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Surgical Technologist Associates Degree / Bachelors Degree Program

surgical technologist

Surgical technologists assist in surgical operations. They prepare operating rooms, arrange equipment, and help doctors during surgeries. The surgical technology field requires physical stamina, manual dexterity, the ability to maintain good working relationships with patients and medical staff, and the ability to work well in high-stress situations.

About Our Program

Simi Institute’s Surgical Technology program is conducted in consortium with Excelsior University and is an associates degree program that starts in June of every year. There is also an option to earn a bachelor’s degree. Classes at SICE include both classroom (didactic) and hands-on training (clinical) and are intended to prepare students to assist in surgical operations.

This intensive SICE Surgical Technology program includes math and science, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, microbiology and infection control, introduction to surgical technology, principles of surgical technology, surgical procedures, career preparation, exam review, and clinical experiences in area hospitals and surgery centers. See the application packet for more details.

Upon successful completion of this program, students are eligible to take the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) Exam through Association of Surgical Technologist (AST) and become a Certified Surgical Technologists (CST).

The Surgical Technology Program of Simi Institute for Careers & Education / Excelsior University is accredited by The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.

History and Accreditation

Simi Institute for Careers & Education is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Our Surgical Technology Program began in 1975 and had graduated surgical technologist every year since its inception. This program is accredited by CAAHEP and ARC/STSA.

Program Admission


Applications are accepted for the Surgical Technology program annually in the Spring. Applicants should be 18 years old and have earned a high school diploma or equivalent by the start of the enrollment term. The application includes a test of adult basic English, a short writing sample, and an interview.


The application process is now closed for the 2024 / 2026 cohorts. Please check back in January 2025.


A non-refundable application fee of $50 is required and must be paid at time of application submission.  


Selection for the Surgical Technology program is based on:

  • application essay
  • a written entrance test of adult basic skills
  1. Part 1:  English - reading comprehension and language skills
  2. Part 2:  Math skills - equations, fractions, percentages, scientific notation, pre-algebra
  • an interview with SICE Surgical Technology Program Staff
  • academic preparation (from optional transcripts)
  • relevant work experience or volunteer work (listed in application)

Although not required for admission, successful completion of college courses and experience in the medical field are considered in admission selections.  Transcripts must be provided with the application packet in order for coursework to be considered. A record of work experience, volunteer work, or involvement in school clubs is also favorable.


Must be 18 years or older with a US high school diploma, GED (English version) or US college degree. Must speak, read, and write English at a college level. Foreign transcripts must be translated by a third party. 

At the student's expense, the following are required:

1. A physical exam that includes extensive lab work and proof of Hepatitis B immunization AFTER acceptance into program.

2. A current background check (90 days or newer) BEFORE starting clinical externship. Additional background check may be required for licensing and / or registration with the appropriate governing board.


Student’s in Simi Institute’s Surgical Technology program complete the following educational modules:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Microbiology and Infection Control
  • Surgical Pharmacology
  • Principles and Practices of Surgical Technology
  • Surgical Techniques I: Asepsis and Patient Care
  • Surgical Techniques II: Instrumentation and Equipment
  • Mock Surgery Practicum I
  • Mock Surgery Practicum II
  • Clinical Rotation

Students must also complete courses in Fire Safety and Basic Life Support for the Healthcare Professional (included in the program tuition).

Clinical Externship

Surgical Technology students are also required to complete a clinical externship in Ventura and Los Angeles partner hospitals and surgery centers. This unpaid experience is educational in nature and includes work in sterile processing and in the operating room.

