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Psychiatric Technology


Psychiatric technology programs prepare people to assist mental health care professionals with patient care. These programs are sometimes called psychiatric technician programs.

Students learn to give medicine to patients. They learn to assist with treatment plans and perform clerical duties.

Psychiatric technology programs include topics such as:

Psychiatric technicians are people who help patients with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, and emotional problems. They sometimes also help people with drug or alcohol addiction. They work with nurses, doctors, and social workers to make sure patients take their medicines correctly. They also help patients with daily skills such as bathing and dressing. In addition, psychiatric technicians help patients learn how to change their behavior so that they get along with others in social situations. They also run group meetings where patients talk about their problems. Usually psychiatric technicians work in hospitals, mental health clinics, day treatment centers, or nursing homes.


Many community colleges and technical schools offer certificate and associate degree programs in psychiatric technology. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program at a community college usually takes two years of full-time study to complete.

Very few colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in psychiatric technology. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Very few universities offer graduate degrees in psychiatric technology. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Some programs require applicants to:

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

In most psychiatric technology programs, students are required to gain clinical experience. Typically this means that you work for a minimum number of hours with patients. You can work in a hospital, a nursing home for the mentally ill, a halfway house, or at a substance abuse center. Students perform duties such as meeting with patients, writing reports, giving medicines, and taking patients' vital signs. Students are closely supervised by a doctor, nurse, social worker, or psychiatrist.

Through clinical experience, students learn to apply their course work to real-life situations. Clinical time also gives students valuable experience that they can use to apply for jobs after they finish school and become licensed.

Things to Know

As a psychiatric technician, you almost always must pass an exam and get a license from your state.


King-Snohomish Area

Edmonds Community College