patients rely on them, psychiatric technicians prioritize arriving on time.


Psychiatric technicians teach their patients how to do certain things. They use their teaching skills to provide clear instructions and to help their patients improve their learning abilities. Psychiatric technicians also use this skill to devise new strategies for instruction when a current method doesnt yield positive results.


What is it like being a psychiatric technician?

They assist with the necessities of a patient like bathing, dressing them, or helping them eat. He or she changes bed linens and keeping the facilities clean and the environment safe. A psychiatric aide may go on field trips, play games, or perform other activities that engage the patient.

Is a psych tech a nurse?

Psychiatric Technicians are active members of interdisciplinary teams and an integral part of the quality assurance process. The Psychiatric Technician is a nursing category parallel to Licensed Vocational Nurse (California’s term for Licensed Practical Nurse).

Where do psychiatric technicians make the most money?

Mental health techs must be flexible, adaptable, and able to think quickly. And given the scope of work and population of people you’ll be meeting daily, it’s important to bring patience, compassion, and good listening skills to your role.

What makes a good mental health technician?

Mental health techs must be flexible, adaptable, and able to think quickly. And given the scope of work and population of people you’ll be meeting daily, it’s important to bring patience, compassion, and good listening skills to your role.

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