  • Students must complete a minimum of 30 cases in General Surgery; 20 of which must be in the First Scrub Role. The remaining 10 cases may be performed in either the First or Second Scrub Role.
  • Students must also complete a minimum of 90 cases in various surgical specialties, excluding General Surgery. 60 of the 90 specialty cases must be performed in the First Scrub Role. The remaining 30 cases may be performed in either the First or Second Scrub Role. 15 is the maximum number of cases that can be counted in one surgical specialty.
  •  Surgical specialties include:
    • Cardiothoracic
    • ENT
    • Eye
    • Genitourinary (GU)
    • Neuro
    • OB-Gyn
    • Oral/Maxillofacial
    • Orthopedics
    • Peripheral Vascular
    • Plastics
  • Non-required surgical categories include Labor & Delivery and Diagnostic Endoscopy (Bronchoscopy, Colonoscopy, Cytoscopy, EGD, ERCP, Esophagoscopy, Laryngoscopy, Panendoscopy, Ureteroscopy). 10 diagnostic endoscopy cases and 5 vaginal delivery cases may be applied only toward the Second Scrub Role cases. Observation cases do not count towards the 120 required cases.

2024 / 2026 Cohort

Dates: June 2024 - October 2026

Days+: Monday - Friday (Externship shift days may include weekends)

Time: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm (Externship sites and hours vary. May include evenings.)

Room: 501

NCCRS Credits: 54

Year 1 Fee: $10,550* ($50 Application Fee; $3,500 Summer Term 2024; $3,500 Fall Term 2024; $3,500 Spring Term 2025). Includes SICE Surgical Technology courses, uniforms, textbooks, required course materials, CPR training & certification, Fire Card, background check, drug screening, AST membership, certification exam application and clinical externship.

Year 2 Fee: $250* (Summer Term 2025). Includes all Year 2 SICE Surgical Technology courses, credentialing exam preparation course, and clinical externship.

Additional Fees*: Please read the application packet for Excelsior University fees and more information on additional costs associated with clinical preparation (such as physical and immunizations), the completion of associates degree, credentialing exam, and obtaining licensure as an ST in California.

Medical Program Requirements: All SICE medical courses include required textbooks, supplies, and uniforms (unless otherwise noted). Students in all SICE medical programs should be 18 years or older, and speak, read, and write at a minimum 10th grade level.

Clinical Requirements: A Social Security or tax ID number, background check, medical exam, vaccinations (including Covid-19), drug screening, government-issued picture ID, N95 mask fitting, CPR, TB test, and Fire Card (for Los Angeles if applicable) are mandatory for those SICE medical programs that require clinical externships at partner facilities. Other clinical requirements may exist. Clinical externships included in SICE medical programs are unpaid educational experiences.

Licensing Requirements: In addition to program completion and clinical requirements, proof of U.S. High School diploma or equivalent, passing licensure exam score, and additional items may be required for licensure in California. 

Prerequisite: U.S. high school diploma or equivalent. Must speak, read, and write English at a college level.

*Additional fees may apply

+Excelsior University courses are offered online and with flexible schedules. Transfer credits from other accredited universities are also accepted for most courses.

A background check may be required for externships, clinicals and licensing, certification or registration with the appropriate governing board.


CST Pass Rates

The following are the pass rates for each annual reporting year based on the student's FIRST attempt at passing the exam during the academic year listed.

Pass Rates

Licensure Information

While licensure is not required for surgical technologists in California, the majority of local employers require it.  Licensure  as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) can be obtained by completing an accredited program like ours and then passing the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting Certified Surgical Technologist Exam.  This comprehensive multiple-choice certification exam, taken on a computer, covers the medical knowledge and skills required of competent entry-level technologists, including specific techniques in perioperative care, intra-operative care, post-operative care and basic science. 

Informational Presentation

For additional program information, click here to view our Surgical Technologist Informational Presentation.

Program Flyer

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Please Note

Cohorts who enter after June 2023 will need to earn the AA or BA degree. This is a national change in training requirements by CAAHEP and ARC/STSA.

Job Duties

Surgical technologists typically do the following:

  • Prepare operating rooms for surgery
  • Sterilize equipment and make sure that there are adequate supplies for surgery
  • Ready patients for surgery, such as by washing and disinfecting incision sites
  • Help surgeons during surgery by passing them instruments and other sterile supplies
  • Count supplies, such as sponges and instruments
  • Maintain a sterile environment

Surgical technologists work as members of a healthcare team alongside physicians, surgeons, registered nurses, and other healthcare workers.

