Inside Mental Health Technician Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises


"Wide Scope Of Practice...
I was surprised to find that I would be drawing blood from patients as well as assisting with group therapy. I was also surprised that I would be handing out food to patients instead of a people working in the cafe." (Mental Health Tech; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Psychology at Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"I was surprised to find that being a Rehabilitation Specialist would be as rewarding as it has been. Helping patients during recovery from alcohol and drug abuse is personally fulfilling and makes me feel like I am making a difference in the world. While I had always planned to be go back to receive my master's degree in psychology, my job has been so rewarding that I have no plans to go back at this time." (Rehabilitation Specialist; 2013)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Psychology at University Of Memphis in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 1998


"Consider A Graduate Degree Before Entering This Field...
I was surprised at the amount of paperwork/charting required in the mental health field. Especially when you are primarily funded by government programs, copious amounts of documentation is required. In addition, mental health is a field where status/salary/upward mobility is highly dependent on your level of education. This is due in part because billing amounts are dependent on your qualifications. Therefore, with an undergraduate degree you are going to be limited. I would recommend a minimum of a masters level degree to anyone interested in entering the mental health field." (Mental Health Paraprofessional; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Arkansas, male
School: Studied Psychology at Arkansas Tech University in Arkansas; completed Bachelor degree in 2001


"Salary The Same For Associate's And BA...
I think the thing that surprised me most about my career is that the pay was the same whether you had no degree, an associate degree or a BA in psychology. There was more pay for experience than for education so I never went back to get my BA." (Psychiatric Tech; 2013)

Career: 25 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Psychology at UT Of Knoxville in Tennessee; completed Associate degree in 1984

Career Background


Mental Health Technician

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Career Video

Career Tips


"Considerations Before Entering The Mental Health Field...
Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the lingo of the mental health field. You will be expected to utilize words such as blunted, euthymic, and labile, in your day to day documentation. Also, consider obtaining a masters level degree before entering into the field." (Mental Health Paraprofessional; 2013)


"Continue Education...
I would advise to continue on to a masters in psychology, being a mental health tech is an ok job but if you want to actually do therapy or individual therapy a BA isn't going to get you that." (Mental Health Tech; 2013)


"Keep Your Options Open...
Keep an open mind to career options that you may not have envisioned yourself doing. I always thought I would want to be a doctor, but I am so glad that I decided to try a career path that wasn't on my radar before." (Rehabilitation Specialist; 2013)