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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.

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) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates

2006 NOC: 3413

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

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
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

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.

Traits & Skills
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.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates

2011 NOC: 3413

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Jan 25, 2022 and Oct 04, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Personal Suitability: Dependability
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Personal Suitability: Team player
Bathe, dress and groom patients
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Judgement
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • Minimum Education Varies

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
MTG Healthcare Academy - Edmonton

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • Certification Not Regulated

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.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
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.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates

2016 NOC: 3413
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3413 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.69 $21.74 $19.43 $19.79
Overall $17.87 $24.44 $21.82 $22.33
Top $19.73 $26.26 $23.94 $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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

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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