Mental Health Technician Certification and Education

Research reasons to pursue certification as a mental health technician. Explore the eligibility requirements and processes for certification through professional organizations. Schools offering Clinical Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does Mental Health Certification Do For Me?

Certification from a professional organization can provide you with professional recognition if you are already working as a mental health technician (sometimes called a mental health professional or psychiatric aide). Upon certification, you will be allowed to place your credentials after your name, such as Jane Anon, CMHP (Certified Mental Health Professional). This will inform patients as well as potential employers that you are a professional with both experience and knowledge in your field.

Depending on which organization you use to obtain certification, you may receive additional benefits. Some organizations offer continuing education courses to keep you up to date with changing knowledge in your field. Many organizations also require you to adhere to a code of ethics, and they provide training on how to practice both effective and ethical treatment of patients.

Certification may also enhance your employment opportunities. Some states require that mental health technicians be certified in order to work in a state funded position. In addition to a greater variety of employment opportunities, individual mental health practitioners may be more likely to hire you if you are certified because they know you have preexisting knowledge and experience in the field. Keep in mind that some states require mental health technicians to be licensed, and certification will not be sufficient to work in those states.

Why Get Certified? Offers professional recognition, credentials after name; allows for continuing education; increases employment opportunities within you state and elsewhere in U.S.
Certification Requirements Include GED or high school diploma, experience in field; vary by organization
Getting Certified Normally involves meeting education and work experience requirements and showing evidence of them; passing exam, submitting essay and/or letters of recommendation

Am I Eligible for Certification?

Certification for mental health technicians has several different requirements, and you must show eligibility for certification. While each certifying organization has slightly different guidelines for certification, there are many overlapping requirements. To be eligible, you must have at least a high school diploma or GED, while some organizations require a bachelor's or master's degree to be eligible for certification. In addition to an education requirement, there is also a requirement that you have a certain amount of experience in the field; however, the level of experience differs between different organizations.

How Do I Become Certified?

As with eligibility, each certifying organization has a slightly different certification process. You are required to show proof that you meet the education and experience requirements. For the experience requirements you may have to show signed documents of your work experience and that you have been supervised for a certain number of hours. You may also be required to display your knowledge of the field by passing a test and turning in an essay. In addition to showing your own proficiency, you may be asked to have letters of recommendation be turned in on your behalf. You may also be required to sign a statement claiming that you will adhere to the ethical standards of the organization.

You should be aware that filing the application for certification is not free, and each organization charges a different amount for filing fees. In addition to receiving initial certification, many organizations require you to complete continuing education courses annually or pass an annual assessment exam in order to remain certified. As with initial certification, you should keep in mind that there may be a fee associated with renewing certification. Many organizations do not require in-person testing or coursework and will accept applications and all supplemental materials in the mail.

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