K-State Department of Psychology Undergraduate Program: Psychological Technician Option

General Description

Opportunities are growing for Psychological Technicians who have B.A. or B.S. degrees in psychology. Such a person usually works in an applied setting and carries out duties that are supportive of the Ph.D. psychologist. The clinical psychological technician often assists in such activities as:

  1. testing
  2. behavior change
  3. community organization
  4. agency management (budgets, referrals, scheduling)
  5. research
  6. data collection
  7. statistical analysis

Technicians and paraprofessionals are playing an increasingly prominent role in clinics, hospitals, industrial and governmental agencies, and research settings. The Psychological Technician Option is designed to provide students with background knowledge and limited training in the skills most likely to be needed by a psychological technician and with supervised experience in an applied setting. Furthermore, the student is expected to take additional courses in relevant areas from other departments in the University.

The requirements for the Psychological Technician Option reflect the goals stated above. All students in the option must satisfy the core requirements for the psychology major. In addition, the following courses must also be completed (required courses):

  • PSYCH-505 Abnormal Psychology

  • PSYCH-559 Psychological Testing

  • PSYCH-585 Basic Concepts in Clinical Psychology

  • PSYCH-586 Laboratory in Clinical Concepts

  • PSYCH-587 Field Placement

Four other courses relevant to the mental health field from psychology, sociology, anthropology, social work, education, and human ecology.
The courses outside of psychology can be applied as general electives. The psychology courses can count as psychology electives.

The laboratory in Clinical Psychology is the pivotal course in the program and should be taken either after completion of or concurrently with Psychological Testing and Basic Concepts in Clinical Psychology. Because of the intensive nature of the skills training provided there, enrollment is restricted to 12-15 students. All students who seek admittance to a Laboratory course must be interviewed by the instructor during the pre-enrollment period for the semester in which the course is to be taken. (Pre-enrollment occurs in April for the Fall semester and November for the Spring semester.) Admission to the Laboratory course is subject to approval of the Psychological Technician Supervisory Committee.

Following successful completion of the Laboratory course and with the approval of the Psychological Technician Supervisory Committee, students can gain supervised experience in an applied setting. Arrangements for the field experience will be worked out individually with each student regarding the location of the agency and the total number of academic credit hours to be earned. The field experience is scheduled during the junior or senior years, often during the summer. The grade for this field placement will be determined jointly by the agency supervisor and the Psychology Technician Supervisory Committee.

In addition to the courses required above (PSYCH-559, PSYCH-585, PSYCH-586) and the field placement, students in the clinical option are required to take Abnormal Psychology (PSYCH-505), which is a prerequisite for Basic Concepts in Clinical Psychology, and four additional courses which are relevant to the mental health field. These courses may be selected from a wide variety of departments including Sociology (Criminology, Social Work, etc.), Education (Psychology of the Exceptional Child, Emotionally Disturbed, etc.) and others. These additional courses, which may be taken either prior to or after the field placement, should be selected in consultation with the student's advisor and should be listed on the Psychological Technician Program of Study. These courses will count as electives toward the 124 hours needed for a B.A. or B.S. degree (120 credit hours for students who entered KSU before the fall of 2003).

Students who are interested in the Psychological Technician Option should file the Psychological Technician Program of Study in the Psychology Department Office. This in no way obligates the student to the option. The purpose of filing a preliminary program of study is to give the Department some basis for planning courses to meet student interests and a list of interested students to contact if there are important announcements.

While the Psychology Department will make every effort to assist a student in locating a suitable position or in gaining admission to a graduate program after completion of this option, the extent and quality of this assistance will be influenced by the student's performance in the formal course work, in the Field Experience, and in other relevant areas, such as research efforts. It should be understood that no guarantees as to employment or graduate school admission following successful completion of the Psychological Technician Option can be given.

If you have any interest in the Psychological Technician Option, please fill in the Technical Option Application (available online, use your browser's print function to print the page). This does not obligate you to take any courses or to continue in the psychological technician option. You can make changes in this program of study as you progress through the curriculum.

Please leave your application in the Psychology Department Office, Bluemont Hall, Room 492. If you have any questions concerning the Psychological Technician Option, consult with either Dr. Barnett (barn@ksu.edu) or Dr. Frieman (frieman@ksu.edu).