Psychiatric Technician

The West Hills College Psych Tech Program is not accepting applications at this moment. Please continue to visit our site for more updates in terms of the timeline when the application window opens. Unfortunately, the COVID restrictions on our clinical sites impacts our ability to host a new student cohort.   

While such restrictions are subject to change, please be aware that the offering of the program is dependent on face-to-face clinical education.  As the situation evolves, information will be posted to this page.  Please check back often for new updates.  

Watch the WHCC Psych Tech Program Website for updates and announcements. 

In the meantime, interested applicants, please review the program requirements below.    

The safety and well-being of students is our priority at West Hills College Coalinga. The Psychiatric Technician Program at West Hills College Coalinga is adhering to Fresno County Public Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and Governor Newsom’s Executive Orders regarding social distancing and other personal safety steps, as applicable.

As you consider the Psychiatric Technician Program at West Hills College Coalinga, we ask that you understand as an incoming student, guidelines from the CDC and Governor Newsom may require the Psychiatric Technician program to move to an online learning environment and possibly postpone the program unexpectedly.

All students considering the Psychiatric Technician program should be prepared to adapt to the online learning environment. This includes access to a personal computer and Internet connectivity, a learning environment free of distractions and conducive to remote learning and, when safe, availability to attend onsite classes and clinical sites at the scheduled date(s) and time(s).

West Hills’ Psychiatric Technician program aims to prepare students for employment in state hospitals or rehabilitation and treatment centers. Students will learn basic nursing skills and psychiatric principles in order to interact with and care for individuals.

The program will also provide you with the foundational knowledge and skill sets needed to administer medications, conduct relationship development and participate in group therapy. Upon completion, you will be eligible to take the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technician license exam. West Hills College Coalinga offers an Associate Degree or Certificate of Achievement our Psychiatric Technician program.

The California State Departments of Mental Health, Developmental Services and Corrections as well as private and county psychiatric facilities are a few of the agencies which employ licensed Psychiatric Technicians.

About the Psychiatric Technician Program

The Psychiatric Technician program is an 18-month vocational program with admission starting in August as well as December of each academic year.  

  • First- Third semester you will attend theory/academic classes.
  • Theory classes are held 2 (7 hour) days a week at the Coalinga campus. They are generally held from 7:30am – 3:30pm.
  • Pharmacology classes will be held on Friday's (3 hours a day) for six weeks.
  • Additionally, clinical assignments are held two (10.5 hour) days a week. Hours and locations will vary.

Please be prepared to drive all over the Central Valley as well as the Central Coast.

You are required to attend every class and every clinical assignment. Excessive absences may result in dismissal from the program.

The Psychiatric Technician Training Program operates on three, 16-week semesters. Each term has a specific focus of study. 

The Admissions Process

Apply for College Admission

Before you can apply for the West Hills College Coalinga Psychiatric Technician Program, you must first apply to West Hills College Coalinga.

Apply to West Hills College Coalinga
Apply to Psychiatric Technician Program
After you apply to West Hills College Coalinga, you must complete the Psychiatric Technician Program packet to apply to the program. 
Download Application Packet
Psychiatric Technician Program Application Information
    1. Apply to West Hills College Coalinga. Must be a registered student at West Hills College. 
    2. Submit a completed Psychiatric Technician application packet (incomplete applications will not be considered)
    3. You must be 18 years of age or older at the time of application submittal 

    4. Copy of current Driver's License or I.D. Card

    5. Copy of Social Security Card

    6. Copy of High School Diploma or GED (College Degree will not be used in place of High School Diploma or GED)

    7. Completed FAFSA on File at the Financial Aid Office at West Hills College. Yes, even if you don't feel that you will qualify, you must fill out the FASFA documents!

    8. Un-Official Transcripts reflecting all courses taken at West Hills (un-official transcripts will only be accepted if the courses were completed at WHCC)

    9. One Official Transcript from all other colleges attended, even if it was one course and you didn't complete it. (On file will not count) Official transcripts must remain sealed, only to be opened by West Hills College staff. 

    • All transcripts must be submitted with the psychiatric technician program application. No in progress grades, notes or emails will be accepted. 
    • Application must be filled out COMPLETELY or it will be marked as INC. and you will need to re-apply.  

