Surgical Technology, AAS

The Flathead Valley Community College Surgical Technology Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree develops students’ 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), patient surgery preparation, and the physical conditions that make surgery necessary.

This program provides students with the knowledge and technical skills required to obtain entry-level employment in the surgical technology field. To achieve this goal, the curriculum prepares students in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains, while they study general and specialty surgical procedures, principles of anesthesia, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and surgical technology techniques. Additional coursework in general education assists graduates in growing professionally and developing the ability to assume leadership roles.

Upon completion of this program, students will have the attitude, knowledge, and skills necessary to enter the profession of surgical technology. The specific goals are as follows:

  • 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 with the role of 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 surgical technologists 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.


Required Courses

Pre-surgical Technology Courses

The prerequisite courses are to be completed before applying to the program but do not have to be taken in one semester.

Pre-surgical Technology Total: 27

Surgical Technology Curriculum

Spring Semester

First Semester Total: 14

Fall Semester

Second Semester Total: 16

Spring Semester

Third Semester Total: 13

Total Credits: 70

R Indicates Related Instruction requirement.

*Indicates prerequisite and/or corequisite needed. Check course description.

Admission Guidelines

  • Students must apply for select admission to the Surgical Technology program.Applications may be printed off of the FVCC Surgical Technology Program website, picked up in the Admissions Office in Blake Hall,or in the Surgical Technology Program Director's office, BC 123-A. Applicationsmust be returned no later than the first Friday in October.
  • It is recommended that studentstake -80 Career Essentials for Health Sciences.This online courseis 0-credit and should be taken during the fall semester prior to starting the program.
  • Once applicants have met all the program criteria, selected students will be interviewed by Surgical Technology faculty. Students will be informed of their admission statusby the second Friday in November.
  • Admission to the program is based upon the following:
  1. program application;

  2. a background check, drug screen and proof of medical health insurance at the student's expense;

  3. documentation of immunization;

  4. essay;

  5. two professional references;

  6. transcripts documenting that a minimum grade of "C" (2.0) was earned in each prerequisite class;

  7. completion of Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II and Lab within the last five years of admission date; and

  8. interview.

Program Information

  • Upon completion of the prerequisite courses, specific surgical technology (AHST) courses total three semesters. Surgical technology specific courses include both classroom (didactic) and hands-on training (clinical) intended to prepare students to assist in surgical operations.
  • Application deadline for the spring Surgical Technology Program is the first Friday in October. Late and incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Many students need preliminary math, biology, and English courses before being accepted into the required courses. These courses may increase the total number of program credits. Students should review their math, biology, and English placement scores before planning their full program schedules.
  • This program has been designed in accordance with the 6th Ed. Core Curriculum for Surgical Technology and functions within the current standards and guidelines set forth by the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC-STSA), sponsored by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
  • Only students who have attended CAAHEP and ABHES accredited program are eligible to take the national certification exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Passing the national examination qualifies the individual as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). The Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) recommends that all surgical technologists obtain this certification.
  • Students in the Surgical Technology program must earn a grade of "C" (2.0) or better in ALL classes in the program.
  • Students enrolled in any of the AHST coursesare required to maintain an 80% grade average in each AHST coursein order to progress through the program.
  • This is a demanding program. Graduates will have maintained high academic and professional standards.
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II completed five or more years ago will require program director's permission.
  • Additional Costs: Once accepted into the Surgical Technology program, students may incur costs associated with travel to various locations required for clinical rotations, one of which may be outside of the Flathead Valley. In addition, students will be assessed lab fees per semester which covers durable lab items, certification exam, prep exam, AST membership dues, and miscellaneous clinical/lab program fees.

Opportunities after Graduation

  • Employment of surgical technologists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Advances in medical technology have made surgery safer, and more operations are being done to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. Job prospects should be best for surgical technologists who have completed an accredited education program and hold a certification.

  • Most surgical technologists work full time. Surgical technologists employed in hospitals may work or be on call during nights, weekends, and holidays. They may also be required to work shifts lasting longer than 8 hours.

  • The largest employers of surgical technologists are as follows:
Hospitals: state, local, and private 72%
Outpatient care centers 11%
Offices of physicians 10%
Offices of dentists 3%

Advising Information:

For more information about this program, contact the FVCC Student Support Center or the Faculty Advisor.

Faculty Advisor Student Support Center Advisor
Robyn Hoggatt Russ Lamson
BC 123-A LRC 147C
(406) 756-4414 (406) 756-3885

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