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Mental Health Aide

Mental health aides are health care aides who help meet the care needs of people with mental wellness issues. These can include mental illness, addiction, developmental delays, cognitive impairments, or brain injury.

  • Avg. Salary $32,649.00
  • Avg. Wage $21.98
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 34,200
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Health Care Aide, Health Care Assistant, Institutional Aide, Medical Assistant, Nursing Assistant, Psychiatric Aide, Residential Aide

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates (3413) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates (D312) 
  • 2011 NOC: Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (3413) 
  • 2016 NOC: Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (3413) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Mental Health Aide is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates

Interest in assisting hospital staff by carrying messages, reports, requisitions and specimens from one department to another; in providing comfort to patients by answering call signals, making beds and maintaining patients' rooms; in assisting patients with menu selection; and in setting-up and providing leisure activities for patients, and accompanying patients on outside recreational activities


Interest in copying routine procedures to provide basic patient care, supervise patients' exercise routines, transport patients in wheelchairs and stretchers, and supply and empty bed pans; in maintaining inventory of supplies; in reporting or recording fluid intake or output; and in observing or monitoring patients' status and document patient care on charts


Interest in operating medical equipment to take blood pressure, temperature and pulse; in collecting specimens such as urine, faeces and sputum; in administering suppositories, colonic irrigations and enemas; and in performing other procedures as directed by nursing and hospital staff; may perform maintenance tasks such as assist with the set-up and maintenance of traction equipment, clean or sterilize equipment, maintain and repair equipment and assemble, set-up and operate equipment

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 31, 2018

Mental health aides work as part of a multidisciplinary team. They help meet the care needs of patients in accordance with the patient care plan. In general, mental health aides:

  • assist with the delivery of routine care for patients (such as hygiene, nutrition,  mobility, recreation, safety needs, and daily living skills such as laundry)
  • assist with organized activities or programs
  • observe, record and report patients’ perceived and reported mood and functioning, behaviour and well-being
  • carry out strategies as identified by health care providers (such as behaviour management)
  • support patients to participate in activities and behaviours that increase functioning and enhance quality of life
  • help  maintain a safe environment for patients, staff, and visitors (such as through respiratory, bowel and ostomy care)
  • maintain effective communication with patients, families and medical care providers regarding issues (such as swallowing difficulties).
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Some mental health aides may work a standard work week. Others do shift work that includes evenings and weekends.

This work can be stressful. Mental health aides may have to help people deal with crisis situations. They may encounter challenging behaviours, including verbal or physical aggression.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Mental health aides need to possess:

  • listening and speaking skills
  • empathy, emotional maturity, and good judgment
  • the ability to establish professional relationships
  • creativity and problem-solving skills
  • the ability to make critical decisions
  • the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work on their own and as part of a team.

They should enjoy:

  • actively supporting others within a professional relationship
  • developing knowledge and skills related to mental health
  • providing education
  • liaising with other agencies
  • finding creative, evidence-based solutions to problems.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Mental health aides are health care aides.

Education requirements vary from one employer to another. Many private and public post-secondary schools in Alberta offer short programs for health care aides. Some employers partner with post-secondary schools to offer on-the-job training. This allows people to earn a certificate while they work.

Employers may require health care aides to have completed training in first aid and food safety.

Alberta Health developed a standard curriculum for health care aide training. Post-secondary schools offer this training throughout the province.

Program length and delivery options vary. Some schools offer programs for people already working as health care aides. These schools may have full-time, part-time, distance, in-service, or regional delivery options. Full-time programs range from 15 to 27 weeks. Some employers hire untrained workers and train them as new health care aides on the job.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Academy of Healthcare Services

Alberta Prairies Life Enrichment Training Studio Ltd.

Canadian Imperial College

CLI College of Business Health & Technology - Calgary

CLI College of Business, Health and Technology - Edmonton North

Mount Royal University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Mental health aides may work in a variety of settings, including:

  • acute care
  • rehabilitation
  • community care
  • continuing care
  • long-term care.

Without further education, opportunities for mental health aides to advance are limited.

Mental health aides are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3413: Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates. In Alberta, 96% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the 3413: Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.5% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 1344 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Earnings vary a lot depending on the employer. They also depend on the employee's responsibilities, experience, and training.

To learn about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Government of Alberta website.

Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.40 $21.48 $19.20 $19.76
Overall $18.47 $24.00 $21.98 $22.49
Top $20.00 $36.34 $24.77 $24.95

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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