Surgical Tech Schools In California

Californians interested in training for a surgical technician career may attend one of many accredited surgical tech schools in California. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgical technologists in California earned an annual median income of $62,460.

Employment for surgical techs is expected to increase by 11 percent from 2018 through 2024. Surgical tech training and education is offered through community colleges and vocational schools. Programs require an average of one to two years to finish, with eligibility to sit for certification upon successful completion.

Surgical techs, work in operating rooms before, during and after surgical procedures. Responsibilities may include preparing the surgical instruments, supplies and equipment before surgery and ensuring a sterile surgical environment.

Techs also prepare patients for surgery and assist surgical tea members don surgical gowns, masks and gloves. During surgery, techs assist the surgeon by providing the requested instruments and supplies. Techs may also cut sutures and apply wound dressings. After surgery, techs assist patients immediately following surgery and prepare the surgical area for the next patient.

General Program Requirements

Accredited programs include general requirements before acceptance into surgical tech programs. Potential students must have earned a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Additionally, applicants must be immunized, be in good physical health, have excellent vision and must be able to stand for long periods of time.

Program applicants may also be required to submit to drug testing and a criminal background check before beginning the required externship and clinical rotation required at surgical tech schools in California.

MiraCosta Community College


MiraCosta College, located in Oceanside, gives students the chance to earn either an Associate degree in Surgical Technology, or a surgical technologist diploma. Both the degree and the diploma route leads to certification as a surgical technologist.

As of 2019, there are only 4 California Community Colleges that have programs in Surgical Technology. The certificate program at MiraCosta College takes just 1 year to complete. Before entering the 1 year program, students must take the following prerequisites:

  • Pharmacology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Human Anatomy

The Surgical Tech school at MiraCosta prepares its students to effectively work as part of a surgical team in hospitals, outpatient surgicenters, physicians’ offices, cast rooms, and more. The average starting surgical tech salary for an MCC new-grad student is $49,040, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

MCC’s accreditation by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) allows eligible students to apply for Federal Financial Aid. Students must apply using the standard FAFSA forms available HERE.

CNI College Surgical Technologist Program


CNI College, located in Orange County, was established in 1994 and has become one of California’s leading vocational learning institutions. The school offers a 13-month surgical tech training program that includes classroom instruction, mock surgeries and externships within the community.

Coursework prepares students in all facets of the position including surgical supplies management, equipment and instrument sterilization, surgical computer operation and patient homeostasis.

As of 2019, tuition and fees were 34,975.00 and total cost for books and supplies as $1,452. CNI’s placement rate for graduates was 71 percent in 2019. Qualified students may be eligible for Federal Financial Aid, including grants and loans. Scholarship opportunities are also available for U.S. residents.

CNI is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Graduates from CNI’s surgical tech program qualify to sit for the national certification exam.

Skyline College Surgical Tech Program


Skyline College, located in San Bruno, features a two-year Associate in Science in Surgical Technology, in addition to a 12-month certificate in Surgical Technology. To earn an associate degree, students complete general education courses and degree specific courses such as, surgical patient preparation, standards for sterile surgical environment, pathology basics and patient wound care .

Additional coursework may include microbiology, theoretical and practical patient care, and human anatomy. A certificate in surgical technology features similar course work as the associate degree, with the exception of general education courses. The program includes classroom lecture and clinical training with an externship.

Tuition and fees for the 60 credit-hour surgical tech associate degree is $3,700 as of 2019. Total costs for the Certificate in Surgical Technology was approximately $2,900 in 2019. Skyline’s surgical tech programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

In 2018, Skyline College successfully placed 74 percent of the graduates from the school’s surgical tech programs. Federal Financial Aid is available for students who meet eligibility requirements. Successful graduates qualify to sit for the surgical tech national examination, required for certification.

San Joaquin Valley College


San Joaquin Valley College offers a two-year associate degree for surgical technology at its Bakersfield and Fresno campuses. Classes are conducted Monday through Thursday and clinical rotations are scheduled each Friday. SJVC is also one of the many California private colleges to offer LVN to RN programs.

As of 2019, total tuition and fees for the program at both campuses was $37,500. The program prepares students for work in birthing centers, out-patient surgical centers, oral surgery centers and hospital operating rooms.

In addition to an Associate of Science degree, graduates earn CPR certification and are eligible to take the National Certification Exam for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential.

As of 2018, SJVC posted a 96 percent graduation rate, with an 84 percent job placement rate for graduates of the Surgical Technology program. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

California not only offers numerous choices for training and education, the job market in California for surgical techs is ripe with opportunity. In 2018, according to the U.S. Labor Department, California was the second largest employer of surgical techs, just behind Texas, with 9,640 surgical technicians employed full-time.

The median surgical tech salary in California was higher than the nation’s average in 2018, with surgical techs earning $60,940 annually. Surgical tech schools in California provide the necessary preparation that leads to certification for aspiring surgical techs.