Surgical Technologist Certificate: Definition and How To Achieve

Certified Surgical Technologist – Community Health Network

What is a surgical technologist certificate?

A surgical tech may pursue a surgical technologist certificate to demonstrate their professional expertise or fulfill certain state requirements. Surgical technologists prepare the operating room (OR) for surgery, close incisions, and provide tools and instruments to the attending surgeon while working with a surgical team in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Although not all states mandate certification for surgical technologists, they can still offer people impressive credentials for many surgical tech roles.

There are two major credentials offered to a surgical technologist:

Certified Surgical Technologist

The Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential is offered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), and it can be obtained by passing a rigorous exam. The exam assesses candidates using a multiple-choice format on the fundamental abilities and knowledge required of an entry-level surgical tech as well as other crucial knowledge, like medical terminology. Surgical technologists who pass the exam are certified, and they can choose to renew their credentials every four years.

Tech in Surgery-Certified

The Tech in Surgery-Certified (TS-C) credential is offered by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), and candidates can earn it by fulfilling certain requirements and passing an exam. The exam, which covers crucial knowledge on surgical tech skills, knowledge, and medical terminology, is very comparable to the one provided by the NBSTSA. Additionally, the NCCT mandates that candidates for certification have relevant surgical tech experience. Surgery technologists can obtain the necessary experience through military service, employment, or training.

How to get certified as a surgical technologist

To become a certified surgical technologist, follow these steps:

1. Earn a high school diploma

Most post-secondary surgical tech programs and positions require a high school diploma or GED equivalent as a requirement. Consider taking science courses in high school that can teach you the fundamental skills and knowledge you’ll need to become a surgical technologist, such as biology and anatomy. To gain practical experience and an understanding of the healthcare environment, it can be helpful to look for internship or volunteer opportunities at hospitals and healthcare facilities.

If you’re an adult who still needs to complete your high school education, look online for courses that can help you do so. Additionally, GED tests and study materials are available to assist in completing those educational requirements.

2. Fulfill certification requirements

Before pursuing either of the TS-C or CST certifications, candidates must have completed a specific amount of training or experience. Individuals may receive experience in one of three ways as long as it occurred within the previous five years.

Aspiring surgical technologists have access to a number of accredited programs that can award them a certificate, diploma, or degree. Individuals can earn certificates and diplomas from vocational and trade schools in about a year. In order to help people launch their careers more quickly, the programs frequently emphasize coursework relevant to the position of surgical technologist. But there are also undergraduate courses offered by recognized institutions that grant surgical technology associate degrees. The degree typically requires two years to complete, and there may be additional math, English, and general science coursework required.

If a person has completed a surgical technologist training program through the United States Armed Forces within the last five years, they may take the certification exam under the military experience option. Individuals must submit a copy of their Joint Service Transcript or DD214, which certifies that they’ve finished a professional surgical technologist training program, whether they’re taking the CST or the TS-C. Individuals must also finish a competency form that documents their participation in various surgeries in order to be eligible for the TS-C certification.

Without a degree or certificate, candidates for surgical technologist certification need to have worked as one for at least three years. The three years of experience must have been gained while working full-time for the past five years under the direction of a licensed doctor, registered nurse (RN), or primary care provider.

The Tech in Surgery-Certified credential is the only certification that allows candidates with relevant work experience to sit for the exam. Individuals can only sit for the exam to become a Certified Surgical Technician if they have recently graduated from an accredited program or have military experience. Individuals who are interested in becoming a TS-C must complete a form outlining their three years of experience and submit it for approval along with the testing fee before sitting for the certification exam.

3. Prepare for exams

Each exam for surgical technologist certification can be taken in a single day. However, it’s crucial to schedule the test and give yourself at least three months for your certification application to be approved. Utilizing various study tools, such as practice exams, study materials, and flashcards, will help you learn and retain the information for the test more efficiently. To aid one another in preparing, it can be beneficial to establish a study group with other people pursuing the certification.

Three months before the exam, it is advised that people spend at least 15 to 20 hours per week studying. The CST and TS-C exams cover the same material regarding the responsibilities and skills needed for the position of surgical tech. There are 175 multiple-choice questions on each exam, but only 150 of them are graded. Because the 25 unanswered questions are test questions for upcoming exams, the organizations do not label them. Each exam has a 70% pass rate, and candidates must correctly answer at least 102 out of the 150 questions.

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What are the requirements to be a surgical tech?

Although training to become a surgical technologist isn’t nearly as difficult as training to become a doctor, you can’t exactly walk out of high school and into the operating room. You can anticipate needing a certificate or degree, passing muster in an internship, and earning some credentials.

Is being a surgical technologist hard?

Surgical technologists can become certified through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) or by passing an exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

What is the difference between NCCT and Nbstsa?

To pass the CST exam, candidates must correctly answer 102 questions. The test consists of 175 questions, of which 150 are scored and 25 are practice questions for upcoming tests; these questions do not affect the test-taker’s score in any way.

How do you pass the surgical tech certification exam?

To pass the CST exam, candidates must correctly answer 102 questions. The test consists of 175 questions, of which 150 are scored and 25 are practice questions for upcoming tests; these questions do not affect the test-taker’s score in any way.

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