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Application Deadline: October 7, 2016

Surgical Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

The Flathead Valley Community College Surgical Technology Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree is a 70-credit program designed to develop skills in all phases of operating room procedures and techniques, including clinical experience in the operating room. Graduates of the program are ready to begin their career in the field as entry level Surgical Technologists.

In addition to operating room techniques, surgical procedures, surgical instruments and equipment; students study surgical microbiology, surgical pharmacology, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, asepsis (sterile technique), preparation of the patient for surgery and the physical conditions that make it necessary for a person to have surgery.

A new class of Surgical Technology students begins each year in January.

Why Surgical Technology?

As a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST), you will be directly involved in the outcome of a patients’ medical recovery. You will assist in the operating room by preparing instruments and supplies, passing them to the surgeon, anticipating and meeting the surgeon’s needs and ensuring patient safety throughout the procedure. When the stakes are high and the job is stressful, you realize that you are making a difference in each patient’s life and it is all worth the effort. The CST enables lives to be saved and witnesses momentous changes in patients’ health every day.

What You Will Learn to Do

  • Sterilize, disinfect, and pass surgical instruments
  • Understand surgical procedures and anticipate the needs of the surgeon
  • Ensure quality patient care during the operative procedure
  • Set up sterile table with instruments, supplies, equipment, and medications/solutions prior to operation
  • Gown and glove surgeon and assistants
  • Prepare sterile dressings and help drape a sterile field
  • Vigilantly maintain a sterile field during surgery
  • Count supplies prior to surgery and before incision is closed
  • Assist other team members with terminal cleaning of room
  • Help prepare surgical room for next patient

Instruction is provided in a classroom and lab setting, as well as clinical rotations at area hospitals and surgery centers.   Due to the requirements of the clinical component of the program, and our clinical affiliations, enrollment is limited to 8 students each year.

Rob Blackston, BS, CST, CSFA
Program Director for Surgical Technology
BC 126-A
For general information, contact the Admissions office: (406) 756-3847.
Program Accreditation
The Surgical Technology Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Accreditation. Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA) (arcstsa.org).

CAAHEP (caahep.org)
1361 Park Street, Clearwater, Florida, 33756
(727) 210‐2350

ARC/STSA (arcstsa.org)
6 West Dry Creek Circle, Suite #110, Littleton, Colorado, 80120
(303) 694-9262
Graduate Outcomes
The following is our six-year trend on certification exams from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) for graduates taking the exam the first time:

2015: 100% pass rate
2014: 100% pass rate
2013: 100% pass rate
2012: 100% pass rate
2011: 100% pass rate
2010: 100% pass rate
The Surgical Technology Profession
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.

Successful surgical techs enjoy a fast-paced environment, work quickly under pressure, and have excellent communication skills. They are good at anticipating the needs of the medical team and the patient. Potential areas of specialization include:

  • Orthopedics

  • General Surgery

  • Gynecology

  • Urology

  • ENT

  • daVinci Robot

  • Neurosurgery

  • Cardiothoracic Surgery

  • Endovascular

  • Ophthalmic

  • Podiatric

  • Plastic and Reconstructive

Surgical technologists help prepare operating rooms for surgery by setting up surgical instruments, surgical equipment, sterile drapes, as well as preparing and passing medications. During surgery, they provide direct patient care by working as members of the sterile team.  Surgical Technologists are responsible for maintaining the sterile field during the surgical procedures, passing instruments and assisting the surgeon with the procedure.

Job Outlook

Surgical technologists are in demand. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster-than-average employment growth (employment increase of 15% or more) over the period 2014-2024.


More information can be found by visiting The Association of Surgical Technologists website. The AST is the only national organization that represents more than 80,000 surgical technologists.

Program Goals and Objectives

Program Goals

The associate’s degree program in Surgical Technology is designed to provide students with the knowledge and technical skills required to obtain entry-level employment in the field of Surgical Technology. To achieve this goal, the curriculum prepares students in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains, while studying areas in general and specialty surgical procedures, principles of anesthesia, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and surgical technology techniques. Additional course work in general education assists the graduates in growing professionally and in developing the ability to assume leadership roles.

Learning Objectives

Upon program completion, the graduate will be able to:

  • Consistently demonstrate the necessary training to assume responsibilities in the operating room, including aseptic technique, instrument setup, assisting the surgeon, anticipating the surgeon’s needs, and assisting with post-operative care.

  • Correlate the knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and microbiology to their role as a Surgical Technologist.

  • Implement safe practice techniques in regards to perioperative routines, patient transportation, positioning, and emergency procedures.

  • Integrate principles of surgical asepsis as part of the perioperative experience.

  • Apply knowledge, skills, and demonstrate ability to perform as a surgical technologist in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains.

  • Provide to the community professional, competent, and knowledgeable individuals who can provide surgeons and the surgical team quality assistance as a Surgical Technologist utilizing ethical standards and integrity.

  • Display professionalism, be prepared to be a lifelong learner, and value the professional attributes of the Surgical Technologist.

  • Possess the necessary didactic and clinical skills needed to pass the certification exam and enter into the job arena as a competent entry-level Surgical Technologist