A surgical technician is someone who helps a surgeon before, during and after an operation. They prepare the patient, sterilize the tools and operating room, and stand by the surgeon's side ensuring they have everything they need to be successful. If you like a challenge, can handle stress, love technology, and want to work in a field where you know you're making a difference, you may consider being a surgical technician.

Surgical Technologist Schools in California

While there are a number of surgical technician schools in California to choose from, the ones listed in this section have all been certified by CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs). The programs they offer are also diverse enough that you have options for how to complete your education.

  • North-West College - Long Beach: Mock lab work plays a central role in this program. There are two clinical externships and two surgical procedure labs required before graduation.

  • Career Networks Institute: This program offers a flexible schedule that includes the option to take evening and/or weekend classes. There is also an operating room environment for students to learn in.

  • Skyline College: Their 12-month program culminates in a certificate. However, upon completion and after taking an additional 30 units of General Education, graduates can apply for the ASS in Surgical Technology program.

  • Southwestern College - San Diego: This program takes three semesters to complete. Aside from having a high school diploma or G.E.D., there are also three prerequisite courses that must be completed with a 2.5 GPA prior to admittance. 20 students are accepted every fall.

  • Premiere Career College: Emphasis is placed on operation room experience and the school's Career Development and Placement Assistance Services helps graduates find employment after graduation.

Once you have graduated from one of the above surgical technologist schools in California, continue on and take the CST (Certified Surgical Technologist) exam provided by the NBSTSA (National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting). It's not a requirement, but it has become extremely commonplace in the industry and will bolster your resume.

What to Expect from Surgical Tech Schools in California

The three main components included at all surgical tech schools in California are:

  • Classroom lectures
  • Lab work
  • Experience in the operating room

For some of these schools, lectures can be attended from the comfort of your own home thanks to online classes. However, every student must spend time in the lab learning how their tools work and what it takes to sterilize both the tools and the operating room. They must also learn how to prep the patient for various surgical procedures.

Along the same lines, students must see what surgery looks like firsthand in an operating room and even assist a surgeon before they can graduate.

California Surgical Technician Certification

You don't need a license to work as a surgical technician in California. This is why we recommend you take the CST exam. With so many schools in CA training technicians, this certification is a way of telling any employer that you are prepared for the role.

Resources for Surgical Technicians in California

Here are some helpful resources to assist you on your path to becoming a surgical technician:

When it comes to the CST exam, your school should prepare you, but it's still a good idea to do some studying on your own, given its importance. Luckily, there are plenty of CST reference materials to help with that.

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More California Surgical Technology Schools

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

School Name
Highest Award
San Bruno

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Surgical Technologists

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for California. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.

Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Surgical Technologists

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Surgical Technologists relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area
Annual Median Salary
Bakersfield 270 $54,360
Chico 70 $53,210
Fresno 210 $57,600
Sacramento 780 $61,930
Roseville 780 $61,930
Arden 780 $61,930
Arcade 780 $61,930
Salinas 70 $66,220
Los Angeles 3230 $57,190
Long Beach 3230 $57,190
Anaheim 3230 $57,190
Madera 50 $48,350
Modesto 100 $56,330
Oxnard 240 $56,360
Thousand Oaks 240 $56,360
Ventura 240 $56,360
Redding 50 $67,230
Riverside 800 $49,770
San Bernardino 800 $49,770
Ontario 800 $49,770
San Diego 900 $55,210
Carlsbad 900 $55,210
San Francisco 1380 $71,160
Oakland 1380 $71,160
Hayward 1380 $71,160
Stockton 140 $57,970
Lodi 140 $57,970
San Jose 630 $66,970
Sunnyvale 630 $66,970
Santa Clara 630 $66,970
Vallejo 40 $72,790
Fairfield 40 $72,790
Visalia N/A $56,790
Porterville N/A $56,790
San Luis Obispo 80 $49,620
Paso Robles 80 $49,620
Arroyo Grande 80 $49,620
Santa Cruz 50 $57,370
Watsonville 50 $57,370
Santa Maria 100 $57,710
Santa Barbara 100 $57,710
Santa Rosa 160 $55,910


  1. CAAHEP Accredited Program Search, http://www.caahep.org/Find-An-Accredited-Program/, accessed on October 21, 2016
  2. Surgical Tech Schools in California, http://www.educationnews.org/career-index/surgical-technology-schools-in-California/, accessed on October 21, 2016
  3. How to Become a Surgical Technologist, https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-become-a-surgical-technologist-1735975, accessed October 21, 2016
  4. Homepage, NBSTSA, http://www.nbstsa.org/ accessed October 21, 2016

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