Cuesta College's Psychiatric Technician Program application deadline has been extended a week.

Applications for classes that start in June are due Tuesday, May 28 at 3 p.m.

Atascadero State Hospital, in affiliation with Cuesta, offers a yearlong training program to become a licensed Psychiatric Technician. Classes begin three times a year, with program start dates in February, June, and October.

You’ll finish with the necessary training to provide nursing and therapeutic services for the mentally ill, emotionally disturbed or developmentally disabled, under the direction of a physician, psychiatrist, or registered nurse.

Questions? Contact Jenny Grant at 805-468-3175.

Visit to learn more about these subjects:

• Program Eligibility Requirements and Information

• Important Dates for Random Draw

• Assessment Testing Information

• Assessment Testing Information Form (complete and take to test appointment)

Frequently asked questions

What is a Psychiatric Technician?

Psychiatric Technicians work on a mental health team with other health professionals such as medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, registered nurses, and rehabilitation therapists. They treat institutionalized patients who are mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or developmentally disabled. Their goal is to rehabilitate individuals and return them to the community.

Why should I become a Psychiatric Technician?

As a Psychiatric Technician, you have many career opportunities, both full and part-time on the Central Coast. Opportunities for upward mobility and advancement within your profession are available.

How often are the Psychiatric Technician training classes offered?

The Psychiatric Technician Training Program is a one-year program and offers classes every 16 weeks (June, October, and February).

What are the prerequisites?

You must complete all prerequisites to enter the Psychiatric Technician Training Program. They include the following:

• Must be 18 years of age or older

• Submit proof of graduation from high school or equivalent

• Pass a background check, fingerprints, drug screening, and physical exam

How many students are accepted into each class?

The Psychiatric Technician Training Program admits up to 45 qualified applicants. History proves that the majority of qualified students that apply are accepted into the program.

May I work while going to school?

During the school year if our hospital budget permits, you may work at Atascadero State Hospital up to 20 hours per week as a Psychiatric Technician Trainee and earn $1029/month. You will be assigned to a specific unit. Your working hours will depend on the needs of your unit, but will generally be in the evenings a few days per week and usually at least one weekend day.

What are the duties of a Psychiatric Technician Trainee?Take vital signs and document

• Assist patients with self-care skills, such as feeding and grooming

•Inspect patient areas for cleanliness and safety

•Take out contraband trash

• Deliver charts to scheduled appointments

• Provide social interaction to patients by playing cards, games, etc.

•Perform CPR, Heimlich maneuver

•Assist in the physical containment of assaultive patients

• With licensed staff, you may escort patients to dining room, supervise patients in courtyards and the dayroom, and attend patient activity groups

Do I qualify for health, dental and vision benefits while attending the program?

If you choose to work while going to school, you are eligible for insurance benefits effective on the date appointed to half time. Eligibility to enroll is within 60 days from appointment.

What are the duties of a Licensed Psychiatric Technician?

• Maintain order and supervise the conduct of patients

•Administer medications and provide routine and emergency nursing care

•Assist patients with personal cleanliness

•Encourage patients to develop work skills and to participate in recreational activities

•Teach, counsel, and write report describing physical and emotional symptoms

•Assist in the physical containment of assaultive patients

•Provide individual and group therapy

•Develop clear and concise reports of incidents and provide documentation on patients with special precautions, such as suicide or self-harm

• Work with the treatment team to provide occupational, recreational, vocational, and educational therapy for patients

Approximately how much will I be paid once I complete the program?

Depending on vacancies at Atascadero State Hospital, if you are hired as a Pre-Licensed Psychiatric Technician, you will be allowed to work up to nine months without a license. You will earn $2352/month working full time. Once you are licensed, your pay will increase as follows: Range A - $2617 to $3148/month; Range B - $2723 to $3286/month; Range C - $2832 to $3440/month. Sick leave and vacation time is earned at full-time rate.

Where may I use my training?

Psychiatric Technicians are recognized throughout the state of California. Most use their training in state hospitals while others work in county facilities, private institutions, and community psychiatric and addiction treatment centers.

How do I apply for the Psychiatric Technician Training Program?

Several times throughout the year informational meetings are held for the public to discuss the program and ask questions. Please call Atascadero State Hospital/Cuesta College at (805) 468-3175 for more information or email Jen Grant at