In order to become a Certified Surgical Technician, one must successfully complete a certification exam. Students may sit for the exam at one of two agencies that offer certification: the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) and the National Center for Competency Testing. Not just anyone can sign up to take the Surgical Technician Exam, however.
One must first complete an appropriate training program from an accredited school. The school must have accreditation either from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Students should keep this in mind when choosing a school to prepare for the Surgical Technician Exam.
Details of the Surgical Technician Exam
If a Certified Surgical Technologist student wishes to succeed on the Surgