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.

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.

2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov

Metro Area
Annual Median Salary
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura140$59,990
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario920$57,510
San Diego-Carlsbad660$62,840
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara560$69,750
Santa Rosa80$60,580
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward1170$72,790
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande140$47,100
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara110$66,420
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim3340$59,110


  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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