Becoming a surgical technologist is a career that requires education, training, and certification. Surgical technologists perform various duties under the direction of surgeons and anesthesiologists in hospital operating rooms. They must be able to work well with others in a high stress environment and have excellent observational skills. They must be able to notice activation and warning signals on equipment as well as track supplies, verbally verify the count of medications with the perioperative nurse, and anticipate surgeons’ needs.

To start a career as a scrub technician, students should apply to a local school that offers a surgical technology program. Typically, these programs take between 12 and 24 months to complete. Surgical technology programs can be found at community colleges, vocational schools, and some universities. Aside from classroom learning, most programs include clinical experience that can be obtained through externships and internships.

Upon graduating from an accredited surgical technology program, students are eligible to seek national certification. The Certified Surgical Technician (CST) exam is administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). While most states do not require registration or licensure, becoming certified may improve job opportunities and demonstrate your commitment to the industry.