Care for individuals with mental or emotional conditions or disabilities, following the instructions of physicians or other health practitioners. Monitor patients’ physical and emotional well-being and report to medical staff. May participate in rehabilitation and treatment programs, help with personal hygiene, and administer oral or injectable medications.
Sample of reported job titles: Behavioral Health Technician, Health Care Technician, Licensed Psychiatric Technician (LPT), Mental Health Assistant (MHA), Mental Health Associate, Mental Health Specialist, Mental Health Technician (MHT), Mental Health Worker, Psychiatric Technician (PT), Residential Aide (RA)
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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
- Take and record measures of patients’ physical condition, using devices such as thermometers or blood pressure gauges.
- Monitor patients’ physical and emotional well-being and report unusual behavior or physical ailments to medical staff.
- Provide nursing, psychiatric, or personal care to mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or mentally retarded patients.
- Observe and influence patients’ behavior, communicating and interacting with them and teaching, counseling, or befriending them.
- Collaborate with or assist doctors, psychologists, or rehabilitation therapists in working with mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or developmentally disabled patients to treat, rehabilitate, and return patients to the community.
- Encourage patients to develop work skills and to participate in social, recreational, or other therapeutic activities that enhance interpersonal skills or develop social relationships.
- Restrain violent, potentially violent, or suicidal patients by verbal or physical means as required.
- Train or instruct new employees on procedures to follow with psychiatric patients.
- Develop or teach strategies to promote client wellness and independence.
- Administer oral medications or hypodermic injections, following physician’s prescriptions and hospital procedures.
- Issue medications from dispensary and maintain records in accordance with specified procedures.
- Aid patients in performing tasks, such as bathing or keeping beds, clothing, or living areas clean.
- Lead prescribed individual or group therapy sessions as part of specific therapeutic procedures.
- Interview new patients to complete admission forms, to assess their mental health status, or to obtain their mental health and treatment history.
- Escort patients to medical appointments.
- Contact patients’ relatives to arrange family conferences.
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- Inventory management software — InfoLogix HealthTrax Engine
- Medical software — Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager; GE Healthcare Centricity EMR; MEDITECH Behavioral Health Clinicals; Netsmart Technologies Avatar Clinical Workstation CWS (see all 8 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- 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.
- 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.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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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.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- 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).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- 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.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
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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.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- 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.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- 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.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Examine patients to assess general physical condition.
- Operate diagnostic or therapeutic medical instruments or equipment.
- Record patient medical histories.
- Inform medical professionals regarding patient conditions and care.
- Care for patients with mental illnesses.
- Treat patients using psychological therapies.
- Administer intravenous medications.
- Administer non-intravenous medications.
- Interact with patients to build rapport or provide emotional support.
- Maintain inventory of medical supplies or equipment.
- Maintain medical facility records.
- Assist patients with hygiene or daily living activities.
- Assist healthcare practitioners during examinations or treatments.
- Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
- Encourage patients or clients to develop life skills.
- Position patients for treatment or examination.
- Train medical providers.
- Teach health management classes.
- Collect medical information from patients, family members, or other medical professionals.
- Move patients to or from treatment areas.
- Perform clerical work in medical settings.
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- Work With Work Group or Team — 82% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 79% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 91% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 61% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Physical Proximity
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 47% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 28% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 45% responded “Extremely important.”
- Deal With Physically Aggressive People — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 39% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Electronic Mail — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 41% responded “Very important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 32% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 19% responded “Moderate results.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 11% responded “More than half the time.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 34% responded “Every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 38% responded “Serious.”
- Spend Time Standing — 39% responded “More than half the time.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 52% responded “40 hours.”
- Level of Competition — 48% responded “Moderately competitive.”
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|Not available||High school diploma or equivalent
|Not available||Master’s degree|
|Not available||Post-baccalaureate certificate
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Interest code: SER 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.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- 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.
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- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- 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.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- 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.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related 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)||$16.84 hourly, $35,030 annual|
|Employment (2020)||91,600 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Faster than average (10% to 15%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||8,000|
|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 Psychological Association
- National Board for Certified Counselors
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Psychiatric technicians and aides
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