Dreambound
Blog

Medical Assistant

Medical Assistant vs Psychiatric Technician

Medical Assistant vs Psychiatric Technician

Want personalized recommendations?

Let's match you to the right program

Talk to Skipper
coach

When it comes to a career in the healthcare field, there are many paths to choose from. Two popular options are becoming a medical assistant or a psychiatric technician. While both of these professions involve working with patients and providing care, there are some key differences between the two. In this blog post, we will explore what it means to be a medical assistant and a psychiatric technician, the differences between the two roles, and the education and training required for each. We will also discuss the career outlook and salary potential for both professions.

Article continues after recommendations

Recommended for you

What is a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant is a healthcare professional who performs a variety of administrative and clinical tasks in a medical office or clinic. They work under the supervision of a physician or other healthcare provider and provide support to the healthcare team. Some of the tasks that medical assistants may be responsible for include:

  • Taking patient histories and vital signs
  • Assisting with physical examinations
  • Administering medications
  • Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
  • Performing basic laboratory tests
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Managing patient records

Medical assistants play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of a medical office or clinic. They are often the first point of contact for patients and help to create a welcoming and efficient environment.

What is a Psychiatric Technician?

A psychiatric technician, on the other hand, is a healthcare professional who specializes in providing care for individuals with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities. They work as part of a team of healthcare providers and provide direct care to patients in a variety of settings, including hospitals, residential treatment centers, and outpatient clinics. Some of the tasks that psychiatric technicians may be responsible for include:

  • Assisting patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing
  • Administering medications prescribed by a psychiatrist
  • Monitoring patients’ behavior and reporting any changes to the healthcare team
  • Leading group therapy sessions
  • Assisting with crisis intervention
  • Creating and implementing treatment plans

Psychiatric technicians play a vital role in helping individuals with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities achieve and maintain their highest level of functioning. They provide support, encouragement, and guidance to their patients as they navigate the challenges of their conditions.

Difference between a Medical Assistant and Psychiatric Technician

While both medical assistants and psychiatric technicians work in the healthcare field and provide care to patients, there are some key differences between the two roles. Some of the main differences include:

  • Job responsibilities: Medical assistants primarily work in medical offices or clinics and perform both administrative and clinical tasks. Psychiatric technicians, on the other hand, specialize in providing care to individuals with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities and work in a variety of settings, including hospitals and residential treatment centers. Their job responsibilities focus more on direct patient care and therapeutic interventions.
  • Patient population: Medical assistants work with patients of all ages and with a variety of medical conditions. Psychiatric technicians, on the other hand, primarily work with individuals who have mental illnesses or developmental disabilities. They develop a deeper understanding of the unique challenges and needs of this specific patient population.
  • Scope of practice: Medical assistants are typically trained to perform a wide range of tasks, including taking patient histories, administering medications, and performing basic laboratory tests. Psychiatric technicians, on the other hand, have a more specialized scope of practice that focuses on providing care to individuals with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities. They receive training in therapeutic interventions and crisis management.

Medical Assistant vs Psychiatric Technician: Job Description

The job descriptions for medical assistants and psychiatric technicians can vary depending on the specific setting in which they work. However, there are some general duties and responsibilities that are typically associated with each role.

Medical Assistant Job Description:

  • Assist healthcare providers with patient examinations and procedures
  • Take patient histories and vital signs
  • Administer medications
  • Collect and prepare laboratory specimens
  • Perform basic laboratory tests
  • Schedule appointments and manage patient records
  • Provide patient education and instructions

Psychiatric Technician Job Description:

  • Assist patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing
  • Administer medications prescribed by a psychiatrist
  • Monitor patients’ behavior and report any changes to the healthcare team
  • Lead group therapy sessions
  • Assist with crisis intervention
  • Create and implement treatment plans
  • Provide emotional support and guidance to patients

Medical Assistant vs Psychiatric Technician: Education and Training

The education and training required to become a medical assistant or a psychiatric technician can vary depending on the specific employer and state regulations. However, there are some general guidelines and requirements that are typically associated with each profession.

Get courses selected just for you

Try our powerful search engine

Try it now

Article continues after recommendations

More recommendations for you

Medical Assistant Education and Training:

  • Most medical assistants complete a postsecondary education program that lasts 1-2 years and leads to a certificate or diploma. These programs are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, and technical schools.
  • Some medical assistants may also choose to pursue an associate degree in medical assisting, which typically takes 2 years to complete.
  • In addition to formal education, medical assistants often receive on-the-job training from their employer.

Psychiatric Technician Education and Training:

  • Psychiatric technicians typically need to complete a postsecondary education program in psychiatric technology. These programs are offered by community colleges and vocational schools and typically take 1-2 years to complete.
  • Some states may require psychiatric technicians to be licensed or certified. Licensure or certification requirements may include completing an approved education program, passing an exam, and fulfilling continuing education requirements.

Medical Assistant vs Psychiatric Technician: Career Outlook and Salary

Both medical assistants and psychiatric technicians can expect to see job growth in the coming years. However, the demand for these professions may vary depending on factors such as location and industry.

Medical Assistant Career Outlook and Salary:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The median annual wage for medical assistants was $35,850 in May 2020, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $26,930 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $51,850.

Psychiatric Technician Career Outlook and Salary:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of psychiatric technicians is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The median annual wage for psychiatric technicians was $33,220 in May 2020, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $24,960 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $61,610.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a career in the healthcare field is a rewarding decision. Both medical assistants and psychiatric technicians play important roles in providing care to patients and contributing to their overall well-being. While the two professions have some similarities, they also have distinct differences in terms of job responsibilities, patient population, and scope of practice. It is important for individuals considering these career paths to carefully consider their interests, skills, and career goals in order to make an informed decision.

Dreambound extends its programs to diverse locations. Delve deeper into information about these two vocations by visiting:

Sunshine Tupan
Written by
Sunshine Tupan

Sunshine is a member of the School Growth team at Dreambound, where she assists students and schools with their billing and onboarding needs. She is a licensed mechanical engineer. Outside of work, she enjoys road trips with her family, discovering cozy cafes, and exploring her love for art.

Share this post: