Schools in the USA
Back to Career Search     

Psychiatric Aide


Some of us are perfectly healthy physically, but have troubles with our mental health. Some people are born with developmental difficulties, while others develop them due to brain injuries. Some people become mentally ill due to genetics, chemical imbalances, or trauma. Some of these mental difficulties are surmountable, while others are incurable, and people living with them must learn to cope with them, adapting to their unique ways of thinking and interacting with the world around them.

Often, people with mental obstacles to overcome live in mental hospitals, or in residences for people with mental illness or mental impairment. Often, patients live independently, and check into hospitals when they are undergoing tests, or are experiencing difficulties adjusting to life and handling situations.

Psychiatric aides work in hospitals, clinics, and sometimes with outpatients, providing physical, psychological, and rehabilitative care for the patients. They do everything from plan, implement, and supervise activities, teach daily living skills, and maintain records of behavioral changes, to tidying up rooms, assisting with feeding and changing, and visiting with the patients, listening to their stories and answering any questions they can.

Psychiatric aides do not have an easy job. They work long, hard hours in difficult environments. The job can be stressful and frustrating, but also fulfilling when patients make progress. The goal of anyone working with mentally ill or challenged patients is to facilitate independent living and thinking for the patients. By working so closely with the patients, psychiatric aides play an important role in this independence process. They help develop trust, self-reliance, and friendship in those who need it most.
View Schools for this Career: 
         Related Careers
arrow Advanced Care Paramedic
arrow Anesthesiologists
arrow Animal Care Worker
arrow [ view all related careers ]

Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
Baker College Online

Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.

Programs Offered:
  • Psychology - Bachelor
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology - MSIOP (Master's)



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Psychiatric aides need be strong, both physically and emotionally. This is difficult and often emotional work and they need to be caring, tolerant, patient, and determined to help people. Psychiatric aides must be understanding and they need to feel comfortable around the mentally ill, the elderly, and the families of patients. They are good at following instructions and protocol. They must also be able to stay calm in the stressful situations that can arise in this occupation. They need to have good listening and communication skills and the ability to be sensitive to the needs of people from a variety of backgrounds.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Help patients with daily activities such as dressing, eating, and washing
  • Change bed linen
  • Serve food and drinks, feeding patients when necessary
  • Supervise exercise routines and other activities
  • Maintain a clean, orderly, and safe environment
  • Clean medical equipment and instruments
  • Supply and empty bed pans
  • Perform clerical and phone duties
  • Record and report patient behaviors
  • Take residents to appointments, shopping centers, and recreational facilities
  • Instruct daily living skills
  • Maintain inventory of supplies
  • Psychiatric aides have a variety of responsibilities. Generally a typical day will involve working closely with patients, assisting them in daily tasks. They try and control behavior while still allowing the patient to be in as much control as possible over their own experiences. Psychiatric aides will work closely with their patients, as well as meet regularly with supervisors or senior nursing staff to discuss patient issues. Psychiatric aides who provide home care travel throughout their communities, while psychiatric aides in hospitals spend most of each day indoors in the same building.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Psychiatric aides work in general hospitals, mental hospitals, and seniors' care facilities. Some find work with agencies which provide home care service to people requiring assistance. They can work full- or part-time. They may work odd hours, including evenings, weekends, and overnight. Generally, they work alone with the patients, or alongside nurses, and report regularly to supervisors and management.
  • Like any work in the health care field, there is some exposure to disease, toxic chemicals, and body fluids, and the aide must take necessary precautions at all times.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Psychiatric aides can leave the field of mental health, and find work at a general hospital, a nursing home, or get into home care. Some go on to become registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, therapists, and social workers. They can also start up their own agencies, and supervise aides who provide home care.

  Educational Paths  
There are some nurse aide programs available at colleges, but there is no required program to follow for those interested in becoming psychiatric aides. Generally, employers look for people with first aid certification, as well as some postsecondary courses at college or university, in social science, first aid, psychology, or health care. Most employees receive intensive training once they are hired.

Employers also like applicants with some experience working with mentally ill or challenged people, so volunteer work in a hospital, recreation center, or school is a good idea for anyone interested in working as a psychiatric aide.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
Baker College Online  Online

Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.

Programs Offered:
  • Psychology - Bachelor
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology - MSIOP (Master's)
Campus Locations:
  • Willis, MI

Keiser University Graduate School  Online

For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

Programs Offered:
  • PhD in Psychology
  • PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Campus Locations:
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL

Liberty University  Online

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

Programs Offered:
  • AA in Psychology
Campus Locations:
  • Lynchburg, VA

Argosy University  Online

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

Programs Offered:
  • Psychology (BA) (Online)
  • Forensic Psychology (MA) (Online)
Campus Locations:
  • Phoenix, AZ

Post University Online  Online

At Post University, we believe you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold to further your education.

Programs Offered:
  • B.A. in Psychology
Campus Locations:
  • Waterbury, CT

University of the Rockies  Online

Join the community of thought leaders at University of the Rockies. Pursue your graduate degree from the University’s School of Professional Psychology or School of Organizational Leadership.

Programs Offered:
  • MA in Psychology, General Psychology
  • MA in Psychology, Health and Wellness Psychology
  • Doctor of Psychology, Sports and Performance Psychology
  • more programs...
Campus Locations:
  • , CO

University of Southern California  Online

One of the world's leading private research institutions, the University of Southern California (USC) was founded in 1880.

Programs Offered:
  • Online Master of Science in Applied Psychology
Campus Locations:
  • Los Angeles, CA

Sacred Heart University - Online  Online

Sacred Heart University Online 

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Science in Applied Psychology
  • Master of Science in Applied Psychology - Community Psychology
  • Master of Science in Applied Psychology - Industrial Organizational Psychology
Campus Locations:
  • , CT

Northcentral University  Online

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

Programs Offered:
  • Psychology - BA
  • General Psychology - PhD of Psychology
  • Health Psychology - PhD of Psychology
  • more programs...
Campus Locations:
  • San Diego, CA

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology  Online
Pursue a certificate, master, or doctorate degree in Psychology at The Chicago School for Professional Psychology.
Programs Offered:
  • M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis
  • M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy Specialization
  • Psy.D. Applied Clinical Psychology
  • more programs...
Campus Locations:
  • Irvine, CA

Matching School Ads
  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Oregon
University of OttawaYork University
Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
| Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Policy Statement | Site Map | Cities Site Map

Copyright 2003- 2016 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.