This is a career and technical education program. Upon successful completion of all program requirements an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology is awarded by Richland Community College. Eligible students sit for the National Certification Examination to become Certified Surgical Technologists (CST). Some courses may not transfer to four-year institutions.
The Surgical Technology Program is a selective admission program, and minimum criteria must be met in order to apply. Admission to the program is by application. Admission to Richland Community College does not guarantee acceptance to the program. The program begins each fall semester, and takes five semesters to complete.
Richland’s Surgical Technology Degree program is a Regional Partnership with Heartland Community College and Lake Land College. In addition to serving Richland, the program also serves these colleges by reserving a limited number of seats for qualified students seeking admission. Students residing outside of the Richland or the Regional Partnership districts will be considered for admission when space is available.
Career and Technical Education Options
This is a career and technical education program. Some courses may not transfer to four-year institutions.
- Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology
- Request an admission worksheet for the Surgical Technology Program – required if you want to apply to the program
Personal responsibility is a key characteristic of health professionals. Surgical Technology candidates must review the pertinent information linked from this page as the first step in the application process. The Health Professions has a selective admissions process.
Career as a Surgical Technologist
Surgical Technologists perform tasks that require knowledge of asepsis and safe surgical procedures. Such tasks include preparing all supplies, instruments, and equipment for operative procedures; and passing instruments to the surgeon. Positions are available throughout the United States in delivery rooms, surgery centers, and other settings. Surgical Technologists serve as integral members of the surgical team and work closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and other surgical personnel in delivery of patient care.
Surgical Technology is a demanding, challenging, and satisfying profession. It requires clinical expertise, academic knowledge, thinking skills, physical stamina, and personal integrity.
The Surgical Technology profession is expected to grow about as fast as average until 2020. The current salary for new graduates ranges from $13-$26 per hour. With successful completion of the certification examination, the salary may increase. In addition, several health care providers may offer sign-on bonuses.
Check the Occupational Outlook Handbook for the most current information.
For further career information, please visit the following Web sites:
- Association of Surgical Technologists (AST)
- Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology (ARC/STSA)
- The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA)
Richland’s AAS Degree in Surgical Technology Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP, 25400 U.S. Highway 19 N, Suite 158, Clearwater, FL 33763; Phone: 727-210-2350 Web: www.CAAHEP.org). The Program is in the Continuing Accreditation cycle.
Program Mission and Goals
The Surgical Technology Program Mission reflects Richland’s Mission. The mission of the Surgical Technology Program is to provide students with the opportunity to obtain the knowledge and skills to become employed as entry level surgical technologists and become contributing members of the health care team.
The purpose of the Surgical Technology program is to prepare competent entry-level surgical technologists with the necessary cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains. The program will provide students with the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to gain employment as surgical technologists and become contributing members of the health care team. This will be accomplished by meeting or exceeding the criteria set forth in the current Standards and Guidelines for an Accredited Educational Program in Surgical Technology.
National Surgical Technologists Certifying Examination Pass Rate
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Employment Rate as Certified Surgical Technologists
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The total estimated cost for the Surgical Technology Program, based on full-time attendance, is approximately $15,665.75. Please be aware that costs may change. Tuition estimates are for in-district and Regional Partnership students.
Additional costs may include travel to clinical sites and campuses as well as the cost of meals. Clinical sites may include:
- St. Mary’s Hospital – Decatur, IL
- Decatur Memorial Hospital – Decatur, IL
- St. John’s Hospital – Springfield, IL
- Memorial Medical Center – Springfield, IL
- Central Illinois Surgery Center – Decatur, IL
- Decatur Health Care, LLC. – Decatur, IL
Surgical Technology Admission Criteria
Unlike many academic and career and technical education programs at Richland, admission into the Surgical Technology Program is selective. Admission to Richland Community College does not guarantee acceptance to the program.
Students must meet the minimum admission criteria to be eligible to apply. Please read below for description of prerequisites and admission criteria. Once the criteria have been met, students should submit their application by the priority deadline of March 1st to be considered for the fall class.
The Surgical Technology Degree program is a Regional Partnership with Heartland Community College and Lake Land College. In addition to serving Richland, the program also serves these colleges by reserving a limited number of seats for qualified students seeking admission. Applicants residing outside of the Richland or the Regional Partnership districts are considered for admission when space is available.
After the priority deadline, admission is ongoing until capacity is met in each region. If reserved seats among the Regional Partnership districts remain open in August, they are filled with overflow from Richland or other Regional Partnership districts.
Surgical Technology course credit may be earned by students who wish to transfer core courses from approved accredited programs in the United States. All admission and graduation requirements must be met and in order to graduate from the Surgical Technology program, transfer students must complete a minimum of two semesters of core surgical technology courses at Richland. Interested students must complete an Admission Information Form and a Surgical Technology Program Application for Transfer that is available in the Health Professions office.
Graduates of an accredited Surgical Technology Program who are currently employed and working as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) may be eligible to enroll in SURGT 290 Internship in Surgical Technology. Upon successful completion of SURGT 290 and all program courses, the student may apply for transfer credit based on certification and work experience and is awarded an Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology.
