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How does one become a Psychiatric Tech (Behaviorial Health Tech) exactly?

Psychiatric   (1,982 Views 3 Comments)
by hamdog hamdog (Member) Member

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I am currently a CNA and my dream is to become a psych tech. It seems to be very, very hard to find information on how to become a psych tech (except in CA--where there is a set program). I am in school studying psychology. Can any techs or nurses shine light on how to get into this specialty? Is it even worth it?

Thanks!

PS I'm in northern va if that helps.

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Meriwhen is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

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A CA psych tech (LPT) is similar to a LPN/LVN. LPTs are not nurses but can pass medications and do several (but not all) the things that a LPN/LVN can do. They are licensed by the CA Board of Licensed Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT - Psychiatric Technician).

There are also mental health associates (MHAs)--these are unlicensed positions whose duties are similar to those of CNAs/care partners/techs in medical hospitals...just with a psych focus. The level of education required for a MHA is nowhere near that of a LPT.

In VA, psych techs are not licensed because tech jobs essentially like the MHAs described above.

To get hired as a psych tech, check out the job listings at your local psych hospital/psych unit and when you see postings for a tech position, apply for it. It usually helps if you have experience or a background in psych, so your being a psych student could help your chances.

Edited by Meriwhen

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Most of the psychiatric techs I know carry 4 year degrees in behavioral sciences of some kind, namely BSc's in either sociology or psychology.

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