Before an operation, surgical technologists prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment. They also prepare patients for surgery by washing and disinfecting incision sites, positioning the patients on the operating table, covering them with sterile drapes, and taking them to and from the operating room. Surgical technologists prepare sterile solutions and medications used in surgery and check that all surgical equipment is working properly. They help the surgical team put on sterile gowns and gloves.

During an operation, surgical technologists pass instruments and supplies to surgeons and first assistants. They also hold retractors, hold internal organs in place during the procedure, or set up robotic surgical equipment. Technologists also may handle specimens taken for laboratory analysis.

Once the operation is complete, surgical technologists may apply bandages and other dressings to the incision site. They may also help transfer patients to recovery rooms and restock operating rooms after a procedure.

Work Environment

About 70 percent of surgical technologists work in hospitals. Some work in outpatient care centers or in offices of physicians who perform outpatient surgery. Surgical technologists wear scrubs (special sterile clothing) while they are in the operating room. Their work may be physically demanding, requiring them to be on their feet for long periods. Surgical technologists also may need to help move patients or lift heavy trays of medical supplies. At times, they may be exposed to communicable diseases and unpleasant sights, odors, and materials.

Work Schedule

Most surgical technologists work full time. Surgical technologists employed in hospitals may work or be on call during nights, weekends, and holidays. They may also be required to work shifts lasting longer than 8 hours.

Important Qualities To Have

Detail oriented. Surgical technologists must pay close attention to their work at all times. For example, they need to provide the correct sterile equipment for surgeons during an operation.

Dexterity. Surgical technologists should be comfortable working with their hands. They must be able to provide needed equipment quickly.

Integrity. Because they are trusted to provide sterile supplies and quality patient care during surgical procedures, surgical technologists must have integrity.

Physical stamina. Surgical technologists should be comfortable standing for extended periods.

Stress-management skills. Working in an operating room can be stressful. Surgical technologists should be able to work well under pressure while providing a high level of care.

Surgical Technologist FAQs

How long is the program?

  • The program is 16+ months long.

How much does the program cost?

  • The program costs approximately $10,800, which includes all materials, scrubs, textbooks, and other supplies. Please note that SICE fees are currently pending SVUSD Board approval.

When does the program start?

  • New cohorts begin once a year, starting in June. 

When are applications available?

Applications for the next cohort will be available in January 2025.

What happens during the application process?

  1. A non-refundable application fee of $50 is required and must be paid at time of application submission. 
  2. Once your application is submitted with relevant attachments, you will receive an email regarding TABE testing.
  3. TABE testing of all applicants for reading comprehension is scheduled and conducted.
  4. Interviews with ST staff are scheduled and conducted.
  5. Upon completion of the application process, all applicants will be notified of their status in the program via email.

Do you offer financial aid?

  • Yes. Please visit our Financial Aid page to see the full list of grant and scholarship opportunities. 


The ARC/STSA is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit accreditation services agency providing national recognition for higher education programs in surgical technology and surgical assisting, in collaboration with the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), in order to promote quality surgical patient care through quality credible education. 

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Student Work Policy

The clinical rotation experience is educational in nature and unpaid.  Students are not being substituted for paid personnel during the clinical component of the program.


The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is the largest programmatic accreditor of the health sciences professions. In collaboration with its Committees on Accreditation, CAAHEP reviews and accredits over 2100 individual education programs in 30 health science occupations. CAAHEP accredited programs are assessed on an ongoing basis to assure that they meet the Standards and Guidelines of each profession. 

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NCCRS College Credit Recommendations

More than 1,500 cooperating colleges and universities (including most California Community Colleges and Cal State Universities) will consider granting college credit based on NCCRS credit recommendations. Additional colleges may also award college units for SICE Medical Career Courses. 

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