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Should I Pursue a Surgical Technology Associate Degree Program?

Majors Overview February 18, 2014

Students enrolled in this program can expect to gain the skills necessary to becoming part of a surgical team that provides assistance to surgeons, passes instruments and tends to surgical patients. The program also focuses on medical terminology and communication skills and can be completed within two years. Admission criteria typically need GED certificates or high school diplomas.


Coursework is a combination of classroom lectures and supervised clinical studies, in addition to instruction imparted through lab experiences and seminars. Students seeking admission are subject to criminal background checks before they can take part in clinical rotations. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Surgical interventions
•Surgical instrumentation
•Pharmacology for the surgical technologist
•Applied microbiology
•Surgical procedures
•Medical terminology

Career Choices

Those who successfully complete the program can seek entry-level careers in work settings such as outpatient centers, clinics in surgeon offices, surgical supply departments and hospital operating rooms. Career titles may commonly include:

•Operating room technician
•Certified surgical technologist
•Surgical technologist
•Surgical technician

Continuing Education Choices

Those who graduate from the program can seek immediate employment or may opt for continued education by earning bachelor’s degrees in business management technology or surgical technology. Career opportunities can also be enhanced through holding of professional certifications. Certification for surgical technologists are offered by both the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) and the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

Completion of an accredited program along with adequate experience or on-the-job training is required to make a candidate eligible to take a certification examination. The Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential is offered by the NBSTSA, while the Tech in Surgery-Certified (TS-C) is offered by the NCCT. Both titles can be maintained through continuing education.

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