How to Become a Surgical Tech: Education & Requirements

December 7, 2019


You’ve decided to pursue your surgical technologist education – congratulations! This allied health career is rewarding and exciting, but where do you start? How exactly do you become a surgical technologist?

Surgical tech schools are designed to provide the necessary skills that make you a capable allied health worker (while giving you a leg up on your competition). 

For a seamless application process, follow our comprehensive list (just be sure to check with a representative from your chosen school).

1. Visit Your Surgical Tech School Campus

Before you can even start thinking of applying to an accredited scrub tech school, you need to choose a campus that best suits you. 

Though there are thousands of programs to choose from, one of the biggest reasons for selecting a program comes down to proximity. You might look for surgical tech programs near you to keep expenses lower. Since excellent surgical tech jobs exist throughout the country, don’t let your current location get in the way of pursuing a program outside of your city or state. 

When you visit your prospective school’s campus, you’ll be able to see if it’s a good fit for you. Once you’ve decided on the school, it’s time to prepare your application.

Speak to an Admissions Team Member

An admissions team member will help you determine the best way to accomplish your personal goals. In addition to course structure, pricing, and financial aid opportunities, you’ll discuss your prospective surgical tech school’s requirements like your past educational and student performance. 

This is also the time to review application and enrollment procedures to ensure that you have all of the necessary information.

2. Apply for Financial Aid 

Not all surgical technologist programs are eligible for federal financial aid. If your course doesn’t offer government assistance, you can consider looking into private student loan companies like Climb Credit, provide excellent funding options. Some schools also offer interest-free payment plans, which is a great option for students who want to avoid loans.

No matter the route you select, be sure to submit your application for aid before starting the surgical tech application process. 

3. Complete Your Surgical Tech Application

 Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash 


Many scrub tech schools have rolling admissions, meaning that you can apply at any time (as long as a start date is available).

Many surgical tech programs require students to submit required documents in-person, as well as complete an interview with a school official and take an entrance exam (e.g. Wonderlic SLE). 

Why Do I Have to Take an Entrance Exam?

Don’t worry about taking an entrance exam – it’s incredibly common for healthcare training programs to require this from applicants. These exams help schools evaluate whether an applicant has the general competence and ability to meet the school’s educational requirements.

In a nutshell, exams help schools determine whether the student will successfully complete their curriculum.

4. Wait for Your School’s Decision


You might be anxious after turning in your application, but most schools fast-track their selections. In fact, some schools may give you an answer within 1-2 weeks!

How Do Surgical Tech Schools Determine Acceptance?

There are many factors that go into a school’s decision regarding surgical tech applications, (especially since it’s a competitive field). These will probably include your highest level of completed education, overall GPA, whether you have healthcare experience, letters of reference, entrance exam scores, and the results of your entrance interview.

Finish Your Surgical Tech Course Enrollment

Accepted students may need to set up an appointment to complete the final steps of their enrollment process. This often includes signing a contract (and any other school-required documents).

5. Attend Your Orientation

By this point, you’re a registered student. Either before or on the first day of your courses, you will be expected to attend an orientation program. This is a great opportunity to receive information regarding the rules and policies of your school.

6. Start Your Surgical Tech Training 


In your program, you’ll receive first-rate instruction on surgical tech duties like adequately preparing operating rooms for surgery, maintaining sterile environments, distributing proper surgical instruments to the surgical team, and much more. You will also study basic preoperative and postoperative patient care.

Remaining aware of all technological changes in your field is important. Not only is surgical technology constantly changing, but extra studying will also keep you ahead of the competition.

7. Complete Your Surgical Tech Education Requirements

After completing classroom and lab hours, students will participate in a mandatory clinical internship. Expert mentors are paired with each student, providing invaluable, hands-on experience with real surgical team members. This real world instruction can even lead directly to being hired by the same hospital – even before completing your certification exams!

8. Pass Your Surgical Tech Certification

After fulfilling classroom and internship hours, students should be eligible to take a certification exam. The two most recognized certifications for surgical technologists are the Certified TS-C exam offered by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) and the Certified Surgical Technologist Exam offered by NBSTSA

Students should consult their schools and the certifying bodies for eligibility requirements.

Kickstart Your Surgical Tech Education Today

 Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels 


From competitive salaries, healthy job market, and making a difference every single day, there are countless reasons to become a surgical technologist. Take the next step by applying to a surgical tech program – it’ll be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

If you live in the New Jersey area, speak to a representative about AIMS Education’s Surgical Technologist program!