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Psychiatric Aides

Also called: Mental Health Technician (MHT), Mental Health Worker (MHW), Psychiatric Aide, Residential Counselor

Where in the military? In the military: see titles from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, or Marine Corps.

What they do:
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.
On the job, you would:
  • 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.


Math and Science
  • psychology
Arts and Humanities
  • English language
  • customer service
  • therapy and counseling


Basic Skills
  • keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
  • talking to others
  • understanding people's reactions
  • looking for ways to help people
Problem Solving
  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it


  • communicate by speaking
  • listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
  • notice when problems happen
  • make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
  • pay attention to something without being distracted


People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Self Control
  • Concern for Others
  • Integrity
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Dependability
  • Social Orientation


You might use software like this on the job:

Spreadsheet software
  • Microsoft Excel
Electronic mail software
  • Email software
Word processing software
  • Microsoft Word


Education: (rated 2 of 5)
high school diploma/GED or
some college
usually needed

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Job Outlook

Below Average Outlook
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.
per year, on average
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See more details at O*NET OnLine about psychiatric aides.