Associate Degree in Surgical Technology

An associate degree in surgical technology trains you to anticipate and meet the needs of a surgical team, while also educating you on how to sterilize and prepare instruments for surgeries. Read on to learn more about the field in general and get information on online study options, common course topics, practicum details and available certifications. Schools offering Surgical Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in a Surgical Technology Associate Degree Program?

You will receive training in assisting a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and other allied health professionals in a role primarily, though not exclusively, focused on instrumentation and equipment. Instruction in the different surgical tools and their corresponding surgical uses, along with care and sterilization of surgical instruments, tools and equipment, is a vital portion of your education. You will also learn about human anatomy and how to care for surgical patients before and after operations.

Field Focus Surgical assistance, surgical instrumentation, sterilization of surgical instruments
Common Courses Anesthesia, surgical instrumentation, surgical procedures and patient care
Practicum Details Hands-on experience in an emergency room at the local hospital
Online Study Options Hybrid programs with online classes and on-site practical work are available
Certifications Available Certified Surgical Technologist (CST), Tech in Surgery-Certified (TS-C)

What Classes Will I Take?

Your degree-specific classes begin after you complete your institution's general education requirements. Basic coursework for this degree generally includes basic and advanced human anatomy classes, microbiology, advanced mathematics and pharmacology. After completing these requirements, you may also take courses such as:

  • Introduction to surgical technology
  • Anesthesia
  • Surgical technology techniques, fundamentals and concepts
  • Asepsis and surgical sterilization
  • Surgical instrumentation
  • Surgical procedures and patient care
  • Laboratory skill exercises

Will I Complete a Clinical Component?

You may be required to complete a clinical or practicum while pursuing your associate degree. The clinical portion of your education is designed to give you experience in an emergency room as a student. Your institution will place you at a local hospital, where you gain experience in actual surgery situations. The clinical portion is designed to build upon and improve your classroom and laboratory knowledge, increasing your speed and accuracy in predicting the surgical team's instrumentation and technology needs.

May I Earn this Degree Online?

While there are no complete online associate degree programs offered in surgical technology, some institutions offer hybrid programs. In these programs, you complete your classroom instruction online in the form of training modules, videos, discussion forums and reading materials, but laboratory classes and your clinical requirements must be completed on-site.

Is There a Professional Certification?

After obtaining your Associate of Science in Surgical Technology, you may qualify to take the exam for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) designation awarded by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Since many employers favor certified applicants, you may want to attain this certification.

Another voluntary certification available to you is from the National Center for Competency Testing. This organization awards the Tech in Surgery-Certified, TS-C (NCCT) designation, and can be obtained by taking an exam. Both the NCCT and the NBSTSA certifications require continuing education units for recertification after a designated time period.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • New England Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • Rhode Island: Warwick
  • The University of Montana

    Campus Locations:

    • Montana: Missoula
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • University of Cincinnati

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Batavia
  • Yakima Valley Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Washington: Yakima
  • Wilson Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Wilson
  • Wichita Area Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Kansas: Wichita
  • Western Iowa Tech Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Iowa: Sioux City
  • West Virginia Northern Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • West Virginia: Wheeling
  • West Kentucky Community and Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Kentucky: Paducah