Becoming a Certified Surgical Technician

Certified Surgical Technicians assist the surgeons and other members of the operating room team in performing surgery procedures. Their responsibilities include preparing patients for surgery, monitoring patients’ vitals, passing proper instruments to the surgeons, performing appropriate counts with circulator, maintaining a sterile environment, helping transfer patients to recovery room after the procedure of surgery, assisting in cleaning of room and preparing for next procedure. In addition, these professionals also provide verbal and tactile reassurance to the patient.

Certified Surgical Technicians mostly work in the operating room of a hospital. However, some may work in outpatient surgery centers, offices of doctors or dentists etc. They perform their duties in standing or walking for longer periods. They may be required to have some on-call hours during evenings, weekends and even holidays.

Educational Requirements

To become a Certified Surgical Technician, the aspiring candidates need to earn a diploma, certificate or associate’s degree in surgical technology. While associate’s degree program takes two years to complete, the diploma or certificate programs need around 10 months. Coursework includes human anatomy, medical terminology, pharmacology, physiology, microbiology, patient safety and surgical procedures.

However the students must have to complete a degree program in a related field to be eligible for the certification examination. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs accredits all levels of surgical technology programs.


Most of employers prefer the candidates with certification in this profession. The aspirants can obtain an exam based certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting or the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).

Skill Set

Apart from the knowledge in medical terminology and surgery, Certified Surgical Technicians possess various traits such as excellent dexterity to handle numerous instruments, empathy towards patients, physical stamina to work in standing for long duration, ability to assist the patients emotionally and physically, highly organized and conscientious, effective communications and interpersonal skills, computer operating skills etc.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for a Certified Surgical Technician remains excellent in USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 30% from 2012 to 2022, higher than the average for all occupations. The average annual salary of a Certified Surgical Technicians was $42,720 in 2013.