Psychiatric Aides

social interests patient treatment nursing emotional support assistance recreational activity mentally impaired patients medical staff

Mental Health Worker (MHW), Psychiatric Aide, Residential Care Tech (Residential Care Technician), Therapeutic Program Worker (TPW)

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:
  • Listen and provide emotional support and encouragement to psychiatric patients.
  • Provide patients with cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities with routine physical, emotional, psychological, or rehabilitation care under the direction of nursing or medical staff.
  • Complete physical checks and monitor patients to detect unusual or harmful behavior and report observations to professional staff.


Math and Science

  • psychology
  • sociology and anthropology


  • customer service
  • administrative services

Arts and Humanities

  • English language


  • therapy and counseling


Basic Skills

  • talking to others
  • keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements


  • looking for ways to help people
  • understanding people's reactions

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
  • use rules to solve problems


  • 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:

  • Concern for Others
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Self Control
  • Cooperation
  • Dependability
  • Social Orientation


You might use software like this on the job:

Electronic mail software

  • Email software
  • Microsoft Outlook Hot Technology

Presentation software

  • Microsoft PowerPoint Hot Technology

Spreadsheet software

  • Microsoft Excel Hot Technology


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

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Job Outlook

New job opportunities are very likely in the future.
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See more details at O*NET OnLine about psychiatric aides.