Surgical technologists assist in surgical operations. They prepare operating rooms, arrange equipment, and help doctors during surgeries.
Before an operation, surgical technologists prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment. They also prepare patients for surgery by washing and disinfecting incision sites, positioning the patients on the operating table, covering them with sterile drapes, and taking them to and from the operating room. Surgical technologists prepare sterile solutions and medications used in surgery and check that all surgical equipment is working properly. They help the surgical team put on sterile gowns and gloves.
During an operation, surgical technologists pass instruments and supplies to surgeons and first assistants. They also hold retractors, hold internal organs in place during the procedure, or set up robotic surgical equipment. Technologists also may handle specimens taken for laboratory analysis.
Once the operation is complete, surgical technologists may apply bandages and other dressings to the incision site. They may also help transfer patients to recovery rooms and restock operating rooms after a procedure.
There is a high demand for certified surgical technologists. NPC, in partnership with regional medical centers, has established an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program in Surgical Technology to meet this demand at the lowest tuition rate in Arizona. Opportunities are available to specialize in a variety of services such as robotics, orthopedics, plastics, trauma, cardiac, vascular, urology, gynecology, and be an integral part of a skilled surgical team!
Read our story about the Surgical Technology program in NPC's Career Focus magazine.
Labs and Classrooms
In addition to classroom instruction, students will complete a clinical practicum, of 760 hours shadowing a surgical tech professional in the final two semesters of the program. Students may need to travel to Flagstaff or Winslow.
- Many of the prerequisite courses are available at other NPC campus locations.
Prerequisites Required Before Admission
Before a student is considered eligible to enter the Surgical Technology Program, completion of the following prerequisites is required. Successful completion with a “C” grade or better for each class is required and a cumulative Grade-Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0 is strongly recommended.
- BIO 181 General Biology I • 4 credits
- BIO 201 Human Anatomy and Physiology I • 4 credits
- BIO 205 Microbiology • 4 credits
- CHM 130 Fundamental Chemistry • 4 credits
- ENL 101 College Composition I • 3 credits
- HES 170 Medical Terminology • 3 credits
Admission to the Surgical Technology Program
- Students must be admitted to the Surgical Technology Program in order to enroll in surgical technology courses.
- This program has required prerequisite courses that MUST all be completed prior to July 1 before starting the program.
- Students must successfully complete the Health Education Systems, Inc. (HESI) Admission Assessment. See details below.
- Admission information is available through any NPC academic adviser.
- A completed Surgical Technology application (PDF) should be submitted on or before the designated deadline that is noted in the application packet. Late applicants may be accepted on a space-available basis if they meet the admission criteria, but not before applicants who submit their application on time.
SGT admission criteria will include: Admission Assessment test (HESI) composite and cumulative scores, prerequisite GPA, applicant statement and completion of program prerequisites by July 1. These factors will be weighted by the admission committee.
Students should note that:
- General Education and core requirements must be completed as listed on the curriculum outline in the program admission information packet.
- College credits over eight years old may be accepted with appropriate documentation and approval.
- Transfer students applying for second, third or fourth semester admission are considered on an individual basis. Criteria include course comparables, GPA, specified examination results and recommendation from previous program director. Transfer students should call the NPC Nursing & Allied Health department at (928) 532-6134.
- For more information, also see the Surgical Technology Student Handbook.
HESI Testing Dates
HESI Test results must accompany your application for admission to NPC's Surgical Technology Program.
Individuals seeking admission to NPC's Associate Degree Surgical Technology (SGT) Program must successfully complete the Health Education Systems, Inc. (HESI) Admission Assessment.
The HESI Admission Assessment tests math, reading, vocabulary, grammar, biology, chemistry and anatomy and physiology. All of these subjects are covered in SGT prerequisite courses. A study guide is available through the NPC Online Bookstore. Also see evolve.elsevier.com/cs/ or www.amazon.com.
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Surgical technologists wear scrubs (special sterile clothing) while they are in the operating room. Their work may be physically demanding, requiring them to be on their feet for long periods. Surgical technologists also may need to help move patients or lift heavy trays of medical supplies. At times, they may be exposed to communicable diseases and unpleasant sights, odors, and materials.
Surgical technologists held about 107,700 jobs in 2016, with 71% in hospitals; 11% in outpatient surgical centers; another 11% in doctor's offices and 4% in dental offices.
The aging U.S. population, greater availability of health insurance and increases in the number of people with private health insurance create favorable economic conditions for inpatient and ambulatory surgery centers (IBISWorld, 2018). According to the Arizona Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of surgical technologists is projected to grow 12% percent through 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.
The average median wage for surgical technologists in Arizona is $50,400 in the U.S. BLS, May 2019.SOC 29-2055
Potential Job Titles
- Surgical Technologist
- Operating Room Technician
Three years ago, ARC/STSA instituted a mandate effective August 1, 2021 for a minimum preparation with an Associate Degree to acquire the designation of Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).
NPC is applying for initial program accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in cooperation with the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA), an accreditation services agency. If the program is accredited during the student’s enrollment, the student will be eligible to complete a written examination to become a CST. The certification test is administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) which requires all applicants graduate from an accredited Surgical Technology Program (CAAHEP or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).