By the term “Surgical Tech Major” we generally refer to a formal or traditional education or training program in surgical technology. There are no such Surgical Technology majors in either an Associate or BSN degree.

So, if you aspire to become a Surgical Tech by going through a more advanced education then you can opt for a dedicated Associate Degree in Surgical Technology. While a BSN is not a good option.

Besides an Associate degree, you can also opt for accredited surgical technology programs, often offered by vocational schools, community colleges, online schools, and some universities.  

In this article, we’ll discuss the Surgical Techs, their duties, salary, and how you can become one, and then discuss the Associate Degree in Surgical Tech, course curricula, course duration and costs, and much more. 

Let’s begin –

Surgical Tech Major

Surgical Technologists

Surgical Technologists, or CSTs assist the surgeons, during, before, and after the surgery in the operating room during surgical procedures.

Their understanding of surgical techniques, instruments, and procedures, as well as excellent communication and teamwork skills contribute immensely to patient care.

They complete accredited training programs and become certified through organizations like the NBSTSA, NCST, or NCCT.

What do they do?

The primary role of a Surgical Tech is to assist the surgical team during surgeries by preparing the operating room, sterilizing equipment, and passing instruments to the surgical team.

Besides that, here’s what they do – 

  • They maintain a sterile environment during procedures and anticipate the surgeon’s needs throughout the surgery.
  • They help with tasks like suturing, keeping detailed records, and ensuring patient safety during the operation.
  • After surgeries, they assist in cleaning and restocking the operating room, making it ready for the next procedure.
  • Their role involves close collaboration with the surgical team, contributing to successful and safe surgeries.

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-> What is a Surgical Tech?

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Salary and Job Prospects

As per BLS, the annual average salary of Surgical Tech is $55,960, with an hourly rate of around $27. Also, the employment growth rate for surgical assistants and technologists is projected to grow by 5% in this decade. 

Read -> Surgical Tech Salary

How to Become a Surgical Tech?

scrub nurse vs surgical tech

If you aspire to become a Surgical Tech, you must undergo formal education through an associate degree, certificate and diploma programs, or online surgical tech programs. To enroll in a Surgical Tech program, all you need is a High School diploma or equivalent.

So, if you believe this career might be the perfect fit for you, then let’s proceed ahead to learn how exactly you can become one. 

  • Step 1 – Enroll in a Surgical Technology Program 
  • Step 2 – Earn University Certificate
  • Step 3 – Acquire Clinical Experience Through an Externship
  • Step 4 – Apply, Study, and Pass the CST Exam through NBSTSA, NCST, or NCCT. We recommend NCST by AAH.
  • Step 5 – Maintain Certification every 2 or 4 years through continuing education of 75 hours.

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Associate Degree in Surgical Tech

An AAS Degree in Surgical Technology is an undergraduate program designed to prepare students for a career as Surgical Techs. Community colleges and technical schools typically offer these programs.

This degree equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to assist surgical teams effectively and ensure patient safety in the operating room.

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Course Duration and Costs

If you opt for an Associate degree, then it will take you 2 years to acquire it then some months to gain some clinical experience, and some more months to prepare for the CST exam.

The associate degree would cost you around $5,000 to $40,000, depending on the school of your choice. Also, there are other expenses associated with it, like fuel, books, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Read More:

-> Online Surgical Tech Programs

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-> Surgical Tech Program & Training

Course Curricula

If you choose an Associate Degree in Surgical Technology, then you’ll find a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience.

In the classroom, here’s what you’ll learn –

  • Surgical Procedures
  • Medical Terminology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Sterilization Techniques
  • Patient Care

For practical experience, you’ll be working in real operating room settings by assisting in surgeries, setting up surgical instruments and equipment, and learning to maintain a sterile environment.

We Only Recommended Online Surgical Tech Program

Online EKG Technician Education

We recommended the online Surgical Technology program for its flexibility, cost-effectiveness, accessibility, and the ability to prepare students for successful careers in healthcare.

They are convenient and adaptable to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to become a skilled Surgical Technologist. But, it’s essential to choose an accredited online program to ensure the quality and recognition of your education.

Also Read:

-> AST Surgical Tech 

-> NCCT Surgical Tech

-> Surgical Tech Study Guide

Here’s why we recommend Online Accredited Programs –

Their Flexibility

The flexibility these programs offer in terms of scheduling is unmatchable. Whether you are with your family or a holiday, you can access the course materials, lectures, and assignments at your convenience, from wherever you are. 

The Accessibility

These programs are accessible to a wide range of students, including those who live in remote areas or have limited access to traditional educational institutions. This accessibility can help individuals pursue their educational and career goals. 


Unlike traditional programs, you don’t have to exhaust your savings. The online programs comparatively have lower tuition fees, and you can also save on commuting costs, books, other miscellaneous costs, etc. 

Customized Pace

Online programs allow you to learn at your own pace. If you grasp certain concepts quickly, you can move on to the next module or lesson or wait till you fully grasp the current topic. 

Technology Integration

With digital tools and resources, online programs have enhanced the learning experience. These include interactive simulations, virtual labs, and access to up-to-date research and resources.

Clinical Experience

While educational coursework can be completed online, clinical training is typically in-person. This ensures students gain hands-on experience and practical skills in real healthcare settings.  

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Certification Preparation

Post-completion of your course, you can apply for the NCST exam as these programs are designed to prepare you for certification exams. The curriculum perfectly aligns with the requirements for national certification.

Also Read:

-> Surgical Tech Certification

-> How to Become a Certified Surgical Tech?

In Conclusion

To become a Surgical Tech, you should look for accredited surgical technology programs, often offered by vocational schools, community colleges, and some universities.

These programs can lead to a diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree in surgical technology, preparing you for a career in the operating room.

Lastly, we only recommend online surgical tech programs for their flexibility, affordability, accessibility, and certification and externship assistance.


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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.