Psychiatric Technology

Division: Health Science

Division Dean

Colin Preston


Anthony Brown
Dragana Filip
Marcus Marquardt
Jaime Ramos


Kelly Carter
Marisa Lehmeier
Denise Vo

Program Objectives

This program aims to prepare the student to meet the requirements for licensure as a Psychiatric Technician in the state of California. A Psychiatric Technician is a licensed member of the professional healthcare services team working with people who are mentally or developmentally disabled. Employed by private and state mental hospitals, the County Department of Mental Health, and many community facilities. Psychiatric Technicians will also find a variety of jobs available in the fields of prisons/corrections and human services. These include substance abuse programs, forensic facilities, special education and many other areas promoting mental health. There are career advancement opportunities available in the areas of counseling, education, nursing, and vendorization of services.

The program is accredited by, and conforms to, the regulations of the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the State Board Licensure Examination.

Minimum Standards for Applicants

  1. Graduation from high school or completion of the General Education Development (GED) test with an average score of 450 on the five-test battery or passing the high school proficiency examination. Possession of an associate or higher degree satisfies this requirement.
  2. Completion of ENGL 100 C is highly recommended.
  3. Completion of BIOL 160 CPSY 101 C and PSY 139 C with a “C” or better or transcript showing courses in progress.

Application Procedures

  1. Meet with a counselor to determine fulfillment of the minimum standards.
  2. Applications must be completed online. Please see the Health Science Application link on the Psychiatric Technology home page.
  3. Submit supporting documentation with the signature page of application. This includes a copy of high school diploma, GED or high school proficiency and official college transcripts.

Selection Criteria

  1. Twenty-four (24) students are selected for admission each Fall and Spring semester. The number of applicants usually exceeds available seats.
  2. Selection is based on completion of required prerequisites and date of application.
  3. Selection criteria is subject to change. See a Health Science Counselor for current selection criteria.
  4. Upon selection for the program but prior to the start of classes, the candidate will be required to obtain a physical examination and required immunizations.
  5. Students selected for admission to the program must obtain a Health Care Provider level cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) card prior to attending clinical training and must maintain current certification throughout the program.
  6. If you have been convicted of a criminal offense, your eligibility to enroll in the program may be affected. All students will be fingerprinted and cleared by the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) before enrolling in PT 110 C.

PT 080 C Sel Topics in Psych. Tech. 1 Unit

Term hours: 18 lecture. This course is designed to meet the health science student's need for current topics and issues, updated information in health care, review of specialized subject matter, and/or preparation for health related licensure and certification exams. Content will emphasize clinical application of theoretical principles in the discipline. Resource materials, instructor assessment of individual student knowledge and skills will be utilized. Pass/No Pass/Letter Grade Option.

PT 085 C  Psychiatric Technician - Work Experience 1-4 Units

Prerequisite(s): Concurrent enrollment in Psychiatric Technician program

Term hours: 18 lecture and 80 hours (minimum) related employment. This course provides practical work experience for students caring for individuals with developmental disabilities in community settings. May be taken for credit 4 times. Pass/No Pass/Letter Grade Option.

PT 090 C Leadership Supervision & Eth. 0.5 Units

Prerequisite(s): PT 130 C with a grade of C or better.

Corequisite(s): Completion of or concurrent enrollment in PT 135 C.

Term hours: 9 lecture. This course defines the leadership and supervisory roles of the mental health professional with focus on the ethical considerations surrounding work with persons diagnosed with intellectual disabilities and mental illness.

PT 110 C Nursing Science I 7 Units

Prerequisite(s): Acceptance into the Psychiatric Technology Program.

Term hours: 90 lecture and 126 laboratory hours. This course presents the fundamental of nursing concepts and scientific principles of nursing care. It begins to prepare students to provide fundamentals of nursing care in a safe and ethical manner by introducing them to evidence based practice. Nursing Principles discussed in lecture will be applied in the clinical setting.(CSU)

PT 115 C Nursing Science II 7 Units

Prerequisite(s): Completion of or concurrent enrollment in PT 110 C with a grade of C or better.

