Although certification exams for surgical techs who have graduated from accredited programs must be taken in person, individuals wishing to earn certification can generally download their exam applications and study online. Both the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) offer certification for surgical techs, and eligibility requirements vary depending on credentialing organization. As mentioned above, online exam outlines and/or practice exams are available for studying and test prep purposes.
Surgical Tech Certification
While surgical technology certification isn't always required, it can bolster employment prospects for surgical technologists. In many cases, students complete a formal postsecondary training program prior to pursuing certification, though organizations typically have alternative eligibility paths as well.
Information and Requirements
Candidates looking to earn certification from the NBSTSA must possess either a current or past surgical technologist certification or have successfully completed a surgical technology program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Candidates wishing to earn certification from the NCCT have a number of eligibility routes available, including enrollment in or graduation from an accredited surgical tech program, three years of full-time surgical technology or work experience or military training, among others.
Regardless of credentialing organization, certification candidates must complete an application and pay the exam fee. Once paperwork is received and processed, candidates receive authorization for the test, which can usually be scheduled online.
Common Exam Topics
Although every exam features unique content, there is some overlap of general topics. Here are a few examples of concepts and ideas seen in certification exams for surgical techs:
- Medical terminology
- Infection control
- OSHA rules & regulations
- Surgical knowledge
- Post-operative care
Continuing Education Information
Both the NBSTSA and the NCCT require certified surgical techs to complete continuing education and renew their certification on a regular basis. Currently, the NBSTSA requires recertification every four years; the NCCT requires it on a yearly basis. Continuing education courses can typically be completed online.
Surgical technologists perform valuable services before, during and after surgical procedures. In addition to helping prepare the operating room, technologists may monitor vital signs, pass instruments, inventory supplies and perform post operative facility clean-up.
Certification for surgical techs, while not a requirement to be employed, can certainly enhance an individual's resume and possibly increase their employment chances. While exams must be completed in person, students can find exam preps online.