Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a psychiatric technician?

A: A psychiatric technician is a licensed member of the health care team who works with individuals with developmental disabilities and/or mental disorders.

Q: What kind of individuals become psychiatric technicians?

A: Individuals interested in becoming health care and/or human service professionals. Persons interested in helping people with emotional, psychiatric and/or developmental disabilities. Persons interested in career-ladder mobility to Registered Nursing, Special Education, Clinical and Forensic Psychology, or Social Work.    

Q: Where do psychiatric technicians get employed?

A: Psychiatric Technicians are employed at:          Psychiatric Hospitals and Facilities    

Mental Health Day Care Programs

Mental Health Crisis Centers

Residental Treatment Programs

Prison Health Care (Department of Corrections)

County Mental Health Programs

Substance Abuse Programs

Public Health Services

Independent Living Skills Agencies

Special Education Programs

Vendors of Specialized Services

Developmental Centers

Transition Services & Job Coaches                                  

Q: How much do a psychiatric technicians make?

A: The psychiatric technicians' salary may start from $18 or $20 per  hour up to $25 per hour or $42,000 to $52,000 per year.  

Q: What career advancement opportunities are there for psychiatric technicians?

A: Psychiatric Technicians, if interested, can follow a  career-ladder mobility to Registered Nursing. Commonly, psychiatric technicians gravitate into fields of Special Education, Clinical and Forensic Psychology, or Social Work.    

Q: Is the Cypress College psychiatric technician program accreditted?

A: YES, the Cypress College psychiatric technician program is accreditted by the California Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Techinicians

Q: Do graduates from the psychiatric technician program have to take an examination after they complete the program? 

A: YES. Upon graduation, graduates must take and pass the  California Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Techinicians licensure examination in order to receive a professional license.

Q: Will a criminal offense keep me from entering the psychiatric technician program?

A: YES. Criminal offenses such as murder, felony assault, sexual offenses/sexual assault, felonies involving weapons and/or violent crimes, felony theft, class A and class B misdemeanor theft and fraud among other felonies will prevent students from attending clinical facilties, thus unable to start the psychiatric technician program.      

Q: What are the minimum standards for applicants?

A:  1. Graduation from high school, or completion of the General Education Development (GED) test with a minimum test of 45, or passing the high school proficiency examination. Possession of an associate degree or higher satisfies this requirement.  

2. Completion of English 58/ESL 185 or a comparable course with a grade of "C" or better, or submission of test scores that indicate eligibility for English 60/ESL 186.

Q: What are the prerequisite courses?

A: Biology 160C Integrated Medical Science and Psychology 101C General Psychology.

(Psychology 139C Developmental Psychology must be taken in the first semester of the psychiatric technician program)

Q: Do I receive a certificate or a degree after completing the psychiatric technician program?

A: You will receive a Certificate in Psychiatric Technology. If a student elects to earn an Associate Degree in Science of Psychiatric Technology, he or she must:

1. Complete all major course requirements with a minimum grade of "C"  

2. Complete 25 units of General Education Graduation requirements

3. Complete any electives courses to achieve a 60 minimum of units, and

4. Maintain an overall Grade Point Average of 2.00. At least 50% of all major course work must be completed at Cypress College.