Associate of Science (AS): Surgical Technology Degree Overview

Surgical technologists are part of the sterile surgical team that prepares patients and operating rooms for surgery. Students in Associate of Science in Surgical Technology programs can gain skills needed to assist before and during an operation.

Essential Information

Associate of Science in Surgical Technology programs are typically offered at community and technical colleges. Skills taught in these programs can range from caring for the patient and maintaining equipment to helping the doctors during the actual procedure. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredits most surgical technology programs and provides guidelines for the curriculum. Graduates may pursue voluntary certification. Applicants for the 2-year associate's program need a high school diploma or GED. Programs may require a practicum or externship to graduate.

Associate's Degree of Science in Surgical Technology

Along with general education requirements, students complete core coursework in basic and advanced anatomy, surgical technology and microbiology. Additional core courses may include:

  • Pharmacology
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Surgical techniques
  • Medical terminology
  • Pathophysiology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), employment of surgical technologists is expected to increase by 15% from 2014-2024 ( In May 2015, the BLS reported that the annual median salary for surgical technologists was $44,330.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Graduates can seek immediate entry-level employment or opt for further education with a bachelor's degree program in surgical technology. These programs expand upon the associate's degree program and offer additional courses in health sciences. However, according to the BLS, surgical technology programs are most commonly offered as options that take from 9-24 months to complete.

Voluntary certification may be preferred by employers of surgical technologists and can be obtained through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting or the National Center for Competency Testing. Certification typically requires the completion of continuing education requirements and additional examinations.

An Associate of Science in Surgical Technology teaches students the necessary skills in medicine, anatomy, and surgery to become surgical technologists and pursue further education or voluntary certification.

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