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What Is a Behavioral Technician and How to Become One

What Does a Behavioral Technician Do?

A Behavioral Technician provides mental health services to patients who struggle with a variety of behavioral problems, including psychiatric disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and physical and emotional abuse. Behavioral Health Technicians collaborate with doctors and nurses to carry out treatment plans for patients. The duties of Behavioral Technician include administering medications, helping patients participate in meetings and group counseling sessions, and even assisting with everyday living skills like dressing and eating.

How to Become a Behavioral Technician

If you have a desire to help people and want to become a Behavioral Technician, begin your journey by earning your high school diploma or GED at a minimum. To find employment at a potentially faster rate and for higher pay, you may want to continue your education by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in social work or psychology. You must also pursue certification to become a Registered Behavioral Technician, which shows employers your dedication to learning more about this field before applying for a position. Earning certification involves a minimum of 40 hours of specialized training and passing an exam. Some employers may offer on-the-job training and help you complete the certification process. Search for jobs in counseling centers, mental health agencies, homeless shelters and programs, and hospitals.

Where Do Behavioral Technicians Work?

Behavioral Technicians work in many settings, including mental health facilities, hospitals, schools, and shelters. Behavioral Health Technicians have many responsibilities, all with one common goal—to support psychiatric patients with their daily needs. Regardless of your work location, interaction with patients will dominate your work shifts. Skills such as patience, compassion, communication, and problem-solving will help you do your job well day after day.

What Is the Job Outlook for a Behavioral Technician?

Wherever people struggle with psychological issues, there’s a need for behavioral technicians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a six percent increase in Behavioral Health Technician jobs between 2016 and 2026. Behavioral technicians who graduate with a college degree in psychology or counseling have higher earning potential over the course of their careers.

How to Become a Behavioral Health Technician

The education requirements to become a Behavioral Health Technician include either a high school diploma or GED certificate followed by a certificate program or associate degree, as well as on-the-job training. Online programs exist for Behavioral Technician certification which some employers require. If you want to advance your career, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in counseling or psychology will qualify you for higher-paying positions.

Behavioral Technician Job Description Sample

With this Behavioral Technician job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Behavioral Technician role.

Job Summary

We are looking for a Behavioral Technician to join our patient care team. You provide support to patients as they follow their treatment plans and ensure they receive the care they need to address their behavioral issues. We are looking for someone who can accurately observe behavior and remain calm in emotionally stressful situations. As a Behavioral Technician, you should also feel comfortable providing guidance to family members. Our ideal candidate has either a two-year degree in psychology or a related field or professional experience interacting with people who have issues such as substance abuse or autism. Registered behavioral technicians (RBTs) with bilingual communication skills are preferred.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide one-on-one patient care
  • Observe and record patient behavior
  • Help implement treatment plans
  • Coordinate with health professionals and family members to ensure adequate care
  • Provide medication as instructed

Requirements and Qualifications

  • A high school diploma or GED certificate
  • An associate degree in psychology or another relevant field is preferred
  • RBT certification is acceptable in place of advanced educational qualifications
  • Physical ability necessary to help manage patient needs
  • Communication skills
  • Bilingual communication skills are preferred
  • Patience