What Degree Do You Need For Surgical Tech?

10 Reasons to a Surgical Technologist

The Role of a Surgical Tech

Surgical technicians, also known as surgical technologists or operating room technicians, are responsible for assisting surgeons during medical procedures. They prepare the operating room by sterilizing equipment, stocking supplies, and ensuring all necessary tools are in place. They also assist in prepping patients for surgery, including positioning them on the operating table and covering them with sterile drapes. During the surgery, surgical techs help the surgeon by passing instruments, holding organs or tissues in place, and suctioning fluids. They also monitor the patient’s vital signs and make sure the surgical team adheres to proper sterile techniques.

Education Requirements for Surgical Techs

While formal education isn’t always required to become a surgical tech, most employers prefer candidates with a certificate, diploma, or associate degree in surgical technology. These programs typically take between 9 months to 2 years to complete and include both classroom instruction and clinical experience. Coursework usually covers topics such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, surgical procedures and techniques, and sterile processing. Students also gain hands-on experience in a clinical setting, giving them the opportunity to practice their skills in a real-world environment.

Certification and Licensing

In addition to completing an accredited surgical technology program, many states require surgical techs to be certified or licensed. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) offers a certification exam that is widely recognized by employers and state licensing boards. To be eligible to take the exam, candidates must have graduated from an accredited surgical technology program or have at least seven years of experience working as a surgical tech. They must also demonstrate knowledge of surgical procedures, patient care, and sterile techniques.

Advancement Opportunities

With experience and additional education, surgical techs can advance their careers and take on more responsibilities. Some may choose to specialize in a particular area of surgery, such as neurosurgery or orthopedics. Others may choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in surgical technology or a related field, which can lead to opportunities in management or education. Some may even choose to become a surgical assistant, which requires additional education and certification.


In summary, while a degree isn’t always required to become a surgical tech, it can help you stand out to potential employers and provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in this field. Additionally, certification and licensing are often required, and pursuing further education or specialization can lead to additional career opportunities. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a surgical tech, consider researching accredited programs and certification requirements in your state.