Eligibility to Apply
Please read below to determine if you are eligible to apply. Current or former students may also use the Pre-Advisement Plan on myRichland to review unmet prerequisites. Questions may be directed to an advisor in the Student Success Center or the Surgical Technology Program Director.
Prerequisites and Admission Criteria
The following describes the criteria applicants must meet in order to apply to the Surgical Technology Program:
- Meet eligibility requirements for admission to the college
- Have a minimum 2.5 Program GPA*
- Be eligible to enroll in a fall section of Microbiology** (if not already completed)
- Arrange a pre-admission interview with the Surgical Technology Program Director
- Obtain a combined score of 50% or above on the PSB-Health Occupations Aptitude Test***
*For admission, the Program GPA is calculated using the grades and credits earned in the completed Surgical Technology coursework. Courses include: BIOL 201, 202, 220, ENGL 101, HLTH 140, PSYCH 110, and elective (BIOL 101 may be used as the elective).
**Prospective students planning to complete Microbiology at Richland must meet the prerequisites of the course by completing BIOL 101 with a “C” or higher prior to the program’s first semester or by completing two years of high school biology with a “B” or better and one year of high school chemistry or physics with a “B” or better in the last three years. Prospective Regional Partnership district students planning to complete Microbiology at their district community college should verify with their respective college’s catalog to ensure they meet the course’s prerequisites.
***Permission to take the PSB-Health Occupations Aptitude Test is granted by the Program Director during the pre-admission interview.
Note: If students have completed BIOL 201, 202, or 220, the last one must be within the last five years.
The Surgical Technology Program follows the Health Profession selective admissions process. Students use the online Pre-Advisement Plan on myRichland to submit an application during the designated application period. Students must check their email to verify completion of the application. Students who cannot access the online pre-advisement plan should notify the Assistant to the Dean of Health Professions at 875.7211 ext. 6753.
Basis of Admission
Admission to the Surgical Technology Program is determined by successful completion of admission requirements and the Program GPA.
Students may be conditionally admitted until admission criteria are completed.
Notification of Conditional Admission
Shortly after the priority deadline of March 1, the Surgical Technology Program Director reviews all applications and determines who is admitted to the program. After the priority deadline, admission is ongoing until capacity is met in each region. If reserved seats among the Regional Partnership districts remain open in August, they are filled with overflow from Richland or other Regional Partnership districts.
Fifteen students are offered conditional admission to the Surgical Technology Program. All applicants are notified in writing of their admission status within four weeks after applying.
Admission is conditional. This means that students must meet certain criteria before registering for the first Surgical Technology course.
The criteria are as follows:
- Students must submit their acceptance letter by the stated deadline
- Students must have a “C” or better in all prerequisites and program courses and a 2.5 minimum Program GPA. All courses and the Program GPA are reassessed prior to beginning the Surgical Technology Program
- Students must schedule an admission interview with the Surgical Technology Director
- Students must have a physician complete the Health and Immunization Record Form and have updated immunizations, basic eye laser exam, and proof of CPR certification. The completed form should be submitted by the deadline
- Students must complete a drug screen
Students who don’t meet all of the above criteria forfeit their admission and the open position is filled from the alternate list.
After the first fifteen applicants are extended conditional admission, an alternate list of other qualified students is developed in the event that someone should cancel or not meet the conditional admission criteria. To remain eligible, students must continue to meet all admission requirements. Up to the day prior to the first Surgical Technology course, the alternates may be notified.
The Surgical Technology Program does not maintain a waitlist. If not admitted, students must reapply the following year.
Surgical Technology Requirements
All admitted students are required to undergo a fingerprint-based background check before beginning the clinical portion of the Surgical Technology Program. The background check is coordinated by the Health Professions Office during the program’s first semester. However, students are responsible for the cost of the procedure.
A student with a positive background check containing disqualifying convictions, as defined by state law, is not allowed to enter the clinical portion of this course until a waiver from the Illinois Department of Public Health is granted and documented on the Health Care Worker Registry. Students who may have concerns are encouraged to self-disclose to the Assistant to the Dean to begin the background check and waiver process prior to beginning the program.
Professional Integrity and Code of Ethics
Richland’s Surgical Technology Program holds its students to a high standard. The Association of Surgical Technologists Code of Ethics serves as the basis of Richland’s Surgical Technology Professional Integrity Policy and Code of Ethics.
Health and Safety Requirements
Students must be physically and mentally capable of lifting supplies and instrument trays, moving heavy equipment, and lifting and moving patients. Physical stamina is required to be able to stand for long periods of time, and the student must be able to work in a confined, stressful environment. The student must possess adequate visual, hearing, and verbal communication skills. Due to the physical constraints of the profession, students who are admitted to the program are required to submit a Student Health and Immunization Record form certifying these abilities. Additionally, students must have the ability to pay close attention to detail, be conscientious, orderly, and emotionally stable, and be willing to continue their education throughout their career to keep abreast of new developments in the field.
