Occupational Analysis of Psychiatric Technician Practice

At the November 16, 2001 Board meeting, the final report regarding the Psychiatric Technician Occupational Analysis and Validation of the Psychiatric Technician Licensure Examination was accepted. Based on the Occupational Analysis report, the Board adopted a new Psychiatric Technician Test Plan. The test plan serves as the blueprint for the California Psychiatric Technician Licensure Examination.

The report and resulting Board action are the culmination of extensive empirical research conducted by the Board in conjunction with the Department of Consumer Affairs' (DCA) Office of Examination Resources (OER).

The study began in January 2000. The purpose of the project was an in depth unbiased investigation of the Psychiatric Technician profession. The study sought to identify the following items.

  1. Tasks commonly performed by Psychiatric Technicians irrespective of practice or geographic locale.
  2. Tasks commonly performed by Psychiatric Technicians upon entry into the profession.
  3. Knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform those entry - level tasks in a manner that is both safe and competent.

For purposes of the study, entry - level practice was defined as licensure and practice no less than six (6) months and no more than five (5) years. Detailed information was gathered from entry - level licensees through in depth personal interviews. These interviews were conducted by OER staff in the licensees' practice area. Upon completion, two (2) Subject Matter Expert panels were convened to review, amend, and refine the collected information. A detailed survey questionnaire was then completed and distributed to a stratified random sample population of licensees.

Study participants included a broad base of individuals holding California licensure. Primarily, the sample population included entry - level practitioners from all practice settings, genders, ages, and cultures representative of the licensee population. Additional participants included licensees who supervise or educate entry - level psychiatric technicians.

Upon submission of all respondent data, a final Subject Matter Expert panel was convened to review and make final recommendations to the Board. Research identified six (6) major categories of psychiatric technician practice. These categories comprise content areas in the new Psychiatric Technician Test Plan.

  1. Activities of Daily Living.
  2. Basic Nursing Care.
  3. Medications.
  4. Treatment Plan Development and Implementation.
  5. Individual & Group Therapy.
  6. Behavioral Management.

Ultimately, information derived from the study validates the Psychiatric Technician Licensure Examination relative to job-relatedness. As a result, consumer protection is achieved by the licensure of candidates who possess the minimum level of competence required for safe and effective practice upon professional entry.

Implementation of the new Psychiatric Technician Test Plan is scheduled for 2002.