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Surgical Tech Training in California with Course Descriptions

California has more than 20 colleges that offer surgical technology programs. Learn about the programs, tuition info and program options for five of these schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

In California, surgical technology training is offered through undergraduate certificate, diploma or associate degree programs. Students in an associate degree program take the same courses as those in certificate and diploma programs, but they also complete courses covering general education subjects. All programs typically integrate an internship or a clinical component, allowing students to gain hands-on skills in the field.

Applicants may need to complete certain prerequisite courses, such as anatomy and medical terminology. Surgical technology programs might limit the number of students who can enroll, and some schools may keep interested applicants on waiting lists.

CBD College

CBD College is located in Los Angeles and offers a 1,500-hour surgical technology diploma program that includes a 600-hour internship. Students take courses in psychology, instrument sterilization, biomedical science, surgical instrumentation and surgical procedures. The program can be completed in 14 months and allows students to train in operating rooms, participate in mock surgeries and work with surgical robots.

MiraCosta College

Students interested in earning a surgical technology certificate or associate degree at this Oceanside school might want to be aware that there's a 2-year waiting list for program entry. Curriculum includes prerequisite courses in anatomy, medical terminology and pharmacology. Students also learn how to care for patients before, during and after surgical procedures and assist surgeons in a variety of specialty areas. They can also opt to participate in an internship. The certificate requires 38 credits of coursework, while the degree takes 60 credit hours to complete.

Mt. Diablo Adult Education

Mt. Diablo Adult Education sits in Concord and offers a surgical technology certificate program that combines academic coursework with hands-on experience. Through courses in surgical instrumentation, pharmacology and medical terminology, students learn how to maintain supply inventory, sterilize surgical equipment and preserve medical specimens. The program also requires them to complete a 560-hour externship in a medical facility.

Skyline College

Located in San Bruno, Skyline College offers a 60-credit surgical technology associate degree program. Coursework teaches students about surgical specialties, patient care techniques and surgical technology science. Students are also required to complete a surgical technology clinical rotation consisting of 32 hours each week.

Southwestern College

This Chula Vista school's surgical technology program accepts 20 students each year. Admissions requirements include the completion of prerequisite coursework in medical terminology and anatomy. Once accepted, students learn how to prepare equipment used in urology, pediatric, cardiovascular and orthopedic surgical specialties, to name a few. They also examine effective communication techniques and methods for managing stress. Candidates for the associate degree study additional topics in psychology, microbiology and communications as part of their general education course requirements. Students who would like to participate in extracurricular activities can take advantage of the school's Surgical Technology Club.

Career Requirements

According to the state's Employment Development Department, surgical technologists in California typically need to have completed a training program approved by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Graduates of these surgical technology diploma, certificate and associate degree programs can earn voluntary certification through such organizations as the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting or the National Center for Competency Testing. The certification process usually requires candidates to pass an exam. While not required for employment, earning one of these credentials could help prospective surgical technologists find jobs and advance in the field.

Below is an outline of California's six public and private nonprofit schools offering training in this field. All are CAAHEP-accredited with the exception of CBD College. This school's program has been approved by ABHES.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Surgical Technology Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)*
CBD College 2-year, private not-for-profit; large city Surgical Technology Diploma $38,635
MiraCosta College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Achievement in Surgical Technology,
Associate of Arts in Surgical Technology
$1,336 in-state
$6,768 out-of-state
Mt. Diablo Adult Education Less-than-2-year, public; large suburb Surgical Technologists Certificate $11,689
Skyline College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Science in Surgical Technology $1,461 in-state
$8,241 out-of-state
Southwestern College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Achievement in Surgical Technology,
Associate in Science in Surgical Technology
$1,338 in-state
$6,602 out-of-state

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

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