  • Completed Application Submission Details
    • Applications are not accepted early
    • In Person Drop-Off on Tuesday's 7am to 6pm
      Health Careers Office
      300 Cherry Lane,

      Coalinga, CA 93210

    All submissions must be in the Health Careers office by the deadline regardless of postmark or special delivery. Please allow plenty of time for proper delivery. Delivery confirmation strongly recommended.
    If you application selected from the Qualified Applicant Pool, you will receive an acceptance letter via your college email address with orientation details.
  • After acceptance into the program, a background check is required to participate. Background checks will be discussed during orientation.
  • Program Pre-Requisites:

    • HS-080 “Introduction to Medical Professional” 2 units with a grade of a “C” or better
    • HS-088 “Medical Terminology for Health Careers” 2 units with a grade of a “C” or better
    • VNPT-090 “Math for Medical Professionals” 1 unit with a grade of a “C” or better
    • **Active California Certified Nursing Assistant License (Strong Advisory-Not Required)



    All foreign transcripts must be evaluated by an accredited evaluation service. A list of services can be obtained in the Information Packet. Foreign High School and College transcripts must be evaluated. College Degree of any kind will not be used for proof of High School or GED completion.

  • All applicants are screened by West Hills College Counselors. Applicants who meet the criteria of the Psychiatric Technician Program are placed into Qualified Applicant Pool phase. Upon submittal deadline, qualified students are chosen by a computer generated process, as governed by the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT).

    Once your application packet is submitted, you will be sent an application confirmation email 1-3 weeks after the submission deadline.  You will also be notified of acceptance in our program via email.   
  • Applicants should contact the West Hills College Coalinga Financial Aid Office regarding the many grants, scholarships, and funding sources available to our students.

    The Workforce Development office located at your county social services office is an additional resource to consider when thinking about funding your education.   West Hills College Coalinga has a Workforce Connection Office on our campus, located in building A. Contact them at (559) 934-2423. They service Fresno County. If you are in Kings County you call the Job Training Office at (559) 585-3532.

About Psychiatric Technicians
  • The California State Departments of Mental Health, Developmental Services and Corrections as well as private and county psychiatric facilities are a few of the agencies which employ licensed Psychiatric Technicians.

    On July 1, 2005 the construction of Coalinga State Hospital was completed and turned over to the Department of Mental Health. The new state-of-the-art facility is staffed with more than 750 staff members and it is anticipating hiring an additional 1250 positions in order to achieve full staffing. These positions include multiple professionals including medical, psychiatric technicians, nursing and hospital police officer staff to work in the facility.

    Coalinga State Hospital is a multidisciplinary mental health facility that delivers psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery-oriented inpatient services to a population comprised of civilly committed sex offenders and acutely mentally ill prisoners. Hospital professionals assist in the development and implementation of new and innovative programs for the treatment of this unique population. This multi-modal treatment program is designed to assist participants in developing skills and behaviors for managing their deviant behavior and for reducing their risk of re-offending.

    The Psychiatric Technician program is a one year, three (3) semester training program that prepares people for employment and to take the state exam for Psychiatric Technicians.

    For more information regarding the Coalinga State Hospital please visit their website

    For a complete listing of California State Jobs visit the State Personal Board website. The website is a good starting point for finding vacant positions, exam bulletins, job specifications and pay for each classification.

    • Supervise individual and group activities
    • Observe and influence patient behavior
    • Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams
    • Encourage patients to develop work skills, social relationships and participate in recreational activities
    • Teach, counsel, and write reports describing physical and emotional symptoms
    • Provide routine and emergency nursing care
    • Establish effective therapeutic relationships with patients
    • Recognize symptoms requiring medical or psychiatric attention
    • Provide individual and group therapy
    • Work with the treatment team to provide occupational, recreational,
    • Think and act quickly in an emergency
    • Develop clear and concise reports of incidents
    • Analyze situations accurately and take effective action
    • Administer medications and treatments
    • Assist the unit physician with “sick call”

Degree Options

Choose from an Associate of Arts (AA), an Associate of Science (AS) degree or Certificate of Achievement within our Psychiatric Technician program. AA and AS degrees are designed for students planning to transfer to a four-year college or university, while all certificates are non-transferable.

Students who complete the program with either degree or certificate are eligible to take the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technician license exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

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