Licensed vocational nurses who specialize in psychiatric care provide for a very specific patient population that has unique needs and accompanying challenges. Often, these nurses work in mental health clinics, psychiatrists' offices, group homes or locked psychiatric wards of hospitals or long-term care facilities. Although the Texas Board of Nursing does not have an LVN psychiatric specialty license and no agencies currently offer a psychiatric nursing certification for LVNs, you can become licensed as a nurse and then certified as a psychiatric technician to pursue this career path.
Enroll in and complete a licensed vocational nursing program from a Texas Board of Nursing-approved school. While you will take at least one psychology class as part of your required courses, see what other courses your school may offer in psychology or psychiatry to enhance your foundational knowledge of the human mind and mental health.
Apply to become a licensed vocational nurse with the Texas Board of Nursing. You will be required to provide proof of your education and pay licensing and exam fees, as well as pass the NCLEX-PN examination and submit to a criminal background check.
Seek employment as an LVN in a psychiatric or mental health setting. To be eligible for certification as a psychiatric tech beyond the most basic level, you will need one or two years of active experience in the field.
Submit an application to become a Level 2 or Level 3 Certified Psychiatric Technician to the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians. While your LVN education qualifies you for the Level 3 certification, you need two years of experience. You can apply for a Level 2 certification with one year of experience and upgrade your certification level later, if desired. To achieve certification, you must pass a basic Level 1 exam and then complete an essay test for each subsequent level. Once the process is completed, you will be certified in performing general psychiatric care duties as well as licensed as a vocational nurse in Texas.