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How to Become a Behavioral Health Technician

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Embarking on a career in behavioral health is a transformative journey, filled with opportunities to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals facing mental health and substance abuse challenges. Renowned for its commitment to compassionate and holistic care, Banyan Treatment Centers provides a nurturing environment for dedicated professionals to contribute to the transformative journey of individuals on the path to recovery. Below, we share how to become a behavioral health technician, including education requirements, certification, and what a day on the job would be like.

What Is a Behavioral Health Technician?

A behavioral health technician (BHT) is a healthcare professional who works in behavioral health, assisting individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues. A behavioral health technician's main role is to provide support and care to clients under the supervision of licensed mental health professionals, such as psychologists, counselors, or social workers.

Key behavioral health technician duties include:

  • Client support: Providing people with emotional support and motivation who are battling issues related to mental health or substance abuse.
  • Observation and monitoring: Keeping track of and recording clients' actions, development, and any modifications to their condition. Keeping thorough records of observations and interactions may be necessary for this.
  • Assistance with daily activities: Assisting clients as needed with daily tasks like meal preparation, personal hygiene, and housework.
  • Crisis Intervention: Helping in emergencies and giving people in crisis or emotional distress prompt support.
  • Implementation of treatment plans: Collaborating with treatment teams to put the therapeutic approaches and techniques listed in their clients’ treatment plans into practice.
  • Group facilitation: Directing or supporting group therapy sessions or initiatives targeting behavioral health concerns.
  • Communication: Keeping lines of communication open and efficient with patients, their families, and other treatment team members.
  • Advocacy: Assisting patients in accessing the right resources and speaking up for their needs and rights within the healthcare system.

A high school degree or its equivalent is frequently required, though not all behavioral health technicians must meet this level of education. Further education or certification in fields like crisis intervention, behavioral management, or mental health first aid may be necessary for some jobs.

It is crucial to remember that the precise responsibilities and qualifications of behavioral health technicians can change based on the environment in which they operate, including residential treatment centers, hospitals, community mental health centers, and addiction treatment facilities.

Behavioral Health Technician Salary

A behavioral health technician typically makes $24.01 per hour. Compared to the current US average of $37.97, this is 58% less. As with most job positions or careers, a behavioral health technician’s salary depends on the state in which the individual is employed.

How Do I Become a Certified Behavioral Health Technician?

How to become a registered behavioral health technician varies but usually requires completing coursework, receiving training, and earning certification. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it is vital to check with the appropriate state regulatory board or licensing agency, as the specific requirements may differ from state to state. However, here is a general outline of how to become a behavioral health technician:

Behavioral Health Technician Education Requirements

Becoming a behavioral health technician requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Some positions may also require an associate degree or coursework in psychology, social work, or a related field.

Additionally, many behavioral health technicians gain practical experience through on-the-job training or internships. Some employers may provide training programs that cover essential skills and knowledge related to behavioral health.

Behavioral Health Technician Certification

Becoming a certified behavioral health technician can improve your credibility and employment prospects, even though it's not always required. Some certifications may require passing an examination. The Florida Certification Board (FCB) provides the most widely accepted certification for behavioral health technicians.

Also, you need to have completed a behavioral health technician training program and have a high school diploma or equivalent to be eligible for CBHT certification through the FCB. The FCB has designated content areas that should be covered in the training program.

Additionally, after obtaining certification, you may be required to participate in continuing education to maintain and renew your certification. This ensures that you stay updated on best practices and current developments in the field.

As we previously mentioned, states may have different certification requirements and processes, and requirements and certifications may differ as well. It's also advisable to find out what specific qualifications employers in your area are looking for in behavioral health technicians, as they may have particular preferences or requirements.

A Typical Workday for a Behavioral Health Technician

A typical workday for a behavioral health technician can vary based on the setting, the specific facility or program, and the needs of the individuals receiving care. However, here is a general overview of what a typical workday might look like for a behavioral health technician:

  • Morning briefing:
    • Begin the day with a briefing or team meeting to discuss any valuable information or updates about clients.
    • Review the schedule and assignments for the day.
  • Client interaction and support:
    • Engage with clients on a one-on-one basis, providing emotional support and encouragement.
    • Assist clients with morning routines, including personal hygiene and meal preparation.
  • Group activities:
    • Lead or assist in group therapy sessions or activities. This may include educational sessions, therapeutic groups, or recreational activities designed to promote social interaction and skill-building.
  • Observation and documentation:
    • Continuously observe and monitor clients' behaviors.
    • Document interactions, interventions, and any notable changes in clients' conditions.
  • Crisis intervention:
    • Be prepared to respond to and manage any crises that may arise.
    • Use crisis intervention techniques to de-escalate tension and ensure the safety of clients and staff.
  • Collaboration with the treatment team:
    • Collaborate with other members of the treatment team, such as psychologists, social workers, counselors, and medical staff.
    • Participate in case conferences or team meetings to discuss individualized treatment plans.
  • Client education:
    • Provide education to clients on coping skills, stress management, and other relevant topics.
    • Support clients in developing and practicing healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Assistance with daily living:
    • Assist clients with daily living activities as needed, including medication management and ensuring adherence to treatment plans.
  • Advocacy and support:
    • Advocate for clients' needs and rights within the healthcare system.
    • Assist clients in accessing additional support services or resources.
  • Documentation and paperwork:
    • Complete required paperwork, including progress notes, treatment plans, and incident reports.
    • Ensure that all documentation is accurate, timely, and in compliance with regulations.
  • Afternoon and evening activities:
    • Continue engaging with clients in therapeutic activities and providing support.
    • Assist with evening routines and activities.
  • Shift handover:
    • Conclude the day with a shift handover, providing information to the next shift about any significant events, changes, or concerns.

It's crucial to remember that the schedule and activities can change depending on the kind of facility (such as an outpatient clinic, residential treatment center, or inpatient psychiatric unit) and the clientele's requirements. In this position, it is essential to have flexibility, excellent communication skills, and the capacity to adjust to changing circumstances.

Finding Behavioral Health Technician Jobs Near Me

If you are passionate about making a positive impact in behavioral healthcare and are seeking a rewarding career as a behavioral health technician, consider exploring job opportunities at Banyan Treatment Centers. Banyan is a renowned provider of addiction treatment services known for its commitment to compassionate and comprehensive care.

With a focus on holistic well-being, our addiction treatment centers are dedicated to fostering a supportive and growth-oriented work environment. As an organization that is continually expanding its reach and impact, we are always hiring dedicated professionals who share a commitment to helping individuals on their journey to recovery.

If you are looking to contribute to the field of behavioral health and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others, we encourage you to explore the open positions at our Banyan rehab locations and consider joining our dynamic team.

We have also created guides on other positions in the addiction and mental health care fields:

Additionally, if you or a loved one requires addiction or mental health treatment, Banyan offers care in numerous locations across the country. Call us today at 888-280-4763 or reach out to us online to find out more about our services.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.