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

  1. 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?


    PS I'm in northern va if that helps.
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    Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 17


  3. by   Meriwhen
    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.
    Last edit by Meriwhen on Jan 6, '13
  4. by   toughspot
    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.