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Career and Education Opportunities for Psychiatric Aides in Alexandria, Virginia

Psychiatric aides can find many career and educational opportunities in the Alexandria, Virginia area. The national trend for psychiatric aides sees this job pool growing by about 5.8% over the next eight years. Psychiatric aides generally assist mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients, working under direction of nursing and medical staff.

The income of a psychiatric aide is about $9 per hour or $19,380 per year on average in Virginia. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $12 hourly or $26,560 yearly on average. Incomes for psychiatric aides are not quite as good as in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance in Virginia, and not quite as good as the overall Medical and Dental Assistance category nationally. People working as psychiatric aides can fill a number of jobs, such as: psychiatric nursing aide, nursing assistant, and charge aide.

The Alexandria area is home to eighty-four schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree as a psychiatric aide. Given that the most common education level for psychiatric aides is a high school diploma or GED, it will take only a short time to learn to be a psychiatric aide if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Psychiatric Aide

Psychiatric Aide video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, psychiatric aides assist mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients, working under direction of nursing and medical staff.

Psychiatric aides monitor patients in order to uncover unusual behavior, and report observations to professional staff. They also organize and encourage patient participation in social and recreational activities. Equally important, psychiatric aides have to participate in recreational efforts with patients, including card games or television viewing. They are often called upon to accompany clients to and from wards for medical and dental treatments, shopping trips, and religious and recreational events. They are expected to furnish patients with assistance in bathing and grooming, demonstrating these skills as needed. Finally, psychiatric aides aid patients in becoming accustomed to hospital routine.

Every day, psychiatric aides are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for psychiatric aides to serve meals, and feed patients needing assistance or persuasion. They are often called upon to interview patients upon admission and record data. They also clean and disinfect rooms and furnishings to maintain a safe and orderly environment. They are sometimes expected to execute nursing duties such as administering medications, measuring vital signs, collecting specimens and drawing blood samples. Somewhat less frequently, psychiatric aides are also expected to furnish mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients with routine physical, emotional, psychological or rehabilitation care under the direction of nursing and medical staff.

They also have to be able to work as part of a team that may include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses and social staff And finally, they sometimes have to accompany clients to and from wards for medical and dental treatments, shopping trips, and religious and recreational events.

Like many other jobs, psychiatric aides must have a strong concern for others and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Alexandria include:

  • Certified Nursing Aide. Provide basic patient care under direction of nursing staff. Perform duties, such as feed, bathe, or move patients, or change linens.
  • Dental Assistant. Assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.
  • Home Health Aide. Provide routine, personal healthcare, such as bathing, dressing, or grooming, to elderly, or disabled persons in the home of patients or in a residential care facility.
  • Medical Assistant. Perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician.
  • Medical Equipment Technician. Prepare, sterilize, or clean laboratory or healthcare equipment. May perform routine laboratory tasks and operate or inspect equipment.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Psychiatric Aide Training

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has an associate's degree program in Psychiatric/Mental Health Services Technician which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

University of Maryland-University College - Adelphi, MD

University of Maryland-University College, 3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, MD 20783-8010. University of Maryland-University College is a large university located in Adelphi, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 34,130 students. University of Maryland-University College has a two to four year program in Psychiatric/Mental Health Services Technician.

College of Southern Maryland - La Plata, MD

College of Southern Maryland, 8730 Mitchell Rd, La Plata, MD 20646-0910. College of Southern Maryland is a medium sized college located in La Plata, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,240 students. College of Southern Maryland has a one to two year program in Psychiatric/Mental Health Services Technician which graduated eight students in 2008.

Anne Arundel Community College - Arnold, MD

Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Pky, Arnold, MD 21012-1895. Anne Arundel Community College is a large college located in Arnold, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,149 students. Anne Arundel Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Psychiatric/Mental Health Services Technician which graduated seven and nineteen students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.