Frequently Asked Questions: Health Sciences,  Patient Care Technician, and Surgical Processing Technician

What will I learn in the Health Sciences programs at Berkeley College?

The Health Sciences Associate's degree program prepares students to meet the challenges of today’s complex healthcare environment through a combination of concentration-specific and general coursework.

Students are able to select either a Patient Care Technician or Surgical Processing Technician concentration, based on their individual interests and career goals. The program provides a strong foundation in the fundamentals of healthcare including:

  • Hands-on learning using modern equipment in simulated healthcare environments
  • Opportunities to practice communication and interpersonal skills needed for developing a rapport with colleagues and patients
  • Valuable, practical experience through a program-related, faculty-monitored practicum
  • Liberal arts and science courses, including a humanities elective, that provides students with the foundation of skills and knowledge necessary to reason clearly and communicate effectively

What are the Admissions requirements for Berkeley College?

The College considers students for admission to degree and certificate programs on the basis of future potential, the motivation and interest to succeed in a chosen profession, and past academic achievement.

Graduation from high school or the equivalent is a basic requirement for admission to degree and certificate programs. In evaluating candidates, the Committee on Admissions takes into consideration your individual interests, your motivation to succeed in a chosen profession, and prior academic achievement. Basic requirements for admission include graduation from an accredited high school or equivalent and an entrance exam or SAT/ACT scores. Applicants to the School of Health Studies have additional requirements. Documentation of successful completion of high school or the equivalent must be submitted to the College prior to starting classes. 

A personal interview is strongly recommended. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Director of Admissions at the campus of their choice to arrange for an appointment with an Admissions Associate. For further information, students may also call the College at 866-317-6087 ext. WC1 or email

What is the application deadline to apply?

Since Berkeley maintains a rolling admissions policy, students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. The Committee on Admissions notifies applicants of a decision as soon as all credentials have been evaluated.

For further questions about the enrollment process, call Admissions to schedule an appointment with an associate.

Can I study to become a Patient Care Technician or a Surgical Processing Technician at any campus?

No. The Surgical Processing Technician program is only offered at the campuses in Newark, Woodbridge, and Woodland Park. The Patient Care Technician program is only available at the campuses in Newark and Woodland Park. Health Sciences Associate in Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.) is offered in NewarkWoodbridge, and Woodland Park.

What kind of job can I get with an Associate’s degree or certificate from the Health Sciences programs?

Patient Care Technicians provide basic care for patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Some responsibilities include:

  • Clean and bathe patients or residents
  • Help patients use the toilet and dress
  • Turn, reposition, and transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs
  • Listen to and record patients’ health concerns and report that information to nurses
  • Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Serve meals and help patients eat

Facilities that employ Patient Care Technicians include:

  • Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities)
  • Hospitals; state, local, and private
  • Residential care facilities
  • Home healthcare services
  • Government

Although certification is not required to work in most states, employers prefer to hire certified Patient Care Technicians.

Students who wish to enhance their career opportunities can apply Patient Care Technician program credits toward the Berkeley College Health Sciences Associate in Applied Science degree program.

Surgical Processing Technicians are responsible for sterilizing and assembling routine or specialty surgical instrument trays or other sterilized supplies, filling special requests as needed. Some other responsibilities may include:

  • Clean instruments to prepare them for sterilization
  • Organize and assemble routine or specialty surgical instrument trays or other sterilized supplies
  • Examine equipment to detect leaks, worn or loose parts, or other indications of disrepair
  • Report defective equipment to appropriate supervisors or staff
  • Maintain records of inventory or equipment usage and order medical instruments or supplies when inventory is low
  • Check sterile supplies to ensure that they are not outdated

 Facilities that employ Surgical Processing Technicians include:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Physician offices
  • Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing

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