Numerous opportunities exist in the surgical tech field for San Diego residents. The city has been a hotbed for those seeking a career in the medical care industry since the Second World War, when a number of hospitals opened up to serve military personnel shipping in or out with the U.S. Navy.
Today, population increase in Southern California and the specialization of medical care has opened the door for students desiring to enter the medical professional as a surgical assistant.
The training involved is geared toward knowledge of the human body and how it is affected by injuries, how preventative surgery helps to keep the body in good health, and how surgical procedures are carried out. Doctors rely on well-trained assistants during and after the actual operating procedure in much the same way a dentist depends on the assistance provided in an examination room. Surgical assistants also have a leg up on the competition when it comes to advancement in the medical sector.
California state law does not require certification to work as a surgical assistant. However, completing a program at an accredited institution allows an individual to consider a greater number of job possibilities. Most degree programs are upper-class and require two years of undergraduate credits before the coursework can be undertaken. Many of the specialized training courses are from one to two years in length, and the student is awarded a Bachelor’s degree, Associate’s degree, or certificate of completion that helps open doors in the job market.
Many of the accredited institutions in the San Diego area that offer degree or certificate programs for surgical technicians require previous credit in the areas of biology, chemistry, and general nursing. Upon completion of the program, students may also take a national certification exam. This helps immensely in the search for jobs, especially those that pay a monthly salary that is above the national average.
The Concorde Career College in San Diego offers a full program that covers various surgical technician and surgical assistant job duties. There are lecture classes, laboratory time, and a series of exams that must be passed before a degree is earned. Those with sufficient undergraduate college credit can earn their Bachelor’s degree with a core emphasis on surgical assistant training at Concorde Career College.
In nearby Oceanside, the MiraCosta College offers an extensive operating room surgical assistant course. This school is also accredited and is recognized by the CAAHEP. This is a 38-credit program that includes both classwork and a minimum number of hours in an actual operating room. Students may choose either the certificate of achievement program or the Associate in Arts degree program.
South of San Diego, the Southwestern College in Chula Vista offers an Associate in Science degree program for surgical assistant students. The student undertakes a 56-credit course that includes the same training that is required for surgical technician certification. Remaining credits involve classes in writing, biology, humanity, psychology, and mathematics.
A certificate or degree from one of the accredited schools in the San Diego area does not guarantee a full-time position, but the education and knowledge will certainly make the job search much easier.
Many employers will require certification or the holding of a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree before considering a candidate. Although the number of jobs in the field of surgical techs is growing across Southern California, the candidate that has completed a degree program will find a greater number of available openings for which they qualify.
National certification can be obtained after the coursework is completed. Entities that provide examinations for certification include the National Center for Competency Testing, the National Board of Surgical Technology, and the National Healthcare Association.
Students earning their degree at an accredited school will receive assistance from their advisor concerning national certification as a surgical tech.
The average starting salary for a surgical assistant in the San Diego area is approximately $35,000. Those who are certified as a First Surgical Assistant and who have passed the exam for national certification may be offered a position that pays $40,000 or more. Those with at least three years of experience may earn in excess of $60,000. This is especially true if the student participated in an internship program after earning a degree or certificate.
The number of surgical tech jobs in the Southern California region is expected to increase by as much as 10 percent over the next five to ten years. This is primarily due to the growing population and the need for specialty care for the aging members of society.
The number of citizens above the age of 70 has been growing steadily thanks to the baby boom in the mid-20th century. This has resulted in a greater need for health care specialists, especially those educated in the surgical procedure sector.
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