Surgical Technology

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The Surgical Technology program prepares students to assist the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and professional registered nurse as an integral member of the direct patient care team before, during, and after surgical intervention. The graduate practitioner will possess the knowledge base and technical skills to demonstrate the principles of sterile technique, demonstrate the invasive procedural steps necessary to correct anatomical pathology, prepare equipment, instruments, supplies, and sutures used for surgical procedures, assist the surgeon throughout the operative procedure, incorporate values and attitudes congruent with professional standards and ethics, and perform in the role of first scrub, second assistant, supervised circulator, and first assistant.

Graduates of the program are eligible to take the National Certifying Examination for Surgical Technologists to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). The exam is administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), the credentialing organization. The NBSTSA awards a certificate, after successful completion of the examination; the individual will be nationally certified.

Students will obtain clinical experience at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks ND, Sanford Hospital in Fargo ND and Fargo VA Healthcare System. Students are required to complete a minimum of 120 surgical cases during the clinical training for successful completion of the program, as approved by the ARC/STSA.

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Program Accreditation

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health EducationThe Surgical Technology program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in cooperation with the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA).

Program Accreditation

College Accreditation

Northland Community & Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Program Specific Requirements

Individuals who intend to apply to the program must:
1. Current CPR certification. CPR for Health Care Providers (American Heart Association) or CPR for Professional Rescuer (Red Cross) prior to the start of the fall semester of the second year of the Surgical Technology Program. Certification must be kept current for the duration of enrollment in this program.

2. Complete all required developmental and general education courses before beginning the final program semester.

3. Complete specific division health and immunization requirements and submit the documentation on the College Health Student Data form before the beginning of the final spring semester.

4. Completion of the College Health Screening & Immunization form before the beginning of the final spring semester.

5. Completion and approval for clinical participation of the Minnesota Department of Humans Services Licensing Division Background Study. Completion and approval for clinical participation of a National Background Study through Verified Credentials cost $50.

6. The program requires students to have current working knowledge of required sciences. Courses older than 5 years may not be accepted for transfer into the program: BIOL 2221, BIOL 2252, BIOL 2254, HLTH 1106, HLTH 2002, HLTH 2208.

7. SURT 1102 Intro to Surgical Tech is offered in an online format only. Check the Distance Education schedule when registering.

Acceptance into the program is based upon a minimum GPA of 2.0 or letter grade of C in all required courses, date of program application, and adherance to the criteria of the Surgical Technology program.


  • Health and Human Services students must comply with both Minnesota law and clinical facility requirements related to immunizations and background screenings.
  • Students who do not comply with the required health and immunization requirements may not be permitted to attend clinical which WILL affect program progression and completion.

Program Course Listings

Required Courses

Course # Course Name Credits
HLTH 1106 Medical Terminology 2 credits
HLTH 2002 Pharmacology 2 credits
HLTH 2208 Pathophysiology 3 credits
SURT 1102 Intro to Surgical Tech 2 credits
SURT 2204 Operating Room Theory 4 credits
SURT 2206 Operating Room Practices 5 credits
SURT 2212 Operative Procedures 5 credits
SURT 2216 Clinical I 6 credits
SURT 2220 Clinical II 7 credits
BIOL 2221 Microbiology 3 credits
BIOL 2252 Anatomy & Phys I 3 credits
BIOL 2254 Anatomy & Phys II 3 credits
ENGL 1111 Composition I 3 credits
PSYC 1105 Intro to Psychology 3 credits
PSYC 2201 Developmental Psychology 3 credits
  G4: Math/Logical Elective ( *See Elective Options Listed Below ) 3 credits
  G9: Ethic/Civic Resp Elec ( *See Elective Options Listed Below ) 3 credits
TOTAL CREDITS: 60 credits

Program Specific Elective Course Options


Electives for this program may be selected from the following list of courses below. Need help? Schedule an appointment with a Northland Academic Advisor for assistance in selecting courses.

Course # Course Name Credits

Math/Logical Reasoning Electives

MATH 1102Contemporary Math 3 credits
MATH 1110College Algebra 3 credits
Ethical/Civic Responsibility Electives
PHIL 1102Intro to Ethics 3 credits
PHIL 2210Morals and Medicine 3 credits

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Program Learner Outcomes

The goal of Northlandís Surgical Technology program is to prepare competent entry-level surgical technologists in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains.

The Outcomes
Upon completion of the Surgical Technology didactic and clinical components, the graduate will be able to:

1) Perform skills necessary to safely fulfill the role of the Surgical Technologist, including the application of infection control practices.
2) Demonstrate professional behaviors consistent with the profession and employer expectations utilizing ethical and legal considerations relevant to the role of the surgical technologist.
3) Evaluate information using problem-solving and critical thinking skills relevant to the surgical technologist position.
4) Demonstrate proficiency in the application of aseptic technique in all aspects of the surgical care of patients.
5) Demonstrate basic competence in the use of surgical instruments, supplies, and equipment used to provide patient care.
6) Integrate a comprehensive understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, medical terminology and microbiology when assisting with surgical procedures.
7) Communicate effectively with patients, physicians, and colleagues based upon respect for the dignity and worth of each person.
8) Exhibit behaviors conducive to effective teamwork.

Employment Outlook & Opportunities

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Job Openings

Counselors are available in the Career Center to assist with career advising, job search resources, employer connections, occupational descriptions, employment outlook, earnings, education/training requirements and sources.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012), employment for surgical technologists is expected to grow by 19% through 2020. The number of surgical procedures is expected to grow as the population ages.

Hospitals will continue as the primary employer of surgical technologists, although much faster employment growth is expected in offices and clinics of physicians, including ambulatory surgical centers.

Surgical technologists held about 71,000 jobs in 2000. Almost three-quarters are employed by hospitals. Others are employed in clinics and surgical centers, and in the offices of physicians and dentists who perform outpatient surgery. A few, known as private scrubs, are employed by surgeons who have special surgical teams, such as those for organ transplantation.

Technologists advance by specializing in a particular area of surgery, such as neurosurgery or open heart surgery. They also may work as circulating technologists, the "unsterile" members of the surgical team who prepare patients, assist with anesthesia, obtain and open packages for "sterile" persons to remove the contents during procedures. They may also interview patients before surgery, keep a written account of the surgical procedure, and answer the surgeon's questions about the patient during surgery.

With additional training, some technologists advance to first assistants, who help with retracting, sponging, suturing, cauterizing bleeders, and closing and treating wounds. Some surgical technologists manage central supply departments in hospitals, or take positions with insurance companies, sterile supply services, and surgical equipment firms.

The employment outlook for surgical technologists in the state of Minnesota from 2010 to 2020 is 21.1%, a very high growth career.

Program Faculty

East Grand Forks Campus

  • Ruth LeTexier
  • Surgical Technology Instructor / Director
  • (218) 793-2525