Mineral Area College is launching a new eight-week Psychiatric Technician program in January. The program will not be eligible for college credit, but students may still be eligible for tuition assistance through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) or SkillUP.
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Pam Watkins, director of MAC Continuing Education, said the demand is high for Psych Techs in our area, with 100 hires annually between Southeast Missouri Behavioral Health and Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center (SMMHC).
“The Psych Tech program has been developed in response to the needs of the behavioral health facilities in our area,” she said. “Our partnership will help provide much-needed trained professionals to begin mental health care careers.”
The curriculum will consist of seven weeks of classroom training and one week of clinicals. Students will learn the skills and responsibilities of a psychiatric tech which includes observing and assisting mental health patients with daily living activities, therapeutic activities, and socialization. They will be taught to take and record vital signs as well as proper safety procedures.
Classes will be held for three hours each day, Tuesday-Friday, for seven weeks beginning Tuesday, Jan. 18. For students who wish to begin working immediately, both SEMO Behavioral Health and SMMHC may have part-time opportunities available and will work around the classes during the program.
SMMHC Chief Nurse Executive Justin Arnett is excited about what the program brings for future employees at his facility.
“Most of my best nurses have the common background of starting as a Psychiatric Technician. If a nurse has this training prior to nursing school, it will definitely make them a better nurse,” Arnett said. “In fact, I can see individuals coming out of this program with the desirable skills necessary to be ideal candidates for our amazing RN stipend program, helping to take their mental health career to the next level!”