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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Surgical Technology

Majors Overview March 21, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in surgical technology and their educational requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Surgical Technology

Few schools, if any, offer bachelor’s degrees in surgical technology; however, interested individuals can enroll in associate’s degree programs in the field. Students enrolled in this two-year program are trained to perform work in emergency care centers and hospitals while supervised by anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and surgeons.

Those who graduate from an associate’s degree program in surgical technology are eligible to earn certification through the passage of an exam devised to qualify them to become surgical technicians.

Coursework in associate’s-level surgical technology degree programs combines classroom and clinical instruction. Students become proficient in maintaining a sterile environment in the operating room, utilizing surgical equipment, and assisting nurses and doctors in surgical procedures.

They also learn the fundamentals of medical terminology, maintenance of patient charts, and preparation of patients for surgery. Surgical technology students also learn how to take vital signs, prepare and restock operating rooms, and safely transport patients.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. High school students seeking admission to a surgical technology program are required to complete prerequisite courses in physiology, chemistry, biology, and mathematics, in addition to passing a background check, providing proof of up-to-date immunizations, and possessing current CPR certification.


Students enrolled in this associate’s degree program complete courses in pathology and medical procedures. Coursework also includes hands-on training in practicum courses held at local medical centers and hospitals. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Sterilization and disinfection
•Patient care
•Medical ethics

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a faster than average job growth rate of 30% has been predicted for surgical technologists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, about 98,500 individuals were employed as surgical technologists in the country (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

A graduate with an associate’s degree in surgical technology may take the certified surgical technologist exam that is administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). While professional certification is not always mandatory, a graduate that obtains a professional credential can enhance his or her employment prospects.

Up to 60 hours of continuing education requirements must be completed by certified surgical technicians (CSTs) to keep their certification valid. CSTs that do not complete continuing education requirements will need to sit the test again after four years.

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