According to the California Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians, in the last quarter of 2013, Cuesta College’s Psychiatric Technician Program’s graduates achieved a 100 percent pass rate of the California Psychiatric Technician Licensing Examination. Overall, the program’s annual exam pass rate in 2013 was 92 percent. The program’s annual pass rate is tied for the top passing rate in California.

The program, located at the Department of State Hospitals – Atascadero, offers a one-year training program to become a licensed Psychiatric Technician, providing students with the necessary training to provide nursing and therapeutic services for the mentally ill, emotionally disturbed or developmentally disabled

“We have a comprehensive curriculum and teaching teams that are dedicated and extremely hard-working,” said Karen Boriack, program director.

According to Boriack, the program gets support from nearly 100 clinical facilities and agencies throughout San Luis Obispo County. The partnerships allow students to perform clinical practice within their facilities. The students also have the unique opportunity to be employed part-time at the Department of State Hospitals-Atascadero while they are in the program. “This allows our students to gain on-the-job training and work alongside experienced Psychiatric Technicians, Registered Nurses, physicians, and other mental health professionals,” said Boriack.

The Psychiatric Technician program at the Department of State Hospitals-Atascadero started 60 years ago in 1954. The program has been affiliated with Cuesta College since 1970. According to Boriack, today’s students come from all over the state and from other countries to participate in the program.

Program applications are accepted year-round. The next application deadline is May 9th for classes that start in September of 2014. Information and applications can be found at the Cuesta College Nursing and Allied Health website ( or by contacting the Psychiatric Technician Program office at or by calling (805) 468-3175. Public informational meetings are scheduled for April 8th from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and April 10th 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. in the main lobby of DSH-Atascadero. No pre-registration is required.

Lauren Milbourne / (805) 546-3108 / / Posted: 2/6/14