While many states do not require surgical technologist certification for those working in operating rooms, obtaining certification is professionally valuable for job seekers and those already working in the profession. Certification can help surgical technologists to obtain jobs and to advance their careers. Technologists can gain certification from three nationally recognized agencies. These are the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), the National Center for Competency testing (NCCT) and the National Healthcare Association (NHA). The best certifying agency for you will depend on your background, your employer’s requirements, state or local requirements and personal preference. No matter which agency you choose, gaining and maintaining certification will show your employer and your colleagues that you are a true professional who takes pride in your work.
Surgical technologist certification through the NBSTSA allows you to use the tile of Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). In order to become a CST, you must first graduate from a military surgical technology training program or a program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. After graduation, you must submit an application to the NBSTSA and pass a certifying examination. You must renew your certification every four years by retaking and passing the certification examination or earning continuing education credits through the continuing education program of the Association of Surgical Technologists.
Technologists certified by the NCCT use the title Tech in Surgery – Certified (NCCT). In order to earn this certification, you must first be enrolled or have completed an approved surgical technology program, hold a military credential in surgical technology, have appropriate work experience or hold a medical credential such as an RN, MD or LVN. Once you meet one of these requirements, you can submit an application to the NCCT. Specific requirements for certification vary based on your previous experience, but all candidates must pass a certifying examination. In order to maintain your certification, you must complete 14 hours of continuing education each year.
You can obtain Certified Operating Room and Surgical Technician (CORST) certification from the NHA. This type of certification requires you to complete a surgical technology training program or to have a year or more of qualifying work experience. Qualified applicants should submit an application and schedule a time to take the certifying examination. After passing the examination and meeting all other application requirements you will earn CORST certification. In order to keep your certification current, you need to complete five continuing education credits per year or 10 credits every two years.