Surgical Technology Program Overview

In the United States, surgical technologists are unlicensed assistive personnel who work under the supervision of a surgeon, registered nurse (RN), or other surgical personnel (such as more senior technologists) to help ensure that the operating room or environment is safe, that equipment functions properly and that the operative procedure is conducted under conditions that maximize patient safety. They handle the instruments, scrubs, medications and other supplies and equipment necessary during the surgical procedure.

Where a Career in Surgical Technology Can Take You

Most surgical technologists — about 60 percent in the United States — work in hospitals, mainly in operating and delivery rooms. Depending on the role and employment setting, they may go by different titles including:

  • Scrub Surgical Technologist
  • Circulating Surgical Technologist
  • Second Assisting Technologist
  • Private scrubs (employed directly by surgeons who have special surgical teams)

Median Salary

$48,300 (2019)

Projected Job Growth

7% by 2029


*Data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Blake Thomas-NMU Surgical Technology Student

"The best part about my major is the hands-on experience that I got from day one. From the moment you enter the program, you get to work in a lab that’s designed just for future surgical techs to help get us as prepared as possible for what’s to come."

Blake Thomas

Surgical Technology Student

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Student and faculty member working in scrubs in a surgical technology lab

Admission to the Surgical Technology Clinical Program

Admission to the surgical technology clinical sequence of courses is limited. The admissions committee reserves the right to select students to be admitted. The admission criteria is listed below (not all students who meet the minimum standards will be admitted if space is not available). Students must have a:

  1. Grade of "C" or better in all ST and CLS courses;
  2. Grade of "C" or better in BI 207, BI 208 and OIS 171;
  3. Minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00;
  4. Minimum grade point average in the major of 2.00;
  5. Satisfactory assessment of student performance in the ST laboratories;
  6. Comprehensive entrance exam with a minimum passing score of 70%.

Students may repeat a surgical technology course only once.


Questions?

 

For questions regarding the surgical technology program, please contact the program director:

Richard A. Lopez, NREMT, CST, BSN
1513A West Science
rlopez@nmu.edu
906-227-1669

Beliefs about the surgical technology faculty

As members of the university, the faculty assumes responsibility for admission and assistance of students who have potential for success. The faculty are committed to the development of a learning environment which will promote the personal, intellectual, social and career development of under represented ethnic students and enhance the sensitivity and knowledge of the majority populations of the special needs and concerns of these individuals.


Beliefs about the surgical technology student

The faculty believe learning is the process of integrating skills, attitudes, values, beliefs and insights into oneself within an atmosphere of academic inquiry. It is further believed that teaching is a process of assessing the needs and potential of students in an environment where the teacher serves as a facilitator of learning and critical thinking. The faculty support the right of the student to challenge and debate beliefs within the context of academic freedom.

Upon graduation, the surgical technologist will be able to demonstrate the following entry level competencies:


As a member of the health care team, the student:

  1. Describes the role of the surgical technologist.
  2. Identifies the types of health care facilities and members who work as a team within them.
  3. Describes the members of the surgical team and their roles.
  4. Identifies the personnel and their roles within the surgical department.
  5. Demonstrates effective communication within the role and the responsibilities of the surgical technologist.
  6. Defines and interprets ethical, moral and legal responsibilities.
  7. Trace the historical development of surgery and the personnel working within the profession.
  8. Uses the correct medical language to describe the situations and activities associated with the patient who has surgery.
  9. Describes the professional organizations related to the education and certification of the surgical technologist.
  10. Describes responsibilities related to becoming and continuing with certification as a surgical technologist.
  11. Demonstrates the steps necessary to obtain employment as a surgical technologist.
  12. Discusses professionalism as it relates to surgical technology.

Science of the human body

  1. Name the body planes, structure, regions, organization and closed cavities of the body.
  2. Describe the cellular, tissue and organ function and structure of the human body.
  3. Describe the structure and characteristics of microorganisms.
  4. Discuss the factors that allow pathogens to invade a host and cause disease.
  5. Describe the individual human mechanisms/responses and the health care workers methods to control and/or prevent invasion of pathogens and development of infection.
  6. Describe how tissues react to wounds, stages of healing, types of healing, classification of surgical wounds and complications in wound healing.

Management of the patient in surgery

  1. Demonstrate math for drug calculations, identify medications and anesthesia agents used in care of the surgical patient.
  2. Demonstrate procedures for the care and handling of drugs.
  3. Explain the types of anesthesia and related interaction of drugs given to patients.
  4. Describe the stages of anesthesia and patient reactions, monitoring of patient and complications of anesthesia.
  5. Describe the legal rights of the patient undergoing surgery.
  6. Describe the responsibilities of each member of the surgical team to protect the legal/ethical rights of the patient.
  7. Describes the steps taken by members of the health care team in preparing the patient for surgery.
  8. Demonstrate the handling and labeling of specimens obtained during surgery.
  9. Describe the steps required in monitoring the patient’s temperature, blood volume, fluid and electrolyte balance and vital signs during surgery.
  10. Identify signs of a medical emergency and describe the steps and procedures required to manage it.
  11. Demonstrate methods and types of documentation and record keeping used in surgery.
  12. Identify the principles and methods of sterilization and environmental disinfection.
  13. Describe all instruments, their use in procedures and requirements for sterilization.
  14. Identify the various sutures, needles, catheters, drains, dressings, etc., used during surgery.
  15. Demonstrate the use, care, handling and cleaning of the varied equipment use to carry out surgical procedures.
  16. Demonstrate the principles of draping the wound and maintaining a sterile field.
  17. Demonstrate the sterile hand scrub, gowning/gloving of self and others, and handling of instruments during preparation for onset of surgery.
  18. Demonstrate the intra-operative techniques necessary in carrying out the surgical procedure.

The surgical technology program is a part of the Clinical Laboratory Sciences Department and, as such, is committed to the provision of quality education at the technical vocational level. Upon completion of the surgical technology program the students are eligible to take the certification exam of the Liaison Council on Certification for the Surgical Technologist (LCC-ST). Upon successful completion of the exam, students are certified surgical technologists.

NMU's program is accredited by ARC/STSA (Accreditation Review Committee for Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting) (formerly ARC-ST) and is monitored for compliance with the standards. 

The CST exam pass rate for 2019 was 89%

ST program implemented the 2013 Core Curriculum for Surgical Technolgy, 6e [CCST,6e] on January 7, 2013

Surgical technology courses are sequential, and there is limited space in some courses. When a student wishes to be readmitted into the surgical technology sequence of courses after having a withdrawal or failure in a previously enrolled course, the student must update the application to represent the new timeline for placement. Students who have failed any surgical technology courses more than once are ineligible for readmission.