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Mental Health Associate Jobs

A mental health associate must actively listen when a patient describes his emotional state.A mental health associate must actively listen when a patient describes his emotional state.

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Mental health associate professionals, also known as psychiatric technicians, support people with developmental or mental issues, often under the supervision of health care professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists. Their salaries depend on their employers and the locations of their jobs. Note that they differ from non-professional mental health associates, which are typically graduate students in psychology or psychiatry who are interning at health care facilities.

Basics

Mental health associate professionals earned an average $31, 370 per year, or $15.08 per hour, as of May 2011, states the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their annual salaries started at below $15, 680 and continued above $51, 200, which was equivalent to an hourly range of $7.54 to $24.61. This compensation was far less than the average $45, 230 per year, or $21.74 per hour for all jobs in the U.S. It was also less than half the mean salary of all health care practitioners and technical occupations, which ran an annual $72, 730, or $34.97 hourly.

Employers

The biggest employers of mental health associate professionals were psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, where just over 34 percent of the total 69, 840 workers received a mean $34, 170 per year, or $16.43 per hour. Ranking a close second was state government, which hired over 33 percent of the total at an average $27, 810 yearly, or $13.37 hourly. The highest wages were in specialty hospitals that did not cover psychiatry and substance abuse and average earnings were an annual $47, 840, or $23 per hour. Employers require postsecondary training for the position, although licensing is necessary in only four states.

Related Reading: Mental Health Technician Job Description

Locations

The states with the highest populations offered the best opportunities for mental health associate professionals, starting with Texas, which contained 10, 300 workers receiving a mean $18, 600 per year, or $8.94 per hour. California was next with 8, 730 jobs. The state also boasted the best pay, averaging an annual $52, 280, or $25.13 hourly. Among metropolitan areas, Boston, Massachusetts, showed the most opportunities, with 5, 510 associates receiving a mean $38, 990 yearly, or $18.75 hourly. The city with the best pay was Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where mental health associate professionals averaged $58, 370 per year, or $28.06 per hour.

Prospects

America’s aging baby boomer population is likely to suffer from more mental disease, which requires more mental health services. Because of this factor, the BLS predicts that jobs for psychiatric technicians will grow by about 15 percent from 2010 to 2020. This is close to the 14 percent increase expected for all occupations in all industries. Much of the demand will come from residential facilities because of the trend toward treating patients outside hospitals, which are more expensive.

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Source: work.chron.com
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