What To Expect As A Behavioral Health Technician

behavioral health technician explaininig medication to patientBehavioral health technicians are responsible for supporting and assisting patients with mental or emotional issues. They work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, and workplaces. As a behavioral health technician, you will provide supportive services to patients who need help managing their emotions or coping with life challenges.

You may also help the patient develop new strategies for dealing with stress and anxiety. In addition to providing support services, you may also be involved in research projects related to mental illness or addiction. You should have experience working with patients and be comfortable interacting with people from diverse backgrounds.

Job Responsibilities

Job responsibilities typically include performing tasks such as administering medication, providing emotional support, and monitoring patient behavior. Behavioral health technicians may also be responsible for conducting assessments, counseling, and managing care plans. Some of the most common responsibilities in a typical day include:

Administering Medication

Some behavior health technicians may use an automated dispensing system that dispenses medications directly into the patient’s hand. Others may place the medicine in a pill bottle and give it to the patient to take with them.

Provide Emotional Support

Behavior health technicians provide emotional support to patients by providing information and resources, listening attentively, and offering assistance as needed. Behavior health technicians are trained in the art of crisis intervention and work with individuals who may be struggling with various behavioral issues such as addiction.

They understand that the patient’s experience is essential, so they take the time to listen carefully and offer support in whatever way possible, including emotional exercises. Behavior health technicians can help patients feel understood and supported during difficult times.

Monitor Patient Behavior

They typically monitor patient behavior by observing the patient and recording any observable behaviors such as their vital signs. Behavior health technicians may also ask the patient questions about their thoughts or feelings related to their behavior and may provide support or advice based on what they observe.

Provide Information

Behavior health technicians inform patients about their behaviors and how to change them. They may also help patients understand why they are engaging in certain behaviors and suggest ways to cope with those behaviors. Behavior health technicians may also provide education about mental and physical health issues.

Help With Daily Activities

They assist with activities of daily living, such as dressing, hygiene, bathing, and eating. They may also help with tasks that are difficult for the patient because of a mental or physical disability. Behavior health technicians work closely with doctors and other professionals to support patient care in their everyday lives.

Care Coordination

Behavior health technicians coordinate care for individuals with mental illness and their families. Behavior health technicians help coordinate appointments, medications, and other treatments to ensure that the individual receives the most effective care possible.

Discharge Planning

They assist with discharge planning by compiling a comprehensive plan that includes goals, objectives, and targets. Help the patient understand their protocol and how to best complete it. They help ensure patients are ready to live independently and make health care choices. Behavior health technicians help create an inpatient and discharge plan that meets those goals, objectives, and targets.

Maintain Patient Records

Behavior health technicians help to maintain patient records by recording patient information, such as name, address, and medical history. They may also enter data from medical charts into a computer system so other staff members who need to know can easily access it. Behavior health technicians may also provide support services to patients struggling with mental or emotional issues.

History Of Behavioral Health Technicians

Behavioral health technicians are a relatively new profession that is expected to grow. The first ones were hired in the early 1970s as psychiatric aides. There is a significant distinction between psychiatric aides and behavioral health technicians. Psychiatric aides are typically individuals who have undergone specific training in mental health care, while behavioral health technicians usually do not have any specialized training in the mental healthcare field.

The main difference between the two occupations is that psychiatric aides work primarily with patients with mental illnesses. In contrast, behavioral health technicians may work with patients who suffer from conditions such as anxiety and provide services to those suffering from addictions or substance abuse issues.

How To Become A Behavioral Health Technician

Requirements for this position vary by organization, but typically applicants must have an associate degree in psychiatric or behavioral science from a higher education accredited college or university. Employers also require the National Association of Behavioral Health Technicians (NABHT) certification.

Educational And Job Training Requirements

Most have a specialization in one or more areas of behavior therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family-based treatment (FBT), problem-solving therapies, and stress management techniques. Some behavioral health technicians may also have applied behavior analysis (ABA) training, a form of Behavior Therapy that uses reinforcement and punishment to change behaviors.

Required Certifications And Licenses

To become a BHT, you need to complete an accredited program that includes courses in psychology, psychiatric nursing, social work, and related disciplines. After completing your program, you will likely need to pass certification exams from organizations like the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), or the American Psychological Society.

Pros and Cons

The benefits of becoming a behavioral health technician are that they will have access to mental health resources, work in an environment where they can safely discuss sensitive topics, and receive training on providing care for people. The downside is that the job is often very fast-paced, and there may not be as much opportunity for advancement. In addition, the pay is usually lower than other health technician positions.

Related Career Paths

There are many related career paths. A behavioral health technician could work as a counselor or therapist in psychiatric hospitals, working with clients with addiction problems in a related field. They could also work in schools providing counseling and support to students with emotional issues such as anxiety.

A behavioral health technician could also work in rehabilitation facilities helping clients learn new coping mechanisms and behaviors. In addition, they can work in the private sector, supporting clients in various settings, such as businesses or homes to gain additional work experience.

Helpful Skills To Have

Whatever the specific path, they will need to have high-quality clinical skills and be able to work with various clients. They will also need excellent communication skills, organizational capabilities, and the ability to handle stress.

Tips For Dealing With Difficult Patients

Be aware of your biases and how they may affect how you interact with that patient. For example, if you are a person who tends to take things personally or get upset quickly, these tendencies may become amplified when dealing with someone who is struggling emotionally.

It is also important to remember that not all patients with mental health issues will behave in a manner that warrants disciplinary action; some may need assistance understanding their feelings or communicating them appropriately. Being patient and respectful while enforcing appropriate boundaries can be helpful.

There are a few things that can help when dealing with complex patients. First, be patient and understanding. Remember that not everyone will react the same way, so don’t get discouraged if your patient doesn’t seem to respond immediately. Second, take notes during the consultation and ensure you have all the necessary information before starting anything. It will help ensure that you give your patient the best care possible. Finally, be prepared to escalate the situation if necessary.


Behavior health technicians provide support such as counseling or medication or may oversee group sessions. They may also have a background in psychology or psychiatry, so they can understand the client’s situation and provide guidance on how best to address it.

BioScan can provide information about the patient’s physical and emotional well-being, including any abnormalities that may be causing problems. It is a valuable tool for a behavioral health technician and can help patients to understand their condition better and make informed decisions.


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