The State Worker

What California state workers earn: psychiatric technicians

Pay for California’s psychiatric technicians in 2013 fell slightly even as their numbers grew, indicating a turnover in the ranks created by senior employees at the higher end of the pay scale departed state service while new psych techs earning less entered the state workforce.

Most state psychiatric technicians work in state developmental centers, hospitals and prisons to provide care for developmentally disabled and mentally ill clients. The work can be dangerous; the murder of Napa State Hospital psychiatric technician Donna Gross has fueled ongoing efforts by the union to upgrade facility safety standards. The California Association of Psychiatric Technicians also pressed for more staff and blames overwhelming workloads as contributing to a recent controversy over falsified inmate-patient records at a state prison medical facility.

Last summer the union reached an agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown that gave its members a 4.25 percent salary increase phased in this year and next.

And shortly after 2013’s close, long-time President Tony Myers passed away after a short illness. He had led the union for a dozen years.

With raises showing up on Aug. 1 paychecks, the State Worker blog has looked at what unionized government employees earned last year. The numbers feeding the series come from the state controller’s payroll data. The figures include only regular pay issued to full-time employees represented by the 21 bargaining units that negotiate contracts with the state. Employees who earned less than $1,000 last year are not included in the calculations.

Bargaining Unit 18 - Psychiatric technicians (California Association of Psychiatric Technicians)

Number of employees in 2013: 5,738

2013 average full-time pay: $46,909

2013 median full-time pay: $55,572

Number of employees in 2012: 5,484

2012 average full-time pay: $48,525

2012 median full-time pay: $56,430

Number of employees in 2011: 5,627

2011 average full-time pay: $46,833

2011 median full-time pay: $53,418

Note: During the three-year span covered by the above numbers, state employees were on and off furlough – twice. A new top-step pay increase kicked in last summer for senior employees. And a large number of state workers entered retirement. Keep those events in mind as you look at the figures.