Operating Room Technician Training in San Diego, CA

Research operating room technician training in the San Diego area, which currently has two colleges offering programs within 40 miles of the city center. To decide which program is right for you, read an overview of the admission and program requirements at the schools.

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San Diego Operating Room Technician Schools

Students interested in training for careers as operating room technicians - also known as surgical technologists - have limited options in the San Diego, CA, area. The two schools featured in this article offer surgical technology programs approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Program graduates can pursue entry-level work in hospitals or other health care facilities, in addition to being eligible to sit for the Certified Surgical Technologist exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. To get more details on what training in this field entails, look over the courses and internship opportunities at two schools near San Diego. A table of statistics on the institutions is also provided.

  • Southwestern College is the closer of the two area schools offering surgical technology certificate and associate degree programs. It's located about 17 miles east of downtown San Diego in Chula Vista, CA.
  • MiraCosta College, on the other hand, is situated roughly 38 miles to the north of central San Diego. It too offers associate's degree and certificate programs in the field, as well as slightly lower tuition costs to students willing to travel to nearby Oceanside, CA.

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Comparison of Schools

Make an informed education decision by not only researching academic programs but also school costs, student enrollment numbers, retention rates and more. Specific facts and figures on the profiled colleges are provided in the table below.

Southwestern College MiraCosta College
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public
Total Enrollment (2014) 19,000* 14,687*
Campus Setting Large suburb Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2015- 2016) $1,336 for in-state students; $5,452 for out-of-state students* $1,152 for in-state students; $5,952 for out-of-state students*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2014) 78%* 49%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) N/A - Open admissions* N/A - Open admissions*
Retention Rate (2014) 71% for full-time students* 71% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate (2014) 19%* 32%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Southwestern College

Southwestern College offers over 320 career training and transfer programs, including a certificate and associate degree in surgical technology. Only 20 students are accepted into these programs each fall.

Certificate of Achievement in Surgical Technology

This 3-semester program consists of 35-39 credits. Students are introduced to the operating room, disinfection and sterilization techniques, surgical instruments and equipment. Patient communication, ethics, pharmacology and anesthesia are also highlighted. Students participate in two practicums, one each for their specialty and subspecialty areas. These can include vascular, orthopedic or pediatric surgery.

Program applicants must be high school graduates with college-level reading proficiency. They must also have completed prerequisite courses in human anatomy and medical terminology. Additional admission requirements include proof of physical examination, current immunizations and vaccinations, a valid social security card and a driver's license. Students are also required to submit to criminal background checks and drug screenings soon after being admitted to the program.

Associate in Science in Surgical Technology

Students working toward an Associate in Science in Surgical Technology must complete a minimum of 60 credits. In addition to the same classes required for a certificate in surgical technology, students take general education classes in writing, biology, communication, the humanities, psychology and math. This program has the same admission and prerequisite requirements as the certificate program.

MiraCosta College

MiraCosta's Nursing and Allied Health Department offers certificate and Associate in Arts programs in surgical technology. Although these programs start each spring, there is currently a 3-year waiting period for program entry.

Certificate of Achievement in Surgical Technology

Students in this 38-credit certificate program take surgical technology classes concurrently with labs. Clinical experience in an operating room is also required. Topics of study include instrument identification, aseptic technique and surgical setup. Ethical and legal responsibilities, professional standards and the role of surgical technologists on the medical team are also discussed.

Before applying, students must complete prerequisite courses in anatomy or physiology, medical terminology and pharmacology. Applicants must also submit high school transcripts and physical examination forms along with proof of current immunizations. The appropriate basic life support training from the American Heart Association is also required, as are criminal background checks and drug screenings.

Associate in Arts in Surgical Technology

The 60-credit associate degree program requires students to complete general education classes in such areas as composition, communication, the humanities, social sciences, lab sciences and math. Students also take the same 38 credits of surgical technology coursework found in the certificate program, though they may opt to complete additional internship and cooperative education experiences. The program takes roughly two years to complete, and students must meet the same prerequisite and admission requirements as the certificate program.

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