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Surgical Technology

Outcomes and Information

Boards Certification Results, Employment Rates, and Retention

Graduation Year

Students enter/graduate

Boards pass rate

Employment in field/cont. Ed





















Programs of Study


Please also view our Health Technologies Division page for documentation about our Competitive Admissions policies. 


Please contact Ms. Cochran, Mr. Thomason, or Ms. Shugars before scheduling pre-requisite classes for details about the program and the competitive admissions process. The application and testing deadline is mid-August each year and new programs begin spring semester (January).

Surgical Technology Description

The Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in Surgical Technology have been approved by the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), American College of Surgeons (ACS), Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology (ARC/STSA), and Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) include this description of the profession of surgical technology:

"Surgical technologists are allied health professionals, who are an integral part of the team of medical practitioners providing surgical care to patients. Surgical technologists work under the supervision of a surgeon to facilitate the safe and effective conduct of invasive surgical procedures, ensuring that the operating room environment is safe, that equipment functions properly, and that the operative procedure is conducted under conditions that maximize patient safety. Surgical technologists possess expertise in the theory and application of sterile and aseptic technique and combine the knowledge of human anatomy, surgical procedures, and implementation tools and technologies to facilitate a physician's performance of invasive therapeutic and diagnostic procedures."


Surgical technologists graduate from surgical technology programs accredited through ARC/STSA, a collaborative effort of AST and ACS, by CAAHEP. CAAHEP is a recognized accreditation agency of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In addition, surgical technology programs are located in educational institutions that are institutionally accredited by agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) or The Joint Commission. The ARC/STSA is also a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA).


Certification is conferred by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Initial certification as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) is based upon satisfactory performance on the national certifying examination following completion of an accredited program in surgical technology. CSTs maintain their certification by earning 60 hours of approved continuing education in a four-year period or by successfully retaking the certifying examination at the conclusion of the four-year period. The NBSTSA’s CST certification program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the accreditation division of the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA) and is in compliance with NCCA’s Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs. NCCA standards and accreditation services are referenced requirements in state and federal legislation pertaining to personnel certification. NOCA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a developer of American National Standards. ANSI accreditation provides third-party validation that NOCA’s standards development process ensures openness and due process.


Who is ARC/STSA?

The Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting provides recognition to education programs in its system that meet its requirements. It is the only CAAHEP-recognized Committee on Accreditation for educational programs in surgical technology and surgical assisting. It provides resources to programs as well as scholarship opportunities to educators and students.

Who is CAAHEP?

CAAHEP is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, the organization that grants accreditation to surgical technology programs.

How do I find out if a program is CAAHEP-accredited?

All CAAHEP-accredited surgical technology and surgical assisting programs are listed by state on CAAHEP's site.

Students from CAAHEP-accredited surgical technologist and surgical assisting programs are eligible to take the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting national Certified Surgical Technologist examination and the Certified Surgical First Assistant examination. Students also must be currently attending a CAAHEP-accredited program to be eligible for annual scholarships from the Foundation for Surgical Technology, ARC/STSA, and the NBSTSA.


Work Environment Associated Risks Include:

  • Handling sharp instrument
  • Exposure to infections (communicable diseases)
  • Strains (heavy lifting)
  • Exposure to latex

OSHA Risk Factor - Category A Includes:

  • Exposure to blood and other body fluids.
  • Exposure to noxious smell, either toxic or non-toxic.
  • Exposure to toxic fumes, gases, vapors, mists, or liquids could, depending on the chemical, cause general or localized disabling conditions as a result of inhalation, ingestion, or action on the skin.

The Surgical Technology program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs 25400 U.S. Highway 19 North, Suite 158, Clearwater, FL 33763. Telephone: 727-210-2350