How to Become a Mental Health Technician

Certified Behavioral Health Technicians (CBHTs), also known as psychiatric or mental health technicians, help doctors and counselors who provide addiction and mental health treatment. The CBHT credential is for people who assist primary counselors and therapists in providing clinical support to individuals receiving treatment in residential programs, at in-patient settings, or in community-based programs. A person interested in being a Certified Mental Health Technician needs good interpersonal and observational skills to help clients who are experiencing challenges in recovery. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, check out our guide on how to become a mental health technician.

What Does a Mental Health Technician Do?

A mental health technician’s primary role is to provide care and assistance to patients undergoing addiction or mental health treatment. Their tasks depend on the leading physician they’re assisting and the needs of the patient.

Typical roles of a mental health technician include:

  • Observing client behavior and listening to their concerns
  • Leading therapeutic and recreational activities for clients
  • Providing medication and treatment as instructed by leading physicians
  • Assisting in client admission and discharge
  • Helping clients with daily tasks
  • Monitoring clients’ vital signs
  • Restraining clients who may become violent or aggressive

Behavioral health technicians usually work in residential or inpatient settings, such as in drug addiction treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals, and mental health care centers.

How to Become a Behavioral Health Technician

In certain states, a person can begin working as a CBHT after graduating high school. While there aren’t strict requirements for education or licensing, a person has a higher chance of obtaining a position in the mental health field when they have higher education certifications, degrees, and relevant experience. As with any job, the more skills you have under your belt, the better.

The American Association of Psychiatric Technicians offers four levels of certification for Florida mental health technician certification. While certification isn’t required in all states to become a CBHT, it is in Florida. Additionally, certifications increase your chances of finding employment because they help demonstrate your skill level.

Mental health technician requirements include a Level 2 Background Screening conducted by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), a high school diploma or general equivalency degree, 30 hours of content-specific training, related work experience, and on-the-job supervision.

DCF Level 2 Background Screening

In Florida, the Florida Certification Board (FCB) requires all applicants to pass a Level 2 Background Screening conducted by DCF. Regardless of whether you’ve previously been approved for an FCB credential or DCF background check, this background check has to be completed for the BHT application along with the Clearinghouse Applicant Request Form and Privacy Policy Form.

Formal Education

Mental health technician requirements for education include a high school diploma and a general equivalency degree or higher. Applying for a Florida mental health certification is a multi-step process that requires you to submit information and supporting documentation directly to FCB.


In addition to education, Florida CBHT applicants must complete a minimum of 30 training hours, including the ones below:

  • Clinical Competence: 8 hours
  • Documentation and Patient Confidentiality: 4 hours
  • Ethical and Professional Responsibilities: 4 hours
  • Maintaining Client and Personal Safety: 4 hours
  • Electives (any domain): 10 hours

These are the training requirements for people wanting to become Certified Behavioral Health Technicians in Florida. The current BHT certification program is thirty hours long and consists of several courses, each of which ends with an exam.

Participants have three chances to pass their exams, after which they’d have to pay an additional fee for retakes. After completing exams, students then complete the course evaluation and receive their certification. Students can then use their certifications of completion to apply for state certifications.

Related Work Experience

One thousand hours of related work experience are also required for a psych-tech certification in Florida. Work experience must be directly related to the core competencies of the credential and have occurred within the last five years. Volunteer work is not eligible.

On the Job Supervision

Behavioral Health Technicians in the making must also be supervised doing 24 hours of on-the-job work. Of the 24 hours, a minimum of 4 hours must be provided and documented in each of the following categories:

  • Clinical Competence
  • Documentation and Patient Confidentiality
  • Ethical and Professional Responsibilities
  • Maintaining Client and Personal Safety

Letters of Recommendation

Participants are advised to have three professional letters of recommendation.


Participants must complete the Certified Behavioral Health Technician Exam to receive their credentials in the state of Florida.

What to Expect After Mental Health Certification

Congratulations! Once you’ve become a Mental Health Technician, there are other requirements you may need to maintain, such as continuing education. Also known as Continuing Education (CE) credit hours, CBHTs must complete 10 hours of continued education per year. Content must be related to at least one of the CBHT performance categories (clinical competence, documentation and patient confidentiality, etc.).

Once you have your Florida CBHT certification, you can search for open job positions on platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, Careerlink, and ZipRecruiter. Mental health-related platforms, such as iHireMentalHealth, also provide various employment opportunities for BHTs.

Want to Work With Us?

You can search for job positions at local hospitals, rehab facilities, and mental health clinics like our luxury drug and alcohol rehab in South Florida. We offer various addiction and mental health jobs at Seaside, and one of them might be a perfect fit for you. Check out our page to determine what positions are available at Seaside Palm Beach and our other rehab locations throughout the U.S.

In addition to job positions, our luxury rehab also provides addiction and mental health treatment for people with all kinds of disorders. We utilize medical detox and evidence-based therapy programs to treat these disorders at their sources and help patients develop healthy coping mechanisms for a happy and healthy life.


Whether you’re interested in working with us or receiving treatment with us, we’re here for you. Call Seaside Palm Beach today at 561-677-9374 for more information.



  1. Florida Certification Board – Certification Guidelines: Credential Standards and Requirements Table


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How Addiction Treatment Can Save your Life

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