Mental health technicians are people who help care for the mentally and emotionally impaired patients. You can find them in hospitals and facilities that treat people with mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse issues. They are also needed in places that offer child care, social services, family services, rehabilitation and correction.
The scope of work ranges from admitting the patients, assisting in their daily needs such as eating, dressing and bathing. They also monitor behavior, progress and vital signs, and record all this information for the psychiatrists and doctor’s reference.
Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the annual average income of a mental health technician is $15,680 up to $51,200 depending on the workplace and the scope of work. Because of the growing demand and a promising career outlook, many people are interested in pursuing a career as a mental health technician.
Steps on How to Become a Mental Health Technician:
1. Choose a Career Path
The term mental health technician is a general term for a wide variety of jobs that concern mental health. The term psychologists, orderlies, therapists, physician assistants, nursing assistants and medical assistants can be called mental health technicians as long as their function is connected to the treatment of patients with mental health concerns.
The first step is to choose the kind of mental health technician you want to be. Each one requires a certain amount of education, experience and proper certification to be able to do the job. This choice is determined by the level of your education and training.
Your decision should also include the type of cases you want to work with. Some people work with cases concerning the elderly having Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Others work with people with personal concerns about parental effectiveness and interpersonal relationships. There are also others who deal with cases of the retardation and autism.
Working with any type of mental concerns takes a lot of patience, knowledge, compassion and physical stamina. You are the person who knows best, so choose the career path where you think is best suited to your capabilities.
2. Pursue a Formal Education
The next step to becoming a mental health technician is to get a formal education needed for the job. Some High school courses like psychology, social science, hygiene, art, and music will help you a lot in this career. You also have to attend a post-secondary course from a vocational technical center or community college.
The program may take a year or more to accomplish. This includes 450 hours of on-the-job training. Courses in communication skills, crisis intervention, mental health/illness theory, psychotropic medications, substance abuse, and employment skills are included in this training program. It also helps to do volunteer work in places where they specialize in the mental cases you are training for.
3. Get the Job
Once you have completed your post secondary training you can proceed with sending your application to hospitals and other institutions that have job openings for mental health technicians. Make sure to include all your credentials in your resume. There is no license required for this job, but some facilities and hospitals may require a certification as a nursing assistant and of course, a few years of experience.
You can personally go to the hospitals to bring your resume and apply for the job. But one convenient way most job hunters do these days is to apply for online job openings through job search websites. Either way, you will have to prove your capabilities and your willingness to work.
Although it takes only three steps to become a mental health technician, being on the job requires a great deal of commitment, compassion, patience and care. You also have to be physically ready to be in close contact with your patients, whom you will deal with personally, day after day. Remember, this job is vital because someone’s welfare is in your hands.
Are you interested to become a mental health technician? Follow these three steps to become one.