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Mental Health Technician Specialist Certificate Program

This training program combines a two course training track:

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Mental Health Technician

Under the direction and supervision of a psychiatric nurse, psychologist or psychiatrist, as a mental health technician you provide care to mentally ill and emotionally disturbed patients. Your specific care duties might include monitoring patient behaviors, emotions and physical conditions; recording patient statistics, such as temperature and blood pressure; administering medications; providing direct personal interaction with patients; encouraging patients to take part in social activities; helping patients maintain personal hygiene and leading therapy sessions. You also confer with superiors about patients and assist with the implementation of treatment plans.

The Job Outlook

According to a 2011 report issued by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, potential employers include psychiatric hospitals, mental health facilities, residential mental retardation centers and substance. State agencies, general medical hospitals and family services providers are also potential employers. About 62,500 people worked as mental health technicians in 2018. By 2028 employment was projected to rise six percent to 66,100 workers total. Job growth was expected to be driven by an increasing population of elderly patients and their need for mental health services. Opportunities at residential facilities are expected to be strong due to an ongoing trend in favor of residential care over hospital care.

Abnormal Psychology

In the same way that psychology offers important insights in terms of human behavior and experience, so does the sub-field known as abnormal psychology. Our Abnormal Psychology course will introduce psychopathology and changing views of mental illness. We examine impairments in brain functions and social processes and how this affects everyday life. Our course explores disorders of childhood, mood disorders, psychoses, schizophrenia, sexuality, eating, and anxiety disorders. By taking this course, you will discover the many faces of abnormal psychology and will be challenged to define what is normal and abnormal.

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Identify components of psychopathology and neuroscience approaches to treating mental illness
  • Recall symptoms and behaviors associated with psychological disorders, childhood disorders, mood disorders, and suicide
  • Recognize how stress, trauma, and anxiety affect psychopathology
  • Define characteristics of eating, sexuality, and addictive disorders
  • Identify traits associated with schizophrenia, personality, and neurocognitive disorders

Mental Health Technician

This Mental Health Technician course provides a solid background in mental health so you can work comfortably with clients who exhibit both effective and maladaptive behaviors. Nurses, case managers, psychiatric technicians, direct care providers, and other health care professionals will increase their awareness and understanding of a holistic view of mental health care with this comprehensive online training program. A variety of therapies and treatments are explored to assist in dealing with psychological or psychosocial problems, such as substance use conditions, medical illnesses, developmental delays and disabilities, and social stressors such as poverty, domestic violence, and homelessness.

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Recall the history and current trends of mental healthcare
  • Name the characteristics of common psychiatric disorders
  • Define human behavior and different elements affecting it
  • Identify methods for assisting those suffering from loss of life
  • Recognize legalities related to the mental health office

Abnormal Psychology Module 1

An Overview of Psychopathology and Changing Conceptualizations of Mental Illness

  • Understanding Psychopathology
  • Historical Considerations
  • Discovering the Function of the Brain in Behavior and Psychopathology
  • Care for Those with Mental Disorders
  • Biological Approaches to Treating Mental Illness
  • Psychological Treatment Perspectives in the Twentieth Century

Abnormal Psychology Module 2

Neuroscience Approaches to Understanding Psychopathology

  • Growing Importance of Neuroscience and Genetics
  • Brain Anatomy, Neurons, and Neurotransmitters
  • Neurons and Neural Transmission
  • How Do We Observe the Brain at Work?
  • Networks of the Brain
  • Genetics and Psychopathology
  • Evolution and Psychopathology

Abnormal Psychology Module 3

Research Methods

  • What is Science?
  • Nonexperimental Methods of Psychological Research
  • Naturalistic Observations
  • Correlational Approach
  • The Experimental Method: Making it Happen
  • Designing an Experimental Study
  • Ethics and Scientific Experiment
  • Research Considerations

Abnormal Psychology Module 4

Assessment and Classification of Psychological Disorders

  • Initial Assessment and Mental Status Exam
  • Structured Interviews and Assessment Considerations
  • Models of Assessment
  • Diagnostic Considerations in Psychopathology
  • Classification Systems for Mental Disorders

Abnormal Psychology Module 5

Disorders of Childhood

  • Aspects of Normal Child Development
  • Attachment Disorders, Conduct Disorder, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Learning Disorders
  • Intellectual Development Disorder

Abnormal Psychology Module 6

Mood Disorders and Suicide

  • Introducing Mood Disorders
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Biological and Neuroscience Treatments for Depression
  • Psychological Treatments for Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Aspects of Suicide

Abnormal Psychology Module 7

Stress, Trauma, and Psychopathology

  • The Psychological Mechanisms Related to Stress and Trauma
  • Does Trauma Produce Mental Illness?
  • The Study of Stress
  • Fight or Flight
  • Trauma-and-Stressor-Related Disorders in DSM-5
  • Adjustment Disorders
  • Acute Stress Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Abnormal Psychology Module 8

Anxiety Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders

  • Overview of Anxiety Disorders
  • The Nature of Anxiety and Evolutionary Explanations
  • Cognitive Processes in Anxiety
  • Major Types of Anxiety Disorders
  • Separation Anxiety Disorders
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Abnormal Psychology Module 9

Dissociative and Eating Disorders

  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders
  • Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Illness Anxiety Disorder
  • Feeding Disorders
  • The Problem of Obesity
  • Major Eating Disorders
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa

Abnormal Psychology Module 10

Sexuality Disorders and Gender Dysphoria

  • Sexuality in Context
  • Sexual Desire, Arousal, and Response
  • Sexual Dysfunction Disorders
  • Paraphilic Disorders
  • Gender Dysphoria

