Surgical Technologist Schools, Programs & Certification

Being a member of a life-saving surgical team is a noble goal, but not everyone can commit to multiple years of education and training to become a surgeon. However, becoming a surgical technologist is a great career option for those who want to work in an operating room without investing the time and education required to become a surgeon.

Careers in healthcare are poised for growth in the coming years. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022), a surge of 2 million healthcare careers will be needed in the coming decade between 2021 and 2031. In addition, the BLS projects surgical technologist careers to grow by 6 percent in the same period (BLS 2022). This rate is slightly faster than the national average (5 percent) and equates to 6,500 new jobs.

Even though becoming a surgical technologist does not require as much education as becoming a doctor or surgeon, it requires a rigorous education program that can take one and a half and two years to complete. In surgical technologist schools, students learn basic anatomy and medical terminology, sterilize and prepare an operating room, and learn techniques to assist doctors and patients before, during, and after surgery.

One of the most critical components of a surgical technology program is the practical hands-on experience. A practicum is an in-person clinical rotation that requires students to apply their academic learning in a real-world setting. Having real-world training in an operating room is vital to becoming certified to practice as a surgical technologist.

Read on to learn more about surgical technologist schools, certifications, salary, and detailed career outlook data for this growing profession.

Surgical Technologist fast facts
Projected Jobs Created6,500
Projected Job Growth6 percent
Average Salary$53,590
Low Salary$36,930
High Salary$75,940
Entry-Level EDU Certification
Sourced from

Surgical Tech Degree & Certification Programs

Most surgical technologist schools confer two degrees: an associate’s in science (AS) or an associate’s in applied science (AAS). However, a handful of schools offer a certificate program or a bachelor of science (BS) degree in health sciences with a surgical specialty. Associate degree programs usually take between one and two years, while an accelerated certificate program can be completed in nine months.

Although there are many surgical technologist schools, choosing accredited programs is crucial for employment after graduation. Many states require surgical techs to be board-certified through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

To qualify to take the surgical technologist exams offered by the NBSTSA, students must graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). All of the surgical technologist programs featured here are accredited by CAAHEP, meaning their curriculum and high academic standards will prepare students for national surgical tech certification.

Below are accredited surgical technology degree and certification programs.

Carrington College (Certificate, AS)

With campuses throughout Phoenix, AZ, and San Jose, CA, Carrington College offers an associate’s degree program to become a surgical technologist. Required courses in this program include microbiology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and surgical procedures.

Students graduating from this school have the option to become board certified. The Carrington program requires students to complete 120 surgical cases before graduation, to ensure its graduates are adequately prepared to join the workforce immediately.

This 60-credit program includes courses such as introduction to surgical technology; surgical case management; basic surgical procedures; advanced surgical procedures; anatomy & physiology with medical terminology; principles of mathematics; and introduction to psychology.

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ; San Jose, CA
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: 15 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Arizona: $41,938 (total); California: $44,210 (total)

College of Southern Idaho (AAS)

Located in Twin Falls, ID, the College of Southern Idaho offers a two-year degree program in surgical technology. The program instructs students in several aspects of surgery including instrumentation, aseptic technique, anatomy, microbiology, and procedures. In addition, this curriculum enables graduates to sit for national certification testing in surgical technology.

This 60-credit program includes courses such as central sterile processing; surgical concepts; surgical practice and procedures; human anatomy and disease; surgical pharmacology; anesthesia; advanced surgical procedures; and wound closure techniques.

  • Location: Twin Falls, ID
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: Six semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district ($140 per credit); out-of-district ($285 per credit)

Kingsborough Community College (AAS)

Located in the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn, NY, Kingsborough Community College (KCC) offers a surgical technology program that requires 64 credits to complete.

After the initial semester, students must register for practicum hours every subsequent semester to gain the necessary clinical experience. But that experience pays off, with 75 percent of 2020 graduates passing the certified surgical technologist (CST) exam. After the first semester, students are enrolled in practical experiences in operating rooms in various clinics for the remaining five semesters.

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: 2.5 years
  • Estimated Tuition: $2,400 per semester

Mt. Hood Community College (AAS)

Offering the only regionally-accredited associate of applied science in surgical technology in Oregon, graduates from the MHCC program can complete their degree in six quarters. The courses in this program follow the Association of Surgical Technologists Core Curriculum and include clinical experiences with local area hospitals.

Students in this program are admitted into a cohort of 20 every fall term and must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. In addition, graduates from this program who want to pursue a bachelor of science can transfer credits to the Oregon Institute of Technology’s allied health management online degree program.

This 92-credit program includes courses such as surgical technology – ophthalmologic and neurosurgery; surgical technology – thoracic, cardiovascular, and vascular surgery; surgical technology – orthopedic surgery; surgical technology – general and pediatric surgery; surgical technology – obstetric, gynecologic, and genitourinary surgery; and surgical technology – otorhino- laryngologic, oromaxillofacial, plastic and burn surgery, among others.