Affiliation agreements with our clinical partners require students to submit documentation of health and safety requirements. Failure to comply for any reason may result in withdrawal of offer of admission or dismissal from the program.
Under no circumstances are students to attend clinical without current immunizations, initial Mantoux TB, or current CPR. TB and CPR must be current from the first day of the semester through the last day of classes in the semester. Eye laser exams, completion/initiation of the hepatitis series, drug screens and background checks are required for the Surgical Technology Program. The student must submit a completed and physician-signed Health and Immunization Record Form.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
All admitted students submit to an initial drug screening as part of their conditional admission requirements. In addition, any of the clinical sites or faculty may require students to submit to random drug tests for cause.
Students are encouraged to obtain their own health insurance coverage. None is provided through the College.
The AAS in Surgical Technology is made up of 67-68 credit hours including general education and surgical technology core courses. Students from the Regional Partnership colleges have the option to complete the required general education coursework at their local college; however, all Surgical Technology core courses must be completed at Richland Community College. The Surgical Technology core courses provide classroom instruction, laboratory, and actual clinical experiences.
Listed below is a breakdown and description of the degree’s course requirements.
Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology
- General Education and Elective Credit Hours – 24-25 Credit Hours
- Surgical Technology Core Credit Hours – 43 Credit Hours
- Total Credit Hours – 67-68 Credit Hours
General Education Courses and Electives
For most students, BIOL 101 is a prerequisite to BIOL 220 (Microbiology). For these students, BIOL 101 applies to the degree as elective credit hours. However, if BIOL 101 is not required as a prerequisite to Microbiology, the student must substitute a 3-4 credit hour humanities elective. Please refer to the College Catalog for a list of eligible humanity courses.
- BIOL 101 Introduction to Biology(4) (or Humanities Elective(3) if BIOL 101 not required)
- BIOL 201 Human Anatomy and Physiology I (4)
- BIOL 202 Human Anatomy and Physiology II (4)
- BIOL 220 Microbiology (4)
- ENGL 101 Composition I (3)
- HLTH 140 Medical Terminology (3)
- PSYCH 110 Intro to Psychology (3)
Graduation and Certification Examination Requirements
- Earn a “C” or better in all prerequisite and program courses
- Maintain a minimum 2.5 Program GPA
- Complete all lab/clinical competencies at 100%
- Complete a minimum of 125 solo scrubs
- Meet standards of the Professional Integrity Policy
Upon successful completion of the program, students receive an Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology. Graduates are then eligible to apply and take the National Certifying Examination given by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). After successfully passing this examination, the graduate becomes a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).
Surgical Technology Frequently Asked Questions
I thought that only RN’s worked in the Scrub Role during a surgical procedure?
Surgical Technologists are allied health professionals, who are an integral part of the team of medical practitioners providing surgical care to patients. Surgical Technologists work under the supervision of a surgeon to facilitate the safe and effective conduct of invasive surgical procedures, ensuring that the operating room environment is safe, that equipment functions properly, and that the operative procedure is conducted under conditions that maximize patient safety. Surgical Technologists possess expertise in the theory and application of sterile and aseptic technique and combine the knowledge of human anatomy, surgical procedures, and implementation tools and technologies to facilitate a physician’s performance of invasive therapeutic and diagnostic procedures.
Surgical Technologists are individuals with specialized education who function as members of the surgical team in the role of scrub person. With additional education and training, some surgical technologists function in the role of surgical first assistant.
I took a lot of the prerequisite and general education courses at another college. Will I get credit for those courses?
Any official transcript received by Richland is evaluated for the specific program applied for within two weeks of receipt. Students may review the credit transferred in by going to myRichland and looking on the Unofficial Transcript (college) or Exam Record (high school).
What is the difference between the Cumulative GPA and the Program GPA?
The Cumulative GPA includes the grades and credits you’ve earned in all coursework attempted at Richland. The Program GPA is calculated using only the grades and credits you’ve earned in the general education and core courses applicable to the program-of-interest. Transfer and Richland credits are used in calculating the Program GPA. If a course has been repeated, the most recent grade is used in calculating the Program GPA, in accordance with the college policy. Although some course work can be completed in program, if a student has completed it prior to admission, it is calculated in the Program GPA. The Surgical Technology Program requires a minimum 2.5 Program GPA for admission, progression, and graduation.
Are applications for the Surgical Technology Program accepted after the deadline?
The priority deadline to apply to the Surgical Technology Program is March 1st. After the priority deadline, applications are accepted on a rolling basis until capacity is met in each region. If reserved seats in the Regional Partnership districts remain open in August, they are filled with overflow from Richland or other partner areas.
I’m an out-of-district student. What are the chances of being admitted?
Because the number of applicants varies each year, there is no way to determine if space is available. Please check with Student Services to see if you may be eligible for an out-of-district tuition waiver. If you work within the College district, you would be considered for admission with in-district students.
The Surgical Technology Program reserves a limited number of seats for qualified students from its Regional Partnership districts seeking admission. Students residing outside of the Richland or Regional Partnership districts will be considered for admission when space is available.