Abnormal Psychology Module 11

Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders

  • Drug Use in the United States
  • Substance Abuse, Dependence, and Addiction
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana, Hallucinogens, and Opioids
  • Stimulants: Cocaine, Amphetamines, Caffeine, and Nicotine
  • Gambling
  • Treatment of Substance-Related Disorders

Abnormal Psychology Module 12


  • Schizophrenia Basics: Prevalence, Course, and Symptoms
  • Historical and Evolutionary Perspectives on Schizophrenia
  • Factors in the Development of Schizophrenia
  • Causes and Effects: Neuroscience Findings About Schizophrenia
  • Treating Individuals with Schizophrenia

Abnormal Psychology Module 13

Personality Disorders

  • What is a Personality Disorder?
  • Odd. Eccentric Personality Disorders
  • Dramatic Emotional Personality Disorders
  • Anxious Fearful Personality Disorders
  • Treatment of Personality Disorders

Abnormal Psychology Module 14

Neurocognitive Disorders, Law and Mental Health

  • Normal Cognitive Changes Related to Aging
  • Delirium
  • Mild and Major Neurocognitive Disorders
  • Prevention, Treatment, and Support
  • The American Legal System and the Insanity Defense
  • Competency to Stand Trial
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Treatment
  • Sexual Predator Laws

Mental Health Technician Module 1

Mental Health Care: Past and Present

  • The History of Mental Health Care
  • Early Years
  • 19th Century United States
  • 20th and 21st Centuries
  • Current Mental Health Care Systems
  • Care Settings
  • Delivery of Community Mental Health Services
  • Client Populations
  • Ethical and Legal Issues

Mental Health Technician Module 2

Theories and Therapies

  • Sociocultural Issues
  • Influences of Culture
  • Cultural Assessment
  • Historical Theories
  • Developmental Theories and Therapies
  • Behavioral Theories and Therapies
  • Humanistic Theories and Therapies
  • Cognitive Theories and Therapies
  • Body-Based CAM Therapies
  • Energy-Based CAM Therapies

Mental Health Technician Module 3

Principles and Skills of Mental Health Care

  • Psychotherapeutic Drug Therapy
  • Classification of Psychotherapeutic Drugs
  • Client Care Guidelines
  • Skills for Mental Health Care
  • Principles and Practices for Caregivers
  • Mental Health Assessment Skills
  • Mental Health Treatment Plan
  • The Health History
  • Mental Status Assessment

Mental Health Technician Module 4

Therapeutic Environment

  • Theories and Characteristics of Communication
  • Levels of Communication
  • Dynamics of the Therapeutic Relationship
  • Characteristics of the Therapeutic Relationship
  • Roles of the Caregiver
  • Problems Encountered in the Therapeutic Relationship
  • Use of Inpatient Setting
  • Goals of the Therapeutic Environment
  • The Therapeutic Environment and Client Needs

Mental Health Technician Module 5

Childhood to Adulthood

  • Normal Childhood Development
  • Environmental Problems
  • Emotional Problems
  • Behavioral Problems
  • Mental Health Problems of Adolescence
  • Therapeutic Interventions
  • Adult Growth and Development
  • Mental Health Problems of Adults

Mental Health Technician Module 6

Cognitive Impairment and Managing Anxiety

  • Overview of Aging
  • Common Problems of Older Adults
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Dementia
  • Types of Anxiety
  • Stages of Dying
  • Hospice Car

Mental Health Technician Module 7

Illnesses and Depression

  • The Nature of Illness
  • The Hospitalization Experience
  • Loss and Grief
  • The Dying Process
  • Theories Relating to Emotions and Their Disorders
  • Emotions Throughout the Life Cycle
  • Mood Disorders

Mental Health Technician Module 8

Physical and Dissociative Issues

  • Role of Emotions in Health
  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Somatic Symptom Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Sleep-Wake Disorders
  • Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Within the Community
  • Continuum of Self-Concept Responses
  • Self-Concept Throughout the Life Cycle

Mental Health Technician Module 9

Anger, Outward and Inward Focused Emotions

  • Theories of Anger and Aggression
  • The Cycle of Assault
  • Anger-Control Disorders
  • Social Factors and Violence
  • Mental Health Disorders Relating to Violence
  • Impact of Suicide on Society
  • Dynamics and Theories of Suicide
  • Suicide Throughout the Life Cycle

Mental Health Technician Module 10

Substance, Sexual, and Personality Disorders

  • Role of Chemicals in Society
  • Categories of Abused Substances
  • Characteristics of Substance Use and Abuse
  • Sexuality Throughout the Life Cycle
  • Modes of Sexual Expression
  • Psychosexual Disorders
  • Personality Throughout the Life Cycle
  • Theories Relating to Personality Disorders

Mental Health Technician Module 11

Schizophrenia and Chronic Mental Health Disorder

  • Psychoses Throughout the Life Cycle
  • Theories Relating to Psychoses
  • Psychotic Disorders
  • Public Policy and Mental Health
  • Experience of Chronic Mental Illness
  • Special Populations
  • Challenges for the Future
  • Change and Mental Health Clients

Required Materials:

  • Abnormal Psychology (Collins College Outlines) by Dr. Sarah Sifers
  • Foundations of Mental Health Care by Michelle Morrison-Valfre


Upon successful completion of our Mental Health Technician course, students will be prepared for an entry-level position in a mental health setting and will be prepared to sit for the NCCB national certification exam to become a Certified Mental Health Technician (CMHT).