Surgical Technology

  • Credits: 60
  • Degree Type: A.A.S.
  • Campus: East Grand Forks

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.

Program Overview

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.


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.

Potential Job Titles

Start Your Career in Surgical Technology!

Get started today by talking to a Northland Admissions Representative about connecting your educational goals to a Surgical Technology career path.

Call Admissions at 1.800.959.6282 or Email Us.

Program Courses

View semester schedule by campus: East Grand Forks

Required Courses

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

Area of Interest Elective Course Options

For this particular pathway, NCTC recommends a student explore further coursework in the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum areas listed below. Need help? Schedule an appointment with a Northland Academic Advisor for assistance in selecting courses.

Course # Course Name Credits
G4: Math/Logical Reasoning Electives
MATH 1102 Contemporary Math 3
MATH 1110 College Algebra 3
G9: Ethical/Civic Responsibility Electives
PHIL 1102 Intro to Ethics 3
PHIL 2210 Morals and Medicine 3

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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 Accreditation

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

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).

Northland Accreditation »

Program Faculty

  • Ruth LeTexier
  • Surgical Technology Instructor / Director
  • Campus: East Grand Forks
  • Tel: (218) 793-2525
  • Toll Free: 1.800.959.6282

Why Choose Northland?

Northland offers a multitude of opportunities, whether you're beginning your degree or returning to college. We're affordable, convenient, and flexible. Northland Community & Technical College – it’s more than just a great education. It’s about making a career out of what you love to do. Thinking about a new career? Think Northland!

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