Individuals in Washington State have a choice of schools from which to earn an award in surgical technology. Available programs in the state lead to certificates and associate's degrees. While degree programs include general education classes, certificate tracks focus exclusively on major courses. Many such programs include practicum requirements in addition to classroom learning and lab training.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most surgical technologists have completed a certificate or an associate's degree in surgical technology. Surgical technologists are required to be registered in the state of Washington, though the only education requirement is completion of seven hours in AIDS education.
Although it may not be necessary for employment, certification is available through organizations like the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). Certification requirements typically include completion of an approved program and an exam.
The seven Washington schools outlined below have surgical technology programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) that can prepare graduates for certification.
Bellingham Technical College
Located in Bellingham, this public school offers a surgical technology associate program. The curriculum includes classroom, lab and clinical sessions. Students explore topics like pharmacology, surgical equipment, medical terminology, aseptic techniques and sterilization. This program also requires the completion of general education courses. In addition, students learn about the legal and professional aspects of being surgical technologists. Graduates are qualified for certification exams.
Clover Park Technical College
Lakewood-based Clover Park Technical College has an Associate of Applied Technology in Surgical Technology. The six-quarter program has courses in human biology, medical terminology, patient care theory, and pharmacology. Four sequential clinical applications courses provide students with hands-on training through observation of surgical procedures. Two seminar courses prepare students to take the PAE (Program Assessment Examination) and the NBSTSA certification examination.
Columbia Basin College
The surgical technology program at Columbia Basin College in Pasco teaches students through classroom lectures, laboratory classes and clinical practice at area hospitals and surgical centers. The program includes a surgical seminar course taken concurrently with an operating room practicum; students learn about workplace issues and technologies while obtaining hands-on training. Topics of study include disease transmission and control pharmacology, perioperative patient care and surgical procedures. Upon completion of the program, graduates may apply for certification. The school also offers an operating room aide certificate.
Renton Technical College
Renton Technical College offers aspiring surgical technologists the choice of a certificate or associate degree program. The certificate program trains students as scrub persons and circulators in a surgical setting. Students learn surgical assisting techniques through a combination of classroom-based instruction and hands-on training. Required coursework includes surgical techniques, surgical procedures, medical terminology, pharmacology, and patient care skills. Students must also complete clinical and operating room experiences at local hospitals.
In addition to surgical technology courses, the associate degree program includes general education courses in anatomy and physiology, general psychology, speech communication, and English composition. This program is also offered as a transfer program for students who wish to transfer to a four-year institution and pursue a bachelor's degree. Graduates are qualified for surgical technology certification.
Seattle Community College
The three-quarter surgical technology certificate program at Seattle Community College includes courses in basic sciences, medical terminology, and surgical techniques. Students complete their clinical practice requirement at various hospitals in the Seattle area. Clinical practice familiarizes students with operating room equipment, surgical procedures, and aseptic techniques. Students who complete additional general education courses can earn an associate degree. Graduates of both programs are prepared for national certification.
Spokane Community College
Spokane Community College offers a surgical technology associate degree program that prepares students for surgical work in operating rooms. The program trains students to implement operating room procedures, apply medical ethics concepts and use surgical instruments. Upon completion of the training, students are eligible to take the certification exam and earn the certified surgical technologist credential. Applicants must complete prerequisite courses to be eligible for entry into this program.
Yakima Valley Community College
Located in Yakima, the allied health technology division has a surgical technology program that accepts only ten students each year; applicants are accepted based on a point system. The 96-credit program can be completed in seven quarters of full-time study; however, this competitive program is also available in a limited part-time format. Students obtain their training through traditional and online classroom lectures, simulated lab practices and clinical rotations. This program prepares students to obtain certification.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Surgical Technologist Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)|
|Bellingham Technical College||Two-year, public; small city||Associate of Applied Science - Transfer in Surgery Technology|| $3,600 in-state;
|Clover Park Technical College||Two-year, public; small city||Associate of Applied Technology in Surgical Technology||$5,740 *|
|Columbia Basin College||Four-year, public; midsize suburb|| Operating Room Aide One-Year Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Surgical Technology
| $5,288 in-state;
|Renton Technical College||Two-year, public; midsize city|| Surgical Technologist Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technologist,
Associate of Applied Science - Transfer in Surgical Technologist
| $5,466 in-state;
|Seattle Community College - Central Campus||Four-year, public; large city|| Surgical Technology Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology
|Spokane Community College||Two-year, public; midsize city||Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology|| $3,547 in-state;
|Yakima Valley Community College||Two-year, public; small city||Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology|| $5,163 in-state;
Source: *NCES School Navigator