  • Location: Gresham, OR
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $12,807.50

New England Institute of Technology (AS)

The New England Institute of Technology (NEIT), located in East Greenwich, RI, offers an AS degree in surgical technology. Graduates from this program have a reputation for finding surgical jobs in the New England area, where they do their practicum experiences.

Before the practicum, students at NEIT will complete 160 hours of intensive surgical simulations, including endovascular and laparoscopic equipment. The program also includes a 20-week clinical externship in the field. Graduates of this 18-month program finish their AS degrees with the opportunity to be board certified.

Made up of 101 credits, the program includes courses such as introduction to surgical technology; surgical instrumentation; surgical procedures; pathophysiology; advanced topics in surgical technology; introduction to medical ethics and bioethics; advanced applications of surgical technology; and operating room laboratory.

  • Location: East Greenwich, RI
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: 18 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $700 per credit

South Plains College (AAS)

A very versatile program, South Plains College in Lubbock, TX, provides options for new healthcare students and seasoned healthcare professionals to study surgical technology with an associate of applied science degree program. This AAS program includes a practicum as a part of the coursework.

In addition, the last two semesters of the program have hands-on clinical experiences in six area hospitals to prepare graduates for the national and Texas state certification exams.

As part of the program, students will delve into topics such as introduction to surgical technology; fundamentals of perioperative concepts and techniques; surgical procedures; pharmacology for health professions; technological sciences for the surgical technologist; general psychology; and special topics in surgical/operating room technician.

  • Location: Lubbock, TX
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: 15 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district resident ($209 per credit); non-resident ($397 per credit)

NYU Langone Health

NYU Langone Health, an academic medical center in New York City, NY, offers a surgical technology program that prepares qualified students to be surgical technologists. This one-year program is divided into two 6-month semesters, with courses starting in September and March. The first semester includes study in basic surgical procedures and aseptic technique fundamentals of operating room technology, while the second semester is spent in the clinical area.

The curriculum includes courses such as introduction and orientation to surgical technology; anatomy and physiology; patient care and safety; principles of operating room technique; surgical procedures; microbiology and pharmacology; and two clinical practices. Students also participate in clinical rotations.

Upon successful completion, graduates are awarded a certificate of completion. This qualifies them to sit for the national certifying examination administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $16,500

SELECT * FROM `mts_online_offline_data` WHERE `page_url` = '/surgical-technologist' AND ( `table_type` = 'Offline' OR `table_type` = 'BOTH (Online + Offline)' ) ORDER BY `grads` DESC

