What Is Surgical Technologist Certification

Surgical technologists are an integral part of the surgical team. They provide the specialized support that surgeons rely on in order to perform their work safely and effectively. Technologists are trained to handle equipment, sterile supplies, instruments, monitors, etc. all of which must be handled and stored properly in order to prevent infections or other complications. In some cases surgical technologists may even prepare patients for surgery by administering anesthesia and preparing them physically before they go into the operating room.

What Is Surgical Technologist Certification?

Surgical technologist certification is the process of demonstrating that you have the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform a certain task. Certification can be voluntary or mandatory depending on where you work.

Certification is often required for surgical technicians working in hospitals or other health care facilities. In some states and countries, it’s also required for medical assistants who assist physicians with surgeries or procedures outside of a hospital setting (such as cosmetic surgeons).

Certification helps prove your skills to employers and can help advance your career by giving you more opportunities for promotion within an organization.


There are three different levels of certification:

  • Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) – this is the entry-level certification. It requires a high school diploma or equivalent and successful completion of an accredited surgical technologist program.
  • Registered Surgical Technologist (RST) – requires successful completion of an accredited surgical technologist program and also that you pass the NBSTSA’s national registry examination.
  • Certified Registered Surgical Technologist (CRST) – this is the highest level of certification available through NBSTSA, and it requires successful completion of an accredited surgical technologist program, passing the RST exam, plus at least one year’s work experience as an RST before taking another written exam that tests knowledge beyond what is taught in most associate degree programs (e.g., infection control, sterile processing).

Earning Certification

Surgical Technologist Certification is earned through a formal education program, an apprenticeship program, or a combination of the two. If you’re interested in earning your certification through one of these methods, here’s what you need to know:

  • Formal Education Programs: These programs offer students access to classroom instruction and clinical experience under the supervision of healthcare professionals who are already certified as surgical technologists. Students typically complete their studies within two years and must pass an exam before they receive their license/certificate. Some schools also require that students complete an internship before they graduate from their program. This can be especially helpful if your school doesn’t offer on-site clinical placements!
  • Apprenticeships: These programs provide hands-on training with experienced surgeons and surgical technicians who will teach you everything there is about being a great medical assistant–from how to dress wounds properly all the way down through how often patients should change out their bandages (the answer might surprise you).

Career Benefits

  • Certification can help you get a job.
  • Certification can help you advance in your career.
  • Certification can help you get a higher salary.
  • Certification is an asset to your resume, which means that it could be used by employers when deciding who they want to hire for an open position or promotion within the company.

You can get certified

You can get certified as a surgical technologist. The certification process is a way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, show employers you are qualified, and demonstrate your commitment to the profession.

To get certified, you must pass an examination that tests your knowledge of surgical technology topics such as infection control; patient care; anesthesia; human body systems; surgical instruments; pharmacology (the study of drugs); anatomy & physiology (the structure & function of living things).


As you can see, there are many benefits to becoming a certified surgical technologist. If you’re interested in this career path, contact your local community college or vocational school for more information about how to get started with certification classes.