Clinical Privilege:
Scope of Practice for the Surgical Technologist

Background
A surgical technologist is an allied health professional who works as part of an OR team
providing surgical care to patients in a variety of settings. According to Job Description: Surgical Technologist, a statement approved by the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), the American College of Surgeons (ACS), Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA), and Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 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.”

The majority of surgical technologists work in hospital surgical suites, emergency rooms, and outpatient surgical centers. Some surgical technologists are privately employed by physicians or work as self-employed technologists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for surgical technologists continues to grow as the population ages and the necessity of surgical procedures continues to rise. A high school diploma or equivalent is a prerequisite to becoming a surgical technologist. Students then must complete a surgical technologist training program. Accredited programs vary from nine to 15 months for a diploma or certificate to two years for an associate’s degree. After completing training, surgical technologists can take the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) national examination offered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). To be eligible for testing, individuals must be graduates of a surgical technology program accredited by the CAAHEP or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or a current or previous CST.