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Surgical Technician Training Programs in California

Within the field of healthcare, there are dozens of support positions that help healthcare providers provide optimal care to their patients. Scrub tech graduates keep procedures running smoothly and help surgeons spend most of their time working with patients.

In California, one of the largest states in the country, the need for prompt and evidence-based care is growing constantly. With exciting training options and different degree paths, you can choose how you’d like to start the path to a healthcare career.

Find out how you can get involved in one of the fastest growing fields in the United States.

Start by contacting CA schools with surgical technician certificate programs today.

What Kind of Surgical Technician Training Do I Need in California?

People get involved in the healthcare industry because they want to make a difference. Keep reading to find out how you can do exactly that with a surgical tech Associate degree, diploma, or certificate. Learn more about the different skills needed in this job and what traits may make you a good fit for a surgical technician program.

Getting Into Surgical Tech Schools in California

Although there are many differences between surgical tech school options, they are very similar when it comes to admissions requirements. Whether you decide to earn an Associate’s degree, surgical technician certificate, or diploma, you can benefit from standard admissions requirements.

You need a GED or high school diploma before you start your coursework, and most schools also require that you pass a drug test and a TB test.

Surgical Technician Requirements for Admission and Application Documents

  • High school transcripts
  • College transcripts for any postsecondary institutions you have attended
  • Background check paperwork
  • Drug screen paperwork
  • Results of physical exam
  • Accuplacer, SAT, or ACT test scores

California Surgical Technology Training

In any surgical technician program, there are two main components to your education. The first is theory. You need to understand medical terminology and be able to use it in high-pressure situations. You should also be well-versed in different medical situations, body systems, and human physiology.

The other part of your training comes from practical and clinical experience. In laboratory courses, you work with surgical tools and sterilization procedures to make sure you can execute each procedure in an operating room.

In an externship or internship, you work with surgical technicians and surgeons to learn more about operating room tech requirements.

Surgical Tech Courses in California

  • Medical Terminology (3 credits): Master the words and phrases you are most likely to hear in the operating room on a daily basis. Coursework may focus both on understanding terminology and utilizing it properly.
  • Ethical and Legal Aspects of Health Services (3 credits): Learn about your ethical responsibilities as a healthcare professional and what steps you can take to avoid overstepping your boundaries and running into legal issues.
  • Fundamentals of Surgical Technology (6 credits): Get an overview of surgical technology and what your role is in this field.
  • Surgical Techniques (6 credits): Start to delve into surgical techniques and practice them in laboratory and clinical settings.
  • Surgical Specialty Intervention Procedures (3 credits): Learn about the procedures used in different surgical specialties and figure out which procedures are most commonly requested.
  • Pharmacology and Anesthesiology (2 credits): This class covers the pharmacology of pain medication and sedatives that are used in surgical settings.
  • Clinical Practicum (10 credits): In this class, jump into the healthcare industry by getting experience in local operating rooms and hospitals.

Clearly, hands-on practice is key for developing many of the skills you may use every day as an OR tech. Surgical tech Associate programs may have some online coursework options, but as a general rule, you can’t do 100% of your surgical tech degree online.

Online surgical tech programs are typically blended programs, which means that they combine in-person clinical and laboratory experience with online theory coursework.

Why Can’t I Earn Surgical Tech Certification Online?

To become a Certified Surgical Technologist, you need to attend a CAAHEP-accredited school. Part of CAAHEP accreditation is clinical experience. Without the required clinical hours behind you, you cannot meet surgical technician requirements and cannot become certified.

Theory is a critical part of your education, but being able to apply theory to real healthcare situations is crucial.

Which Courses May Be Available Online?

  • Medical Terminology
  • Ethical and Legal Aspects of Health Services
  • Pharmacology
  • General education courses (typically required for those earning a surgical tech Associate’s degree online)

Paying for Surgical Tech School in California

Financial aid is a major concern for many students. Even in a one-year or two-year program, expenses related to tuition, books, and equipment can add up quickly. Plan ahead, make lists of scholarships that you qualify for, and apply throughout the year to make sure you meet your deadlines.

One of your highest priorities should be federal financial aid. Students at accredited surgical tech diploma programs can use federal loans and grants to cover some or all of their expenses.

To find out how much aid you get and what type of aid you get, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This looks at a number of factors to find out how much assistance you need while earning your surgical technology Associate’s degree.

One of the main factors used to determine your financial aid is which school you attend and the average cost of attendance for that school. Because of this, you need to have access to your school code to fill out the FAFSA.

There are many private organizations and nonprofit organizations that offer financial support to students of surgical tech programs. Peterson’s is a reliable scholarship resource that lists local, state, and national scholarships, including those that are only open to surgical tech students. If you join the Association of Surgical Technologists as a student member, you may apply for their scholarships.