Term hours: 90 lecture and 126 laboratory. This course explores the disease process of medical/surgical conditions relative to etiology, pathology, and treatment modalities. The therapeutic use of medication, the principles of nutrition, and the application of the nursing processes are presented in classroom instruction and implemented in clinical practice. (CSU)

PT 120 C Developmental Disabilities I 7 Units

Prerequisite(s): PT 115 C with a grade of C or better.

Term hours: 90 lecture and 126 laboratory. This course explores the theory and principles directly related to the delivery of care and services to persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities in the school setting and vocation education classroom setting in California. Students learn how to teach self-help and independent living skills to persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities. (CSU)

PT 125 C Developmental Disabilities II 7 Units

Prerequisite(s): PT 120 C with a grade of C or better.

Term hours: 90 lecture and 126 laboratory. This course focuses on the cause and treatment of behavioral disorders in persons diagnosed with developmental disabilities. The theory and application of behavior assessment and intervention techniques is stressed. Behavioral assessment, teaching strategies, pharmacological interventions and special dietary needs are also covered. (CSU)

PT 130 C Mental Disabilities I 7 Units

Prerequisite(s): PT 125 C Term hours: 90 lecture and 126 laboratory.

This course introduces the theory, psychological and mental health concepts of psychiatric nursing while exploring the causes and treatments of mental illness in chronically hospitalized and forensic individuals. Students are tasked with caring for a client diagnosed with a mental illness or developmental disability at the tertiary level of intervention with emphasis placed on assessment, intervention and valid rationale for treatment of long term mental illness. Fee for live scan fingerprinting not to exceed $100. (CSU)

PT 135 C Mental Disabilities II 7 Units

Prerequisite(s): Completion of or concurrent enrollment in PT 130 C.

Term hours: 90 lecture and 126 laboratory. This course prepares the student to intervene at the primary and secondary levels of treatment in the care of individuals with mental disabilities. Primary interventions include prevention of mental disabilities through the education of individuals at risk, while secondary interventions are aimed at identified clients during periods of increased stress. (CSU)

At Cypress College, there are Department Program Student Learning Outcomes and Degree & Certificate Program Student Learning Outcomes.

Department Program Student Learning Outcomes:

The courses taught by this department contribute to the following ISLO/PSLOs: A-Breadth of Knowledge, Competencies, and Skills, B-Communication Skills, C-Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Information Competency Skills, and D-Personal, Academic, and Professional Development; specifically, the following ISLO/PSLO subcategories: A1-Health Sciences, B1-Reading, B2-Writing, B3-Communicating, B4-Presenting, C3-Research, C4-Problem Solving, C5-Technology, D1-Personal Responsibility, D2-Global Citizenship, and D3-Equity.

A student who completes the Psychiatric Technology program will be able to:

  • Show effective communication with the patient/client, family, health care team, and community.

  • Identify and prioritize nursing diagnoses through assessment/ observation of the patient/client’s physical condition, behavior and through interpretation/analysis of information obtained from the patient, client record and others, including members of the health care team.

  • Create a plan of care in collaboration with the patient/client which ensures that direct and indirect nursing, psychiatric care and habilitation training provided for the patient/client’s safety, comfort, hygiene, and protection, as well as disease prevention, health promotion, and restorative measures.

  • Perform skills essential to implement safe and effective care to individuals with nursing needs, psychiatric disorders and/or developmental disabilities that involve explaining health treatment, and teaching patient/client and family how to meet his or her health care needs.

  • Evaluate the expected outcomes of the plan of care through observation of the client’s physical condition, behavior, signs and symptoms of illness, reactions to treatment, and through communication with the patient/client and the health care team members; modifies/ progresses plan as needed.

  • Advocate for the patient/client by initiating action to improve health care and to make informed decisions.

  • Practice according to ethical and legal professional standards as set forth by the Cypress College Psychiatric Technician program and the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians.

  • Evaluate personal strengths and growth needs and incorporate these into a plan for professional development.

Degree & Certificate Program Student Learning Outcomes:

The program student learning outcomes for each award can be found on the specific degree or certificate page.