List of Surgical Technologist Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website grads (2018)
Madisonville Community College Madisonville Kentucky 121
Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis Indiana 117
Baker College Flint Michigan 102
San Jacinto Community College Pasadena Texas 97
Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville Georgia 70
Wayne County Community College District Detroit Michigan 69
EDIC College Caguas Puerto Rico 66
Glendale Career College Glendale California 66
Antilles School of Technical Careers San Juan Puerto Rico 55
Berkeley College-Woodland Park Woodland Park New Jersey 53
American Career College-Los Angeles Los Angeles California 51
Macomb Community College Warren Michigan 51
Concorde Career College-Memphis Memphis Tennessee 49
American Career College-Ontario Ontario California 47
Swedish Institute a College of Health Sciences New York New York 47
Mandl School-The College of Allied Health New York New York 46
College of DuPage Glen Ellyn Illinois 45
Tyler Junior College Tyler Texas 45
Savannah Technical College Savannah Georgia 43
Southern Crescent Technical College Griffin Georgia 43
Southern Technical College Fort Myers Florida 43
Brookline College-Tempe Tempe Arizona 42
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay Wisconsin 42
Amarillo College Amarillo Texas 41
CBD College Los Angeles California 41
Community Care College Tulsa Oklahoma 40
American College of Healthcare and Technology Riverside California 37
John C Calhoun State Community College Tanner Alabama 37
New England Institute of Technology East Greenwich Rhode Island 37
Pittsburgh Technical College Oakdale Pennsylvania 37
Tulsa Technology Center Tulsa Oklahoma 37
Collin County Community College District McKinney Texas 36
Midwestern Career College Chicago Illinois 36
Nashville State Community College Nashville Tennessee 36
Universidad Ana G. Mendez-Cupey Campus San Juan Puerto Rico 36
Bunker Hill Community College Boston Massachusetts 35
Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro Georgia 35
South Plains College Levelland Texas 35
Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids Iowa 34
Premiere Career College Irwindale California 34
Columbus State Community College Columbus Ohio 33
Baptist Health College Little Rock Little Rock Arkansas 32
Carrington College-San Jose San Jose California 32
Concorde Career College-North Hollywood North Hollywood California 32
Concorde Career College-San Diego San Diego California 32
Southeastern College-West Palm Beach West Palm Beach Florida 32
Gulf Coast State College Panama City Florida 31
Central New Mexico Community College Albuquerque New Mexico 31
Concorde Career College-Grand Prairie Grand Prairie Texas 31
Eastwick College-Ramsey Ramsey New Jersey 31
Salt Lake Community College Salt Lake City Utah 31
American Career College-Anaheim Anaheim California 30
Austin Community College District Austin Texas 30
Central Ohio Technical College Newark Ohio 30
Concorde Career College-San Antonio San Antonio Texas 30
Ozarks Technical Community College Springfield Missouri 30
Parkland College Champaign Illinois 30
College of Western Idaho Nampa Idaho 29
Anoka Technical College Anoka Minnesota 29
Carrington College-Citrus Heights Citrus Heights California 29
Contra Costa Medical Career College Antioch California 29
East Valley Institute of Technology Mesa Arizona 29
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville Knoxville Tennessee 28
Augusta Technical College Augusta Georgia 28
Concorde Career College-Dallas Dallas Texas 28
Davis Technical College Kaysville Utah 28
Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome Georgia 28
Houston Community College Houston Texas 28
Pittsburgh Career Institute Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 28
Skyline College San Bruno California 28
Delta College University Center Michigan 27
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville Florida 27
Herzing University-Kenner Kenner Louisiana 27
Renton Technical College Renton Washington 27
San Joaquin Valley College-Visalia Visalia California 27
The College of Health Care Professions-San Antonio San Antonio Texas 26
Trocaire College Buffalo New York 25
Arkansas State University-Newport Newport Arkansas 25
Erwin Technical College Tampa Florida 25
Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown North Carolina 25
Nassau Community College Garden City New York 25
Gadsden State Community College Gadsden Alabama 24
Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson Kansas 24
City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College Chicago Illinois 23
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale Florida 23
Niagara County Community College Sanborn New York 23
University of Cincinnati-Clermont College Batavia Ohio 23
Coastal Pines Technical College Waycross Georgia 22
Columbus Technical College Columbus Georgia 22
Concorde Career College-Portland Portland Oregon 22
EHOVE Career Center Milan Ohio 22
Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville North Carolina 22
Lansing Community College Lansing Michigan 22
Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City Kansas City Missouri 22
Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester Minnesota 22
Wichita State University-Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology Wichita Kansas 22
Atenas College Manati Puerto Rico 21
Bergen Community College Paramus New Jersey 21
Columbia Basin College Pasco Washington 21
Concorde Career Institute-Jacksonville Jacksonville Florida 21
ECPI University Virginia Beach Virginia 21
Great Lakes Institute of Technology Erie Pennsylvania 21
Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia Mississippi 21
Northwest Technical Institute Springdale Arkansas 21
Southern Regional Technical College Thomasville Georgia 21
