Mental Health Technician Training at WCC

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Windward Community College is offering a new certificate for mental health technicians

By Bonnie J. Beatson, WCC Marketing and Public Relations Director

Trained mental health technicians are in demand in Hawai‘i, and a new certificate that can be completed in just one semester at Windward Community College (WCC) is aimed to grow that workforce.

WCC’s mental health technician certificate of competence provides training for those entering the field of mental health services or an enhancement for those currently working within the mental or behavioral health fields. The nine-credit program prepares students to work as assistants to mental health professionals in institutional settings, such as the Hawaiʻi State Hospital.

Recently, WCC and the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) recognized two graduates who earned a mental health technician certificate of competence. Jacqueline Turner and Cristine Lucas, both of whom work at the Hawaiʻi State Hospital, completed their certificates in spring 2022.

“I have been working in mental health for 25 years, and this certificate is my greatest achievement. I learned so much more,” said Turner. “I’m old school, and Windward Community College gives you all the assistance that you need with technology. I am so grateful for that!”

In spring 2023, WCC is offering the mental health technician certificate of competence via a series of three online courses that can be completed in just one semester – with tuition assistance available for up to three free classes.

Upcoming Info Session

An information session via Zoom to learn more about the certificate, how to apply, financial assistance and academic support will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 23, from noon to 1:00 p.m. Interested students can register at go.hawaii.edu/2Ng.

Ha‘aheo Pagan, career and transfer counselor, can assist with the application process and class registration. He can be contacted at paganj@hawaii.edu or (808) 235-7460.

Building an Educational Pathway

“When Sen. (Jarrett) Keohokalole brought Dr. (Run) Heidelberg and myself together to discuss how we might build an educational pathway for the Hawai‘i State Hospital, it was an opportunity to support our institutions, our employees, and care for mental illness in Hawai‘i,” said Windward CC Chancellor Ardis Eschenberg.

“These first graduates are our hope for increased quality of care and expanded career opportunities in mental health for community members. I look forward to seeing this program and its impact grow.”

Mental health technicians are in demand at the Hawai‘i State Hospital, Hina Mauka, elder care homes and through referrals from Windward Health Center, Hawai‘i Department of Education, health care organizations and DOH.

So far, there 51 students have signed up for the certificate classes.

“This is great news for the Windward side! To have WCC and the Hawai‘i State Hospital collaborate on this partnership just makes sense. Our students gain access to career pathways here where they live, and our community gains much needed expertise in mental health,” said Keohokalole.

Added Hawai‘i State Hospital Administrator Heidelberg, “We want to be the leader in mental health in Hawaiʻi.”


For more information about the mental health certification program go to: windward.hawaii.edu/programs-of-study/mental-health-technician/. To learn more about other educational programs at WCC go to: windward.hawaii.edu/.