Working as a Certified Surgical Technician in California

Surgical tech diploma programs are developed to give you the technical skills and medical knowledge you need to start your career promptly after graduating. You may be able to work in many different settings to find the one that best suits your career goals.

Learn more about surgical technician requirements and find out how you can use your training in the healthcare industry.

California Surgical Technician Requirements

With your surgical tech degree, diploma, or certificate, you can start the process of certification. To practice in the state of California, you do not need any licensure or certification. However, legal requirements and employer hiring standards are two entirely separate things.

While you may legally work as a surgical technician without certification, you may find that the majority of OR tech employers only hire applicants with Certified Surgical Technologist status.

To apply for certification, go through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. They require a copy of your diploma, certificate, or Associate’s degree, which serves as proof that you have graduated from an accredited surgical tech degree program.

You must also sign up to take the accreditation exam. It costs $190 for an NBSTSA member to take the exam and $290 for a non-NBSTSA member to take the exam.

The renewal process for a scrub tech is very straightforward. Your certification is good for four years. During each four-year period, you must complete 60 hours of continuing education to remain licensed. You may meet this requirement by attending surgical tech courses, going through a continuing education surgical technician program, or going to seminars.

Where are the Best Surgical Tech Jobs in California?

Throughout California, there are thousands of healthcare facilities that hire surgical techs. If you decide to work in a hospital, you may have many specialty options to consider.

Some hospitals have surgical technicians that float around the hospital; this means that you may be called to any department to assist during an emergency or scheduled procedure. Large hospitals with lots of funding may have surgical techs whom are permanently assigned to specific departments. If this is the type of position you apply for, you may get plenty of practice with a core set of procedures and work with the same surgical team every day.

Outpatient surgery clinics are another popular option for operating room tech graduates, since these facilities often have set schedules and few on-call requirements.

Whether you work at a hospital or an outpatient facility, be ready to be busy. When there are many scheduled procedures or emergency situations fill up the operating rooms, you need to be ready to jump from task to task without losing your focus.

This role, like many other in healthcare, may require you to be on your feet for hours at a time. Operating rooms can be high-stress environments, and you should have the coping skills needed to stay calm during busy shifts. These are a few of the skills that employers may look for when interviewing applicants.

California Employer Requirements and Hiring Standards

  • Certified Surgical Technologist status
  • Self-motivated and able to work with limited supervision
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to use medical software and documentation software
  • Participate in a team and take feedback from supervisors
  • Maintain a strong eye for detail

Common Surgical Technician Job Duties in California

  • Perform scrub duties prior to a surgery
  • Anticipate the needs of a surgeon and meet them promptly
  • Prepare operative suites by collecting equipment, supplies, and instruments
  • Sterilize and replace equipment as needed
  • Verify that surgical instruments are in good working order before each surgery
  • Position patients for optimal surgical access
  • Prepare the surgery site by cleansing and sanitizing it
  • Use surgical draping procedures to maintain a sterile environment
  • Maintain surgical asepsis
  • Identify surgical specimens and submit them to the lab for testing

The role of the surgical technician is determined by the California State Assembly. They outline what graduates of surgical tech programs can and cannot do, as well as how much supervision is needed during specific tasks.

California Surgical Tech Salaries

After attending accredited surgical tech programs, California graduates may earn a wide range of salaries. Keep in mind that salary averages vary between counties and cities. Statewide, the mean income for a surgical technician is $59,380 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). In many parts of California, salary averages are higher.

Salary Averages in California Metropolitan Areas

  • Chico: $63,100 per year (BLS, 2017)
  • Modesto: $64,750 per year (BLS, 2017)
  • Napa: $60,680 per year (BLS, 2017)
  • Oakland: $69,180 per year (BLS, 2017)
  • Sacramento: $61,300 per year (BLS, 2017)
  • San Francisco: $71,400 per year (BLS, 2017)
  • San Jose: $66,720 per year (BLS, 2017)
  • San Rafael: $77,350 per year (BLS, 2017)
  • Stockton: $64,450 per year (BLS, 2017)
  • Vallejo: $69,740 per year (BLS, 2017)

The job outlook for surgical technicians is promising. Between 2014 and 2024, job openings for surgical technicians may increase 15% throughout the United States (BLS, 2017).

Surgical Technology Resources in California

Making full use of local and national resources is an important part of building up your career. While you’re still in surgical tech school, you may want to become active in the local healthcare community and get to know others who work in surgery. This can help you make the most of surgical scrub tech schools, California employment opportunities, and local training events.

Since healthcare is known for being a high-stress field, you may want to have a strong network of surgical professionals who can teach you their coping skills and help you find healthy ways to unwind after a long day.

Surgical Assistant Programs: California Resources and Groups

How could you use a surgical technology Associate’s degree to improve healthcare, start a career you love, and do meaningful work every day? You can find out now.

Use our list of surgical assistant programs. California schools are listed for your convenience.

Reach out to local schools to find a program that suits you!