Behavioral Health Technician: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Behavioral health technicians help people with behavioral problems by planning and implementing their therapy. Their educations are varied from a high school diploma to a master's degree but their duties to their patients are the same.
A behavioral health technician helps doctors and nurses with the treatment of patients who have various behavioral problems, such as substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental instability and physical and emotional abuse. These professionals often work in hospitals, shelters and mental health facilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), behavioral health technicians, also called psychiatric technicians, earned an average of $33,140 as of May 2012. Job growth for these technicians is expected to be below average, with a projected increase of 4% from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS.
A behavioral health technician is expected to understand and implement individual treatment plans, record patient behavior and provide a safe, supportive environment for the patients. Technicians may provide and record patient medications and assisting in daily activities.
Behavioral health technicians can find a job without a bachelor's degree if they have four years of experience working in the mental health field. Candidates with an associate's degree in a field related to behavioral health, such as psychology or substance abuse counseling, needs only two years experience. Candidates with a bachelor's degree can earn a position with only one-year of experience in the mental health profession. A candidate with a master's degree in a behavioral science can be hired directly out of college. Students can also often find internships while in the university to help gain experience. All degree ranges will receive extensive on-the-job training.
A variety of organizations provide certification for behavioral health technicians and many employers require certification either before, or as soon as possible after, hiring. Certification insures the candidate is aware and understands all state laws regarding patients' rights and the consequences for breaking those laws.
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