How to Become a Psych Tech

Learn about the education and training needed to become a psych tech. Find out what skills you need to succeed in this field and what kind of salary you can expect to earn.

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What is a Psych Tech?

Psychiatric technicians, also called psych techs, work under the supervision of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals. They provide direct patient care and perform a variety of duties, such as administering medication, conducting group and individual therapy sessions, and leading recreational activities. If you’re interested in becoming a psych tech, read on to learn more about the job and what it takes to succeed in this field.

Job Description

Psych techs work under the supervision of licensed mental health professionals to provide care and treatment to patients with mental illness. They work closely with patients to help them recover and cope with their illness. Psych techs may also provide support to families and loved ones of patients.

In order to become a psych tech, you will need to complete an accredited training program. Many community colleges offer psych tech programs, and some hospitals may have their own training programs as well. Once you have completed a training program, you will need to obtain a license from your state’s licensing board.


Psych techs can make a pretty decent wage. The average salary for a psych tech is $30,000 a year. However, there is a wide range of salaries, with some psych techs making as little as $22,000 per year and others making as much as $41,000 per year. The salary you can expect to make will depend on your level of experience, education, and the specific job you take.

Education and Training Requirements

A psych tech is a medical professional who works with patients who have mental health issues. The job requires a certain amount of formal education, as well as on-the-job training.

There are no specific educational requirements to become a psych tech, but most employers prefer to hire candidates who have at least an associate’s degree in psychology or a related field. Many psych techs also have certification from the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians (AAPT).

Once hired, psych techs must complete a period of on-the-job training. This training typically lasts for several weeks and covers topics such as patient care, safety procedures, and ethical considerations. After completing their training, psych techs are typically supervised by a licensed psychiatrist or other medical professional.

How to Become a Psych Tech

The Psych Tech field is perfect for those who have an interest in psychology and want to help others. The job itself is very important as Psych Techs work closely with patients who have mental health issues. If you want to become a Psych Tech, there are a few things you need to do.

Step One: Complete a High School Education or Equivalent

The first step to becoming a psych tech is to complete a high school education or obtain an equivalent, such as a GED. After completing high school, you should consider completing a postsecondary education program in psychology, which can offer you the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to work in this field.

Step Two: Enroll in an Associate’s Degree Program in Psychology

Completing an accredited associate’s degree program in psychology is the second step toward becoming a psych tech. During your studies, you will likely take courses in abnormal psychology, psychopathology, and developmental psychology. Your program will also introduce you to various research methods and statistical analysis techniques.

Step Three: Complete an Internship or Practicum

An internship or practicum is often required or strongly recommended as part of the academic requirements for becoming a psych tech. Check with your program advisor to see if your school has relationships with local hospitals or clinics that offer this type of training. If not, you may be able to arrange your own internship by contacting a facility directly. Be sure to get all the details in writing before you begin, including the number of hours required, days and times you will be expected to work, and what type of tasks you will be performing.

Step Four: Obtain Certification

The fourth and final step to becoming a psych tech is to obtain certification. Although certification is not required in all states, it may be required by some employers. Those who are interested in pursuing certification can do so through the American Certification Board for technicians.

What are the Job Duties of a Psych Tech?

A psych tech is a professional who provides support to patients with mental health conditions. Psych techs work closely with patients, families, and mental health professionals to provide care and support. They may also provide case management and crisis intervention services.

Assisting Psychologists and Psychiatrists

Psychological technicians typically do the following:

-Maintain composure when working with patients who may be combative or distraught
-Gather information from patients, family members, or other professionals to help assess patients’ mental health
-Lead group therapy sessions or recreational activities
-Teach patients life skills, such as anger management or coping with anxiety
-Provide support and guidance to patients’ family members
-Administer and score psychological tests
-Make referrals to other mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists or social workers

Maintaining Patient Records

Maintaining patient records is one of the most important job duties of a psych tech. In order to provide quality care, psych techs must have up-to-date information on each patient’s medical history, medications, treatment plan, and progress. This information is used to make decisions about a patient’s care and to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.

Conducting Research

Psych techs often conduct research under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. This may involve administering surveys or psychological tests, coding and entering data, and writing reports.

Assisting in the Treatment of Patients

Psych techs work under the supervision of mental health professionals to provide care and assistance to patients with mental illness. They may work in hospitals, clinics, residential treatment facilities, or private practices.

Psych techs typically have an associate’s degree in psychology or a related field, and many states require them to be licensed or certified. The job duties of a psych tech vary depending on the setting in which they work, but they generally include assisting in the treatment of patients, providing support to patients and their families, documenting patient progress, and leading groups.

What are the Career Prospects for a Psych Tech?

The demand for mental health services is on the rise, and with it, the demand for qualified psych techs. A psych tech is a vital member of the mental health team, providing support and assistance to patients with mental illness. If you’re interested in a career in mental health, here’s what you need to know about becoming a psych tech.

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that job opportunities for psychiatric technicians and aides will grow by 11% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Several factors will contribute to this growth. An aging population will need more mental health services, and there will be an increase in the number of people with mental illness who seek treatment. In addition, as awareness of mental illness and its effects grows, more people are likely to seek treatment for themselves or their family members.


As of 2019, the median hourly wage for psychiatric technicians was $17.06, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.09, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.31.

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