Surgical Technician Training, Certification and Programs

  • A Surgical technician, commonly called surgical technologists (ST) is a health professional who works along with the surgical team to ensure that every operative process is conducted under ideal conditions. Every surgical team member works in two different dimensions- Sterile and Non-sterile. The sterile team members include surgical assistants, surgeons and surgical technicians.

  • The surgical team is responsible for ensuring patient care and surgical case management with having minimal directions from other team members. All the ST team members must follow the medical principles and the sterile technique practice. Honesty and moral integrity are essential for every surgical technician to uphold the medical standard. Keep reading for more information about how to become a surgical technician.

    The Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam, and training organizations

    Educationally, surgical technician’s graduate from programs accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which is managed by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST). AST is the professional organization of every surgical technician. However, candidates can also take the certification from other organizations such as The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), the National Healthcare Association (NHA) and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).

    Education qualification

    For entering into an accredited surgical technology program, an aspiring surgical technician must complete an entry-level education first (high school diploma or an equivalent degree) and complete either an associate’s degree program or one-year certificate program that lasts for about 2 years. They have to produce official records. Every candidate must full fill all the basic requirements for the admission. The candidate should then graduate from an accredited surgical technologist program and obtain certificates to undergo CPR. A specified score on pre-admission medical exam may be required. A surgical technician requires at least 2 years of surgical or clinical technician experience in a hospital.

    To become eligible for taking the surgical technologist certification, exam, an individual must be a graduate of a Commission on Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) accredited surgical technology program or an Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP). The candidate should pass the exams conducted by the Liaison Council on Certification for the Surgical Technologist and obtain a certificate that requires continuing education. An accredited surgical technology programs usually range from 9 months to 2 years. Completion of the 9 month course makes the candidate eligible for a diploma or a certificate of completion. By completing the 2 years course provides the candidate with an associate degree. The associate degree is the preferred level of graduation for surgical technology. Read more about surgical tech schools.

    CST exam details

    The National certifying examination for surgical technicians is an online test with a duration of 4 hours. It contains 200 multiple choice questions and each question contains 4 answers out of which the correct one should be chosen. The Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam 3 main areas of medical science and their subcategories: perioperative care, additional duties and basic science. Out of the 200 questions, each candidate must answer 118 questions correctly to qualify the CST exam. Out of the total 200 questions, only 175 questions are scored, remaining 25 questions are not counted towards the score. You will be able to know your score after 5 minutes after completing your exams. The official notification will take around 2 weeks to arrive.

    Once you pass the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) exam, you become a certified surgical technologist. After passing the NCCT exam, you are a tech in surgery-certified (TS-C). Make sure that you renew your certification every four years for CST and five years in case of TS-C. For renewal, an individual must submit the request before 6 months of the expiration date. The expiry date will be specified in the certificate. Renewal is essential because it shows the responsibility of a ST to deliver the best possible care for every patient.

    how to become surgical technician in USA
    how to become surgical technician

    How much does a surgical technician earn ? 

    According to, the median expected salary for a surgical technician in the United States is around $35,122 and an average hourly wage ranges from $12.72 to $18 per hour. Read more about surgical technician salary.

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