How to Become a Surgical Tech in 5 Steps

Want to become a surgical tech? Here’s a 5-step guide on how to make it happen. Plus, find out what surgical techs do and how much they earn.

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surgical techs play an important role in the operating room, assisting surgeons and other medical personnel during surgery. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in this field, here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Earn a high school diploma or equivalent.

Most surgical tech programs require applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent, so this is your first step. If you’re still in high school, make sure to take courses like biology and chemistry that will give you a strong foundation for the medical coursework you’ll take in college.

Step 2: Complete an accredited surgical technology program.

Once you have your high school diploma or equivalent, you can apply to surgical technology programs at community colleges, technical schools, and universities. These programs typically last between one and two years and include both classroom instruction and clinical experience. Be sure to choose an accredited program; otherwise, you may not be eligible to take the certification exam (more on that below).

Step 3: Become certified as a surgical technologist.

After you complete an accredited surgical technology program, you can become certified through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). To be eligible for certification, you must pass the Certification Examination for Surgical Technologists (CEST). Once you become certified, it’s important to stay up-to-date on your skills and knowledge by renewing your certification every four years.

Step 4: Consider becoming a registered surgical technologist.
While registration with the NBSTSA is not required for employment as a surgical technologist, it may give you an edge when applying for jobs. To be eligible for registration, you must complete an accredited surgical technology program and pass the Tech-in-Surgery Certification Examination (TSCE).

Step 5: Find a job as a surgical technologist. Once you have your certification and/or registration, you can start looking for jobs as a surgical technologist. You can search for open positions on job boards like or, or directly on hospital websites. Many states also have employment service websites that list open positions in healthcare occupations, including surgical technologists

Step One: Research Surgical Tech Programs

The first step toward becoming a surgical tech is to research surgical tech programs. There are many different types of surgical tech programs available, and it is important to find the right one to fit your needs. There are certificate, diploma, and associate’s degree programs available. Some programs may even offer online options. It is important to research the different types of programs available to find the one that best fits your needs.

Step Two: Complete a Surgical Tech Program
Once you have found the right program for you, the next step is to complete the program. Surgical tech programs typically take about two years to complete. During your program, you will take courses such as human anatomy, medical terminology, and surgical procedures. You will also have the opportunity to participate in clinical rotations, which will give you hands-on experience in the operating room.

Step Three: Get Certified
After you have completed a surgical tech program, the next step is to get certified. The certification process varies depending on the state in which you live. In some states, certification is not required, but it is always encouraged. In order to sit for the certification exam, you must first complete an accredited surgical tech program and pass a criminal background check. Once you have met these requirements, you can then register for and take the certification exam.

Step Four: Find a Job
The fourth step toward becoming a surgical tech is to find a job. There are many different places that hire surgical techs, such as hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, and doctor’s offices. You can search for jobs online or in job listings magazines. You can also contact hospitals and surgery centers directly to inquire about open positions.

Step Five: Maintain Your Certification
The final step in becoming a surgical tech is to maintain your certification. Certification must be renewed every few years, and recertification may require completing continuing education credits or passing an exam

Step Two: Complete a Surgical Tech Program

In order to become a certified surgical technologist, you will need to complete an accredited surgical tech program. There are many programs available across the country, both at community colleges and technical schools. Programs typically take about nine months to complete, although some accelerated programs can be finished in as little as six months.

During your program, you will take classes such as human anatomy, medical ethics and legal issues, medical terminology, and microbiology. You will also get hands-on training in a clinical setting, where you will learn how to sterilize equipment, set up operating rooms, and assist during surgery.

Step Three: Get Certified

Now that you have completed your accredited surgical technology program, it is time to get certified by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Certification is not required in all states, but many employers prefer or require it. The NBSTSA offers the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam. To be eligible to take the CST exam, you must:

-Be a high school graduate or have a GED
-Complete an accredited surgical technology program
-Submit a completed application with the required fees

The CST exam consists of two parts: a written examination and a skills demonstration. The written examination tests your knowledge of surgical procedures, medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, and sterilization techniques. The skills demonstration requires you to perform five specific tasks commonly performed by surgical technologists. Once you have passed both parts of the exam, you will be awarded the Certified Surgical Technologist credential.

Step Four: Find a Job

The best way to find a job as a surgical tech is to start by searching online job boards. You can also check with your state’s Board of Surgical Technology for a list of accredited programs in your area. Once you have completed your training and become certified, you will be eligible to work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient centers, and private practices. You can also choose to work in a particular specialty, such as orthopedics or cardiology.

Step Five: Maintain Certification

Maintaining certification is important to being a successful surgical tech. Some states have laws that require surgical techs to be certified, so it is important to keep up with the requirements of your state. In addition, employers often prefer or require surgical techs to be certified. The best way to maintain your certification is to take continuing education courses. Most certification providers offer a variety of courses that can help you stay up-to-date on the latest technology and procedures.

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