Psychiatric Aide Career Guide


Psychiatric aides or nursing assistants are professionals known for providing a helping hand to seniors at work. They assist mentally ill, disturbed or disabled people by working with them in various ways. Their assistance provides proper treatment to patients thus making them an important part of the healthcare team. These assistants must have a compassionate and sympathetic nature to gel with and communicate with people. A career in this field might be a good idea and may take you to top levels in psychiatry. It is a medical specialty which focuses on studying and treating mental disorders.

Job Duties

Psychiatric aide practitioners treat mentally disturbed patients and those who are disabled. Their illnesses can only be treated through providing the appropriate care. Thus practitioners make sure all tasks are completed on time and dealt with properly. They must give preference to the hygienic conditions of patients. This is possible only by operating in a proper mental healthcare facility and ensuring that it is a safe and tidy environment. They monitor patients thoroughly and assist them in various tasks. Their work may include bathing and dressing patients. After this, they get meals for patients and help them eat as well. They may also change linens of the bedding to ensure hygiene and comfort.

Sometimes, psychiatric aides have to guide people in therapeutic activities; sometimes by participating in group activities. They may even have to handle patients who have become physically aggressive. They are an active part of the healthcare team – they assist lots of healthcare professionals including psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists and nurses. Being close to patients, these practitioners have a great influence on them, so proper care and affection are necessary to help them recover from illnesses.

Job Outlook

Psychiatric aides are needed in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, residential mental retardation projects, mental health and substance abuse facilities, general medical and surgical hospitals and for individual and family services. Nearly 71,570 people are working in this field, according to a survey held by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2011.


On average, psychiatric aides are paid $27,270 annually according to an estimate by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2011. The highest paid facility is of nursing care, where these individuals are paid $29,640 per year.

Education Requirements

If you intend to help people and understand their pain, then you must pursue this field of study. For that you might need a high school diploma. Once enrolled, your courses of study may include psychology and healthcare technology. While there are no certification requirements in almost all the states, those interested in this career could have a great start with on-the-job training. Some of these jobs also require a driver’s license because at times there might be a need to transfer patients for checkups or in cases of an emergency.

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