Field of Study: Psychiatric Technology
Psychiatric technology programs prepare people to assist mental health care professionals with patient care. Students learn to give medicine to patients. They learn to assist with treatment plans and perform clerical duties.
Some people are very interested in the mental health professions, but for a variety of reasons do not want to spend long years studying for an advanced degree. If this describes your situation, then a psychiatric technology program may be the choice for you.
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.
In psychiatric technology programs, you take courses in anatomy, pharmacology (how drugs and medicines affect the brain), and nursing skills. You also take courses in psychiatric care. You study different mental illnesses, disabilities, and emotional problems. You learn how to communicate with patients and how to make sure they are eating and exercising well. In addition, you learn how to keep medical records, give medicines, and take a patient's pulse and blood pressure.
The length of psychiatric technology programs varies. There are one- or two-year certificate programs and two-year associate degree programs. Programs are usually offered at community colleges and occasionally through hospitals.