Requirements For a Surgical Technologist Career

A surgical tech’s duties include a variety of responsibilities, including preparing surgical procedures and performing post-operative tasks. They are usually responsible for preparing both the operating room (OR) and the patient for surgery. Such functions entail ensuring that the OR has sufficient medical supplies and the equipment is sterilized before the surgeon starts to operate. Additionally, they cleanse and disinfect patients’ incision areas and aid the surgeon during the operation by providing tools, such as surgical knives and retractors, on demand. They dress the patient’s wound and move them into the treatment room after the procedure. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 72% of surgical tech’s work in hospitals. Their other potential work environments include outpatient surgery physician offices and centers.

Educational Requirements

A surgical technologist degree takes between one and two years. Many aspiring to pursue this career choose to get a technical school or a community college’s associate degree. Many institutions provide a two-year degree curriculum focusing on hands-on experience. A student can have multiple pathways to becoming a surgical tech, but their foundations are closely the same. A high school diploma or a GED is a requirement for many postsecondary programs in surgical technology. Apart from attending a community college, students can take an alternate route to become a surgical tech by joining a professional training course through the United States medical programs, which takes between twelve and fourteen weeks. Career advisors recommend students to hands-on skills during the educational program through internships and job shadowing, because such experience is fundamental during a job search. A surgical tech graduate should sit for one of the national certification examination provided by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). After certification, the graduates are ready to apply for entry-level job positions in hospitals and other healthcare organizations.

Licensure/Credentialing Requirements

Surgical technologists have two main certifications, where the NBSTSA is responsible for offering the first one to graduates who pass a credentialing examination for the Certified Surgical Technologists (CST). The qualification criterion for a CST examination entails being a graduate of an accredited surgical tech program, a military training program, or a surgical first assisting program. The application process takes approximately six weeks, but the applicant may rush the process by paying an additional fifty dollars, shortening it to three to five business days. The overall cost of the procedure for NBSTSA members is 190 dollars and for non-members is 290 dollars. Additionally, a person can obtain certification via the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). For a candidate to qualify for a Tech in Surgery- Certified (TS-C) credential from the NCCT, they must have graduated from one of the following routes: accredited surgical tech program, military training program, or possess three years of verifiable surgical technology’s experience. Different states have varying licensure requirements for surgical techs. Therefore, practitioners should check the state laws of where they aspire to work.

Employment Opportunities

Most allied surgical technologists, approximately 70%, work in hospitals, but qualified surgical techs may find positions in private practices, clinics, and surgical centers. As many medical technicians are specialized in emergency rooms (ERs) to deal with all the things that range from normal surgery and life-saving surgery, they are a big part of emergency care. A hospital’s operating procedures are programmed to work on rotations, meaning a surgical tech can work in the ER in one hour while in the next, they could be helping to replace a patient’s hip. A surgical technology certification involves additional education, which opens increased job opportunities. A person can advance their surgical technology career by becoming an operating assistant after gaining extra education or on-job training. They can also advance to a management position, including being in charge of operating teams.

Rationale for Selection

Many jobs need several years of education before you can begin your job. Fortunately, for surgical techs, this is not the case. Most employees are required to work in this field through a postsecondary certificate or an associate diploma. Surgical technology programs are different in length, but most students can complete their degree within two years. In total, less time at school means less money spending on classes. It is a clear advantage for aspiring surgical technicians, but there are no financial advantages. The hospitals are situated in nearly all areas globally, with surgeons in every hospital performing surgery, ensuring that positions are plentiful worldwide and people do not need to move to find a career in a particular area. It is possible to have the luxury of operating as a surgical technology in a major city or a remote location, on the east coast or the western coasts.


Surgical technicians support doctors to ensure that the surgical operations are carried out as smoothly and as effectively as possible. They are responsible for organizing the operation room, cleaning the equipment, and ensuring a sterile environment. A surgical tech is an excellent career for people craving for a multi-skilled medical job with less training and education. A career in surgical technology opens many job opportunities because they operate in many parts of the hospital.

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