Surgical Technologist Career Plan

The path to a surgical technology career is not necessarily long. Early planning will help you complete the steps you need to be successful.

Become a Surgical Technologist

Surgical Technologist Resources…

  1. Take math and science courses in high school. Good grades in biology and chemistry can help you down the line; some schools use a point system for admission when there are limited seats. You may also be required to pass a basic skills exam, so make sure you have good reading comprehension and computational skills.

    Take a health exploration class or endorsement course if it’s available. Career exploration activities are available through major hospitals, Area Health Education Centers, and high school vocational centers. Look for opportunities to shadow a professional.

  2. Research surgical technology programs. Make sure any program that you are considering is accredited by CAAHEP (the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) or ABHES (the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools). Programs accredited by these organizations allow for eligibility to sit for certification exams down the road.

  3. Complete program prerequisites. These vary by length of program and other factors. Typical prerequisites include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and microbiology. An associate level program may also require classes in social sciences and communications.

  4. Fulfill other obligations required for program admission. You will need CPR certification and a health exam. You may also need to get some vaccinations.

  5. Make your degree program count. Treat your internship supervisors as potential employers. Consider joining the Association of Surgical Technologists Student Association. Exemplary students may be nominated by their program directors for the AST Honor Society. Requirements include a GPA of at least 3.75, good citizenship and class attendance, and AST membership.

  6. Take certifying exams and put some credentials to your name! Now it’s time to secure your first position as a surgical technologist. Your externships could lead to permanent opportunities, but it’s possible you’ll need to pound the pavement for a while. Jobs may be found in hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and private physicians’ offices. The Association of Surgical Technologists has an online career center.

Personality Traits: Who makes a great surgical technologist? According to the College Board, it’s someone who’s not squeamish. It helps to have good teamwork skills and an attention to detail. Employers also look for candidates who can handle stress.