Assist mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients, working under direction of nursing and medical staff. May assist with daily living activities, lead patients in educational and recreational activities, or accompany patients to and from examinations and treatments. May restrain violent patients. Includes psychiatric orderlies.
Sample of reported job titles: Mental Health Aide (MHA), Mental Health Worker (MHW), Psychiatric Aide, Psychiatric Nursing Aide, Psychiatric Nursing Assistant, Resident Care Technician, Therapeutic Program Worker (TPW)
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Record and maintain patient information, such as vital signs, eating habits, behavior, progress notes, treatments, or discharge plans.
- Listen and provide emotional support and encouragement to psychiatric patients.
- Complete physical checks and monitor patients to detect unusual or harmful behavior and report observations to professional staff.
- Restrain or aid patients as necessary to prevent injury.
- Serve meals or feed patients needing assistance or persuasion.
- Work as part of a team that may include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, or social workers.
- Clean and disinfect rooms and furnishings to maintain a safe and orderly environment.
- Provide mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients with routine physical, emotional, psychological, or rehabilitation care under the direction of nursing or medical staff.
- Maintain patients’ restrictions to assigned areas.
- Provide patients with assistance in bathing, dressing, or grooming, demonstrating these skills as necessary.
- Aid patients in becoming accustomed to hospital routine.
- Organize, supervise, or encourage patient participation in social, educational, or recreational activities.
- Perform nursing duties, such as administering medications, measuring vital signs, collecting specimens, or drawing blood samples.
- Accompany patients to and from wards for medical or dental treatments, shopping trips, or religious or recreational events.
- Participate in recreational activities with patients, including card games, sports, or television viewing.
- Complete administrative tasks, such as entering orders into computer, answering telephone calls, or maintaining medical or facility information.
- Interview patients upon admission and record information.
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- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
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- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
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- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
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- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Encourage patients during therapeutic activities.
- Maintain medical records.
- Record vital statistics or other health information.
- Assess physical conditions of patients to aid in diagnosis or treatment.
- Monitor patients to detect health problems.
- Hold patients to ensure proper positioning or safety.
- Feed patients.
- Confer with other professionals to plan patient care.
- Care for patients with mental illnesses.
- Clean patient rooms or patient treatment rooms.
- Perform clerical work in medical settings.
- Assist patients with daily activities.
- Collect biological specimens from patients.
- Give medications or immunizations.
- Interview patients to gather medical information.
- Accompany patients or clients on outings to provide assistance.
- Engage patients in exercises or activities.
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- Face-to-Face Discussions — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 58% responded “Very close (near touching).”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 73% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Contact With Others — 72% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 67% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 46% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With Physically Aggressive People — 46% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 44% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 31% responded “Very important.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 36% responded “Extremely important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “Some freedom.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 51% responded “More than half the time.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 29% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 34% responded “More than half the time.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 58% responded “40 hours.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 37% responded “Very important results.”
- Letters and Memos — 28% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 47% responded “Some freedom.”
- Consequence of Error — 27% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 48% responded “Less than half the time.”
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|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|63||High school diploma or equivalent
|16||Some college, no degree|
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Interest code: SRC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
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- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
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- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$15.18 hourly, $31,570 annual|
|Employment (2020)||54,100 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Average (5% to 10%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||7,200|
|Top industries (2020)||
Health Care and Social Assistance
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Association of Psychiatric Technicians
- American Psychiatric Association
- National Education Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Psychiatric technicians and aides
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