Contact Us Today: (321) 353-8310

What Does a Behavioral Health Tech Do?

What Does a Behavioral Health Tech Do?


What is a Behavioral Health Tech?

A Behavioral Health Technician or BHT for short, serves a crucial role in the day-to-day operation of a drug and alcohol treatment center. If you own, operate or manage a drug and alcohol rehab, then you will have some understanding of how important BHT’s are to the smooth running of a drug rehab facility. The Behavioral Health Tech works on the front lines, so to speak. They interact directly with patients regularly and act as support staff for the rest of the treatment center. 

The Mission of a BHT at a Drug Rehab

The primary mission of a BHT is ensuring the safety of patients and seeing that they get to the places they need to be and receive the care they need. Behavioral Health Techs are not clinical or medical staff, per se. They do not administer medications or deliver medical treatment. However, they are required by law, in most states, to be CPR and AED trained and certified and often have some basic first aid skills as well. 

Because patients in a treatment center are often not in the very best state of health, the risk of a medical emergency is somewhat higher than in the general population. This means a Behavioral Health Tech must always be prepared to help in a crisis situation. 

While BHT is not a leadership position, a BHT should be able to think on their feet and be psychologically and emotionally equipped to handle unruly, difficult or argumentative patients, as well as lending some emotional support when patients are upset and a therapist or counselor isn’t nearby.

The Role of a Behavioral Health Tech in a Rehab Center

Behavioral health technicians (BHTs) are vital members of the treatment team at drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers. Their key responsibilities include:

Observing and monitoring patients: BHTs closely observe patients’ behaviors, moods, and progress throughout their treatment, documenting any significant changes or concerns.

Assisting with daily living activities: They help patients with essential tasks such as personal hygiene, meal preparation, and medication management.

Leading or co-facilitating group therapy sessions: BHTs may lead or assist with group therapy sessions, providing support and guidance to patients as they share their experiences and work through their recovery process.

Crisis intervention: In the event of a crisis, BHTs are trained to respond appropriately and provide immediate support to patients in distress, ensuring their safety and well-being.

Collaborating with treatment team: BHTs work closely with therapists, counselors, and medical staff to create customized treatment plans and ensure patients receive the best possible care.

Who is Best Suited to be a Behavioral Health Tech?

Behavioral Health Technician at a drug and alcohol rehab isn’t always an easy job, but many of the people who are BHTs say they find their work rewarding. People who are in recovery and have at least 1 year of continuous sobriety are generally the best suited for this work. Having personal experience with addiction is invaluable in this position. It enables the BHT to empathize with and understand what patients are going through in a way that few people can.

Personal Qualities of an Effective Behavioral Health Tech

The most successful behavioral health technicians possess a unique combination of personal qualities and attributes that enable them to excel in their role:

Compassion and empathy: BHTs must be able to empathize with patients and understand the challenges they face, providing support and encouragement throughout their recovery journey.

Patience: Working with individuals struggling with addiction can be emotionally taxing, so BHTs need to remain patient and maintain a positive attitude even in difficult situations.

Strong communication skills: BHTs must be able to communicate effectively with patients, their families, and the treatment team, ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding the patient’s progress and needs.

Adaptability: Addiction treatment can be unpredictable, and BHTs need to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining a calm and composed demeanor.

Advice on Hiring Behavioral Health Technicians for Your Rehab

Keeping your drug and alcohol treatment center fully staffed with qualified personnel can be a real challenge. Addiction treatment is a highly competitive business and work in the field can be stressful, which leads to higher turnover rates than many other medical fields. Keeping an appropriate level of capable BHTs online is crucial to the smooth operation of your treatment center. 

Without good BHTs, patients are more likely to miss groups or medication calls. They are more likely to leave your rehab AMA or ASA. Having the right Behavioral Techs on staff and a capable manager for them brings a lot of peace of mind. At SMG Healthcare Recruiting we are well-versed in keeping drug treatment centers staffed with qualified and capable personnel. We understand your business and it’s unique needs and we believe that Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is the most effective way to manage your staffing needs. 

Final Thoughts on Working as a BHT and Hiring BHTs for Your Rehab

A career as a behavioral health technician at a drug and alcohol rehab center offers the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals struggling with addiction. By understanding the daily duties of a BHT, possessing the right personal qualities, and learning from the experiences of others in the field, you can embark on a rewarding and impactful career path.

If you are a Behavioral Health Technician (BHT) or qualified to become one and you’re looking for work, please contact us at SMG Healthcare Recruiting. We’d love to help you further your career. If you own, operate or manage a substance abuse treatment center and are looking for Behavioral Health Techs or to fill any other position in your drug and alcohol rehab business— SMG Healthcare Recruiters can be very helpful to you. Give us a call at (321) 353-8310.

Recent Posts

Frank A. Severino, Jr.

Director of Recruiting & Managing Partner

Born in Chicago, Frank moved to the Orlando area in 2012. As SMG Healthcare Recruiters Director of Recruiting, Frank works directly with the talented people we recruit as well as interacting with clients to ensure their needs are met and their expectations are surpassed. Frank feels blessed to have the opportunity to help build the family business and to be engaged in important work that plays to his professional and personal strengths. Frank says, “Helping people find gainful employment in an industry so full of passion for helping others is truly rewarding.” Like his father, Frank Jr. has experience working in behavioral healthcare in business development. In his leisure time, Frank Jr. coaches a nationally recognized high school baseball team in Winter Park, Florida. He also enjoys fishing, relaxing on the beach, cookouts and watching Chicago sports.

Michael Severino

COO & Managing Partner

Born in Woodridge, IL, Michael moved to Florida in 2014 and has been working with SMG Healthcare Recruiters since 2016. As COO, Michael helps see to SMG & Associates’ daily operations and ensures that clients get everything they need and more. One of his favorite parts of the job is working with people, especially helping candidates reach their highest potential. Michael considers himself extremely fortunate in having the chance to build the family business with his dad and brother, Frank Jr. Michael says, “I really enjoy working with my family. My father is my hero and being able to learn from him everyday is an opportunity that most people don’t have.” Michael currently lives in St. Cloud, FL with his wife and two bulldogs, Buca and Ozzie. In his down time, Michael enjoys boating and jet skiing. He is a technology enthusiast and is currently learning how to code in HTML, Javascript and LUA.

Frank B. Severino, Sr.

CEO & Senior Managing Partner

Born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, Frank moved to Orlando, Florida in 2017. A founding member of SMG & Associates, he has been with the company since its very first day in 2019. Frank brings extensive experience in the Mental Health, Eating Disorder and Substance Abuse treatment field to SMG’s long list of strengths, working as the Executive VP of Business Development for RiverMend Health and as Regional Director for Lakeview Health. 

The move into healthcare recruiting seemed like fate to Frank as he has spent the bulk of his career working in either recruiting and staffing or mental health treatment. The decision to merge the two into the venture that became SMG Healthcare Recruiters came naturally. It allowed him to leverage his greatest strengths and provide truly exceptional service to the healthcare industry. 

Frank understands just how important filling positions with the right people is in the healthcare area because he’s seen the process from every angle. He lives in Sarasota, Florida with Karen, his wife of 38 years and is blessed to work with his sons, Frank and Michael in building SMG Healthcare Recruiters. His son Joseph has recently joined the firm and is learning the recruiting field as a candidate screener. Additionally, Frank leads our staffing company, “Pinnacle Staffing Resources”. He serves as an Advisory Board Member for the N.O.W. Matters More Foundation. He divides his free time between various passions including boating, fishing and golf and work with his church.