The University of Montana Missoula Montana 21
York Technical College Rock Hill South Carolina 21
Bevill State Community College Jasper Alabama 20
Career Networks Institute Orange California 20
Frederick Community College Frederick Maryland 20
Horry-Georgetown Technical College Conway South Carolina 20
Illinois Central College East Peoria Illinois 20
Jefferson Community and Technical College Louisville Kentucky 20
Madison Area Technical College Madison Wisconsin 20
Massachusetts Bay Community College Wellesley Hills Massachusetts 20
Medical Career Institute Ocean New Jersey 20
Platt College-McCann-Monroe Monroe Louisiana 20
Platt College-Miller-Motte Technical-Chattanooga Chattanooga Tennessee 20
Ponce Paramedical College Inc Ponce Puerto Rico 20
Spartanburg Community College Spartanburg South Carolina 20
The College of Health Care Professions-Northwest Houston Texas 20
Vernon College Vernon Texas 20
Clover Park Technical College Lakewood Washington 19
East Central Community College Decatur Mississippi 19
Elgin Community College Elgin Illinois 19
Harris School of Business-Voorhees Campus Voorhees New Jersey 19
Mountainland Technical College Lehi Utah 19
North-West College-West Covina West Covina California 19
Northern Michigan University Marquette Michigan 19
O C Collins Career Center Chesapeake Ohio 19
Palm Beach State College Lake Worth Florida 19
South Central Louisiana Technical College Morgan City Louisiana 19
Western Dakota Technical Institute Rapid City South Dakota 19
Fortis Institute-Houston Houston Texas 18
Bluegrass Community and Technical College Lexington Kentucky 18
Choffin Career and Technical Center Youngstown Ohio 18
Community College of Allegheny County Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 18
Concorde Career Institute-Orlando Orlando Florida 18
Hinds Community College Raymond Mississippi 18
Hudson Valley Community College Troy New York 18
Midwest Institute Fenton Missouri 18
Nevada Career Institute Las Vegas Nevada 18
North Central Texas College Gainesville Texas 18
Platt College-McCann-Lewisburg Lewisburg Pennsylvania 18
Platt College-Miller-Motte-Wilmington Wilmington North Carolina 18
Southeast Community College Area Lincoln Nebraska 18
Stautzenberger College-Brecksville Brecksville Ohio 18
West Virginia Northern Community College Wheeling West Virginia 18
Albany Technical College Albany Georgia 17
Delgado Community College New Orleans Louisiana 17
Indian River State College Fort Pierce Florida 17
Lone Star College System The Woodlands Texas 17
North-West College-Long Beach Long Beach California 17
Rockingham Community College Wentworth North Carolina 17
Saint Louis Community College Bridgeton Missouri 17
Sandhills Community College Pinehurst North Carolina 17
Sinclair Community College Dayton Ohio 17
Tarrant County College District Fort Worth Texas 17
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Hohenwald Hohenwald Tennessee 17
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Murfreesboro Murfreesboro Tennessee 17
Ulster BOCES School of Practical Nursing Lake Katrine New York 17
Athens Technical College Athens Georgia 16
Colegio Universitario de San Juan San Juan Puerto Rico 16
El Centro College Dallas Texas 16
Florence-Darlington Technical College Florence South Carolina 16
Great Plains Technology Center Lawton Oklahoma 16
Harris School of Business-Dover Campus Dover Delaware 16
Mohawk Valley Community College Utica New York 16
Monroe Community College Rochester New York 16
Moore Norman Technology Center Norman Oklahoma 16
Piedmont Technical College Greenwood South Carolina 16
Seattle Central College Seattle Washington 16
Southwestern College Chula Vista California 16
St Cloud Technical and Community College Saint Cloud Minnesota 16
Traviss Technical College Lakeland Florida 16
Triton College River Grove Illinois 16
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Fort Smith Arkansas 16
Western Suffolk BOCES Northport New York 15
Camden County College Blackwood New Jersey 15
Concorde Career College-Aurora Aurora Colorado 15
Daytona State College Daytona Beach Florida 15
Del Mar College Corpus Christi Texas 15
Greenville Technical College Greenville South Carolina 15
Herzing University-Toledo Toledo Ohio 15
Itawamba Community College Fulton Mississippi 15
Lamar State College-Port Arthur Port Arthur Texas 15
Lanier Technical College Gainesville Georgia 15
Manatee Technical College Bradenton Florida 15
Mercy College of Health Sciences Des Moines Iowa 15
Mt Hood Community College Gresham Oregon 15
Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport Pennsylvania 15
Platt College-Miller-Motte Technical-Charleston Charleston South Carolina 15
Pueblo Community College Pueblo Colorado 15
Quincy College Quincy Massachusetts 15
Robert Morris University Illinois Chicago Illinois 15
San Juan College Farmington New Mexico 15
Sheridan Technical College Hollywood Florida 15
Cabarrus College of Health Sciences Concord North Carolina 14
Educational Technical College-Recinto de Bayamon BAYAMON Puerto Rico 14
American National University-Lexington Lexington Kentucky 14
Central Carolina Technical College Sumter South Carolina 14
Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins Georgia 14
College of Lake County Grayslake Illinois 14
Eastern Iowa Community College District Davenport Iowa 14
Fortis Institute-Nashville Nashville Tennessee 14
Kirtland Community College Roscommon Michigan 14
Lenoir Community College Kinston North Carolina 14
Metro Technology Centers Oklahoma City Oklahoma 14
Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls Minnesota 14
Orange Technical College-Orlando Campus Orlando Florida 14
Owens Community College Perrysburg Ohio 14
Southern Union State Community College Wadley Alabama 14
Temple College Temple Texas 14
Texas State Technical College Waco Texas 14
Washington County Career Center-Adult Technical Training Marietta Ohio 14
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Valdosta Georgia 14
Atlanta Technical College Atlanta Georgia 13
Columbia Area Career Center Columbia Missouri 13
Lorenzo Walker Technical College Naples Florida 13
Atlantic Cape Community College Mays Landing New Jersey 13
Canadian Valley Technology Center El Reno Oklahoma 13
Carolinas College of Health Sciences Charlotte North Carolina 13
Catawba Valley Community College Hickory North Carolina 13
Concorde Career College-San Bernardino San Bernardino California 13
Delaware County Community College Media Pennsylvania 13
Iowa Western Community College Council Bluffs Iowa 13
Kilgore College Kilgore Texas 13
Lincoln Land Community College Springfield Illinois 13
Monongalia County Technical Education Center Morgantown West Virginia 13
Montgomery College Rockville Maryland 13
North Shore Community College Danvers Massachusetts 13
Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls Minnesota 13
Oakland Community College Bloomfield Hills Michigan 13
Pearl River Community College Poplarville Mississippi 13
Pinellas Technical College-St. Petersburg Saint Petersburg Florida 13
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Cumberland Kentucky 13
Spokane Community College Spokane Washington 13
Springfield Technical Community College Springfield Massachusetts 13
Tallahassee Community College Tallahassee Florida 13
Technical College of the Lowcountry Beaufort South Carolina 13
University of Akron Main Campus Akron Ohio 13
Washburn Institute of Technology Topeka Kansas 13
Aims Community College Greeley Colorado 12
Central Technology Center Drumright Oklahoma 12
College of Central Florida Ocala Florida 12
College of Eastern Idaho Idaho Falls Idaho 12
Concorde Career Institute-Tampa Tampa Florida 12
Edgecombe Community College Tarboro North Carolina 12
Fortis College-Columbus Westerville Ohio 12
Fortis College-Houston Houston Texas 12
Lurleen B Wallace Community College Andalusia Alabama 12
Midlands Technical College West Columbia South Carolina 12
Mt. Diablo Adult Education-Mt. Diablo USD Concord California 12
North-West College-Riverside Riverside California 12
Pensacola State College Pensacola Florida 12
Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences Reading Pennsylvania 12
Somerset Community College Somerset Kentucky 12
South Central Career Center West Plains Missouri 12
St Philip's College San Antonio Texas 12
Stevens-Henager College West Haven Utah 12
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock Arkansas 12
University of Saint Francis-Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Indiana 12
West Georgia Technical College Waco Georgia 12
Wharton County Junior College Wharton Texas 12
American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education Piscataway New Jersey 11
Ashland Community and Technical College Ashland Kentucky 11
Concorde Career Institute-Miramar Miramar Florida 11
CUNY Kingsborough Community College Brooklyn New York 11
Durham Technical Community College Durham North Carolina 11
Eastern Maine Community College Bangor Maine 11
Franklin Technology-MSSU Joplin Missouri 11
Henry Ford College Dearborn Michigan 11
Lake Superior College Duluth Minnesota 11
Lord Fairfax Community College Middletown Virginia 11
Mid-State Technical College Wisconsin Rapids Wisconsin 11
Mohave Community College Kingman Arizona 11
Onondaga Community College Syracuse New York 11
Pasco-Hernando State College New Port Richey Florida 11
Platt College-Miller-Motte-Cary Cary North Carolina 11
Sentara College of Health Sciences Chesapeake Virginia 11
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Mount Gay West Virginia 11
Stark State College North Canton Ohio 11
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Crossville Crossville Tennessee 11
Trinity Valley Community College Athens Texas 11
Waukesha County Technical College Pewaukee Wisconsin 11
Aiken Technical College Graniteville South Carolina 10
Baton Rouge Community College Baton Rouge Louisiana 10
Bellingham Technical College Bellingham Washington 10
Bossier Parish Community College Bossier City Louisiana 10
Cape Coral Technical College Cape Coral Florida 10
Cape Fear Community College Wilmington North Carolina 10
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte North Carolina 10
Chattahoochee Technical College Marietta Georgia 10
Cisco College Cisco Texas 10
Coastal Carolina Community College Jacksonville North Carolina 10
El Paso Community College El Paso Texas 10
Fortis College-Orange Park Orange Park Florida 10
Great Falls College Montana State University Great Falls Montana 10
Indian Capital Technology Center-Muskogee Muskogee Oklahoma 10
Laramie County Community College Cheyenne Wyoming 10
Lorain County Community College Elyria Ohio 10
Luzerne County Community College Nanticoke Pennsylvania 10
McLennan Community College Waco Texas 10
MiraCosta College Oceanside California 10
Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac Wisconsin 10
North Arkansas College Harrison Arkansas 10
Piedmont Virginia Community College Charlottesville Virginia 10
Rolla Technical Institute/Center Rolla Missouri 10
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Jackson Jackson Tennessee 10
Milwaukee Area Technical College Milwaukee Wisconsin 9
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Lancaster Pennsylvania 9
Pima Medical Institute-Denver Denver Colorado 9
Yakima Valley College Yakima Washington 9
Academy of Careers and Technology Beckley West Virginia 9
Angelina College Lufkin Texas 9
Carver Career Center Charleston West Virginia 9
City College-Altamonte Springs Altamonte Springs Florida 9
City College-Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale Florida 9
College of the Albemarle Elizabeth City North Carolina 9
Delaware Technical Community College-Terry Dover Delaware 9
Dixie State University Saint George Utah 9
Fortis Institute-Baltimore Baltimore Maryland 9
Galveston College Galveston Texas 9
Hillyard Technical Center Saint Joseph Missouri 9
Howard College Big Spring Texas 9
Jefferson College of Health Sciences Roanoke Virginia 9
John A Logan College Carterville Illinois 9
Anne Arundel Community College Arnold Maryland 8
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville North Carolina 8
California Healing Arts College Carson California 8
Chester Career College CHESTER Virginia 8
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati Ohio 8
Cuyahoga Community College District Cleveland Ohio 8
Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny Iowa 8
Educational Technical College-Recinto de Coamo Coamo Puerto Rico 8
Finger Lakes Health College of Nursing Geneva New York 8
Front Range Community College Westminster Colorado 8
Hazard Community and Technical College Hazard Kentucky 8
Northcentral Technical College Wausau Wisconsin 8
Owensboro Community and Technical College Owensboro Kentucky 8
Scioto County Career Technical Center Lucasville Ohio 8
South Arkansas Community College El Dorado Arkansas 8
South College Knoxville Tennessee 8
Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences Cape Girardeau Missouri 8
Walters State Community College Morristown Tennessee 8
Waubonsee Community College Sugar Grove Illinois 8
Buckeye Hills Career Center Rio Grande Ohio 7
Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire Wisconsin 7
Cleveland Community College Shelby North Carolina 7
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas Nevada 7
Fortis College-Richmond Richmond Virginia 7
Gateway Technical College Kenosha Wisconsin 7
Harrisburg Area Community College Harrisburg Pennsylvania 7
Meridian Community College Meridian Mississippi 7
Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls Minnesota 7
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston Mississippi 7
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health Omaha Nebraska 7
Northwestern Michigan College Traverse City Michigan 7
Pima Community College Tucson Arizona 7
Quinsigamond Community College Worcester Massachusetts 7
Richland Community College Decatur Illinois 7
Riverside College of Health Careers Newport News Virginia 7
Rock Valley College Rockford Illinois 7
Southeast Arkansas College Pine Bluff Arkansas 7
Valley College of Medical Careers West Hills California 7
Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor Michigan 7
Western Nebraska Community College Scottsbluff Nebraska 7
RIVEROAK Technical College Live Oak Florida 6
American National University-Dayton Kettering Ohio 6
Autry Technology Center Enid Oklahoma 6
Baltimore City Community College Baltimore Maryland 6
Fortis Institute-Cookeville Cookeville Tennessee 6
Milwaukee Career College Milwaukee Wisconsin 6
North-West College-Santa Ana Santa Ana California 6
Odessa College Odessa Texas 6
Prairie State College Chicago Heights Illinois 6
Southern University at Shreveport Shreveport Louisiana 6
Tri-County Technical College Pendleton South Carolina 6
University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown Johnstown Pennsylvania 6
Wes Watkins Technology Center Wetumka Oklahoma 6
West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah Kentucky 6
Western Technical College La Crosse Wisconsin 6
Alvernia University Reading Pennsylvania 5
Bismarck State College Bismarck North Dakota 5
Chesapeake College Wye Mills Maryland 5
Fortis College-Grand Prairie Grand Prairie Texas 5
Great Bay Community College Portsmouth New Hampshire 5
Montgomery County Community College Blue Bell Pennsylvania 5
Prince George's Community College Largo Maryland 5
Roane State Community College Harriman Tennessee 5
Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College Bowling Green Kentucky 5
Wilson Community College Wilson North Carolina 5
American National University-Youngstown Youngstown Ohio 4
American College of Healthcare and Technology Huntington Park California 4
American National University Salem Virginia 4
Charles H McCann Technical School North Adams Massachusetts 4
City College-Miami Miami Florida 4
Flathead Valley Community College Kalispell Montana 4
Iowa Lakes Community College Estherville Iowa 4
James Rumsey Technical Institute Martinsburg West Virginia 4
John Wood Community College Quincy Illinois 4
Manchester Community College Manchester Connecticut 4
Mount Aloysius College Cresson Pennsylvania 4
New Mexico State University-Carlsbad Carlsbad New Mexico 4
Oklahoma City Community College Oklahoma City Oklahoma 4
Paris Junior College Paris Texas 4
University of Arkansas Community College-Hope Hope Arkansas 4
Drury University-College of Continuing Professional Studies Springfield Missouri 3
National American University-Overland Park Overland Park Kansas 3
Northern Oklahoma College Tonkawa Oklahoma 3
Shawnee Community College Ullin Illinois 3
Southern Maine Community College South Portland Maine 3
Blue Ridge Community College Flat Rock North Carolina 2
Colorado Mesa University Grand Junction Colorado 2
Fortis College-Baton Rouge Baton Rouge Louisiana 2
GateWay Community College Phoenix Arizona 2
McDowell Technical Community College Marion North Carolina 2
North Central Missouri College Trenton Missouri 2
Abcott Institute Southfield Michigan 1
Davidson County Community College Thomasville North Carolina 1
Kaskaskia College Centralia Illinois 1
North Central Michigan College Petoskey Michigan 1
Northeast Community College Norfolk Nebraska 1
Rend Lake College Ina Illinois 1
Suncoast Technical College Sarasota Florida 1
Tulsa Community College Tulsa Oklahoma 1
Western Iowa Tech Community College Sioux City Iowa 1
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Surgical Tech Hybrid & Online Programs

Because surgical technology is such a hands-on profession, there are very few fully online and hybrid options from which to choose. In addition, surgical technology programs require an extensive practicum (typically between 300 and 1,200 hours of hands-on practice) even when the coursework is delivered entirely online.

That said, there are several hybrids (a combination of in-person and distance learning) and online surgical technologist programs, including the following:

Baptist Health System School of Health Professionals (AS)

Located in San Antonio, TX, Baptist Health System School of Health Professionals offers an associate’s degree in surgical technology. Upon completing this program, students can take the national surgical technologist certification exam required for employment in Texas.

Courses are offered in person and online. The program’s 63-credit curriculum includes technological sciences; surgical procedures; fundamentals of perioperative technique; surgical pathophysiology; microbiology for the surgical technologist; surgical pharmacology and anesthesia; and introduction to surgical technology.

In addition, several pre-operative topics from specimen care to the application of wound dressings are included in the curriculum. Graduates find work in hospital operating rooms, central sterile processing departments, and outpatient surgical units.

  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $25,200

OneMSU, Great Falls College – Montana State University (AAS)

Located in Great Falls, MT, Great Falls College – Montana State University offers a CAAHEP-accredited surgical technologist program in a hybrid format as part of its three-campus “OneMSU” distance learning network. Although students can complete classroom work online, students are required to rotate through clinical sites in Montana to complete a minimum of 120 surgical cases.

Additionally, students are required to attend lecture classes in real time via WebEx. Upon completing this 70-credit program, graduates can take national certification exams in surgical technology. The curriculum includes courses such as introduction to surgical technology; surgical pharmacology; introduction to philosophy and biomedical ethics; operating room techniques; surgical procedures; and introduction to interpersonal communication.

  • Location: Great Falls, MT
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $8,829

Central Piedmont Community College (AAS)

Located in Charlotte, NC, Central Piedmont Community College offers a 71-credit associate of applied science degree program in surgical technology. Students can take didactic courses on campus in a classroom/lab/clinical combination or in a hybrid format.

Students in this program can join the Surgical Technology Club to develop their professional networks and participate in the Scrub Bowl, an annual event hosted by the North Carolina Association of Surgical Technologies that helps prepare students for the national certification exam.

The curriculum includes courses such as perioperative patient care; introduction to surgical technology; surgical procedures; advanced theoretical concepts; surgical clinical supplement; and anatomy and physiology.

  • Location: Charlotte, NC
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($76 per credit); non-resident ($268 per credit)

Rasmussen University (AS)

Rasmussen University offers an associate’s degree in surgical technology with campuses in Florida, Illinois, and Minnesota. On-campus and online classes are available in addition to field experience.

Students in this program can prove existing knowledge in specific courses with self-directed assessments for $149. In addition, graduates from this program pay no additional costs to take the national surgical tech certification exam. Consisting of 92 credits, the program includes courses such as medical terminology; pathophysiology; fundamentals of surgical technology; surgical procedures; surgical pharmacology; surgical microbiology; and human anatomy and physiology.

  • Location: Cities in FL, IL, MN
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: 21 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $279 per credit

Southeast Community College (Certificate, AAS)

Southeast Community College (SCC), with three campuses in Nebraska, offers a surgical technology program that is one of the most flexible and provides an excellent online cohort in conjunction with a local clinical practicum. Three campus visits are required at the beginning and end of this program, including the last week to take the national board exam.

In 2021, 96 percent of surgical technology graduates from SCC were employed locally upon graduation, and 86 percent of graduates continued their education in Nebraska. SCC also offers a surgical first assist certificate for currently certified surgical technologists.

  • Location: Lincoln, NE
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: Five semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: $10,763.50

Berkeley College (AAS)

Berkeley College’s online surgical technology associate in applied science degree program prepares students to work as valuable members of surgical teams, which most commonly include anesthesiologists, circulating nurses, and surgeons. This surgical technology program is only offered at the Woodland Park campus; however, individuals who already possess the CST credential and who are interested in obtaining an associate degree may take this program through Berkeley College Online.

The program comprises 60 credits and includes courses such as fundamentals of surgical technology; surgical techniques; surgical specialty intervention procedures; pharmacology and anesthesiology; operating room clinical practicum; surgical technology capstone; and microbiology.

  • Location: Woodland Park, NJ
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $890 per credit
School City State Website grads (2018)
Meridian Institute of Surgical Assisting Nashville Tennessee 346
Rasmussen College-Minnesota St. Cloud Minnesota 28
Holmes Community College Goodman Mississippi 22
Seward County Community College Liberal Kansas 20
Vincennes University Vincennes Indiana 20
Concorde Career College-Kansas City Kansas City Missouri 19
College of Southern Idaho Twin Falls Idaho 18
Siena Heights University Adrian Michigan 17
Santa Fe College Gainesville Florida 16
Rasmussen College-Illinois Rockford Illinois 11
Baptist Health System School of Health Professions San Antonio Texas 6
Rasmussen College-North Dakota Fargo North Dakota 3
Linn-Benton Community College Albany Oregon 2
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Surgical Tech Core & Elective Courses

To complete most surgical tech programs, students must get a B or higher letter grade in both core classes and specialty surgical tech courses. Many of these courses are shared with other healthcare degrees – like medical ethics and anatomy and physiology. Still, a few classes specific to surgical tech schools are integral to those programs.

  • Medical terminology – This course is required for many healthcare professionals and is particularly important for surgical technologists. In this course, students will learn the root words, suffixes, and prefixes by which all other medical terms are created. In addition, they will learn the names of each part of the human body and the most common illnesses and physical impairments.
  • Surgical procedures – This course aims to teach students the theory and practices they should use with various surgeries. Typical surgeries covered include gynecological, orthopedic, genitourinary, and many others. The course emphasizes procedures, technology, and tools for each independent surgery.
  • Pharmacology for surgical technology – In this course, students are introduced to different pharmaceuticals that may be used during a surgical procedure. In addition, students learn specific drug interactions, systems and regulations for administration, and the calculation of dosages. Drugs that might be used before and after a procedure are also introduced.
  • Clinical practicum or externship – This course is required for all surgical technologists. Students complete rotations in a working hospital or medical facility where surgeries are regularly performed in this course. Under the tutelage of a senior surgical technologist, they can use the knowledge they have learned in hands-on practice to assist during surgical procedures.

Surgical Tech Accreditation

To practice as a surgical technologist, students need to complete a surgical technology program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

These two accrediting organizations, in tandem with the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA), evaluate surgical technologist programs to ensure that the coursework and health education practices comply with national standards.

During the ARC/STSA accreditation process, professional surgical technologists and healthcare educators carefully examine the program objectives and outcomes to determine whether a program is eligible for CAAHEP or ABHES accreditation. Each clinical cohort is also evaluated to ensure that the technology and healthcare procedures used are at the current healthcare standard. Finally, the ARC/STSA thoroughly investigates all professors to ensure their professional abilities and background.

Additionally, colleges should be accredited by a regional or national accrediting body approved by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Typical regional accrediting bodies include:

  • Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS-WASC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACS/COC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Career Outlook

The field of healthcare is growing and not just for nurses and physicians. General healthcare jobs are expected to increase by 13 percent between 2021 and 2031, with surgical technology positions expected to increase by 6 percent (BLS 2022). The growth rate for surgical techs is slightly faster than the national average for all occupations (5 percent).

Two main factors drive the increased need for surgical technologists. Firstly, as the baby boomer generation ages, they will require more surgeries to maintain their standard of living. Secondly, access to better healthcare will make day-to-day surgeries (like sports-related surgeries) more feasible for the general population.

Another reason surgical technologists will likely remain in such high demand because they are a cost-effective investment for hospitals. Surgical technologists are less expensive to hire than registered nurses but can often assist in the same procedures. This enables nurses to practice in more advanced areas that suit their skill sets and helps healthcare facilities provide better care to their patients and support their staff.

Career Facts Surgical Technologist
Related CareersRadiation Therapist, Endoscopy Technician, Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Common Job TitlesSurgical Technologist, Certified Surgical Technologist
Technology & EquipmentElectrocautery Equipment, Surgical Saws And Drills, Surgical Vacuums, Ultrasonic Surgical Aspirators
Sourced from BLS, May 2021

Surgical Tech Work Environments

In May 2021, 110,700 surgical techs were employed in the following work environments (BLS May 2021):

  • Hospitals: state, local, and private: 72 percent
  • Offices of physicians: 11 percent
  • Outpatient care centers: 11 percent
  • Offices of dentists: 2 percent
  • Administrative and support services: 1 percent

Surgical Tech Salaries

The BLS (May 2021) shows the average annual salary for surgical technologists is $53,590, slightly less than the national average for all occupations ($58,260).

The salary percentiles for the 109,060 working surgical techs in the United States are:

  • 10th percentile: $36,930
  • 25th percentile: $46,440
  • 50th percentile (median): $48,530
  • 75th percentile: $60,780
  • 90th percentile: $75,940

The highest-paid surgical techs work for specialty hospitals with annual average salaries of $59,180.

The state with the highest average salary for surgical technologists is California, at $68,410 per year. Other top-paying states include Alaska ($65,690), the District of Columbia ($65,250), Connecticut ($65,190), and Nevada ($65,180).

Licensing & Certification for Surgical Technologists

Surgical technologists who desire to be board-certified must complete a CAAHEP-accredited program. A list of accredited surgical tech schools is available on the CAAHEP website.

In addition to completing a program at one of the accredited surgical tech schools, certified students must also complete a certification exam. This exam is provided through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

Finally, board certification candidates must have completed the appropriate coursework and clinical hours. Depending on the degree program, a student may complete between 300 and 1,200 clinical hours to complete the university’s requirements. These clinical hours are necessary to be licensed as a surgical technologist.

Although it is not legally required for surgical technologists to be board certified at this time, it may be a better career decision. Completing a surgical tech degree from a CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited school is the only way to earn this designation and sit for the national test. This makes students who earn this designation much more employable and more likely to find positions in the highest-earning bracket for this allied health career.

Rachel Drummond
Rachel Drummond Writer

Rachel Drummond is a freelance writer, educator, and yogini from Oregon. She’s taught English to international university students in the United States and Japan for more than a decade and has a master’s degree in education from the University of Oregon. A dedicated Ashtanga yoga practitioner, Rachel is interested in exploring the nuanced philosophical aspects of contemplative physical practices and how they apply in daily life. She writes about this topic among others on her blog (Instagram: @racheldrummondyoga).