Psychiatric technicians work under the direction of psychiatrists, psychologists and other medical personnel, often in psychiatric hospitals but also in long-term care facilities and general hospitals. Psychiatric technicians observe patient behavior, administer medication and lead group therapy sessions. Psychiatric technician jobs usually require a post-secondary certification or an associate's degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only Arkansas, California, Colorado, and Kansas require that psychiatric technicians be licensed.
As of May 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual salary of a psychiatric technician is $31,370, or $15.08 per hour. Approximately 69,840 psychiatric technicians are employed nationwide. The median-earning 50 percent of all psychiatric technicians working in the United States reported annual incomes ranging from $21,760 to $37,630. The highest-paid 10 percent made $51,200 or more.
Pay by Employment Situation:
As of 2011, nearly 24,000 psychiatric technicians were employed by psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, earning an average of $34,170 per year. Another 24,000 were employed by state government institutions, and averaged considerably less -- just $27,810 per year. Those working for general hospitals earned an average of $33,150, while those who worked in residential facilities made an average of $24,920.
Pay by State:
On average, psychiatric technicians employed in the state of California earned more than those in any other state as of 2011 -- $52,280 per year. Connecticut ranked second at $46,360, followed by New Jersey at $43,610, New York at $39,890, Alaska at $39,800, Vermont at $39,710 and Washington at $39,200. The lowest average pay for this occupation, just $18,600, was reported in Texas. The highest-paying metropolitan area was the Harrisburg-Carlisle metropolitan area of Pennsylvania, with an average of $58,370 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts all occupations in the United States economy to add jobs at an average rate of 14 percent between the years 2010 and 2020. Jobs for psychiatric technicians are expected to grow at a similar rate of about 15 percent, leading to an estimated 11,600 psychiatric technician jobs by the year 2020. The Bureau predicts that the greatest number of jobs for psychiatric technicians will be available in long-term care facilities, pyschiatric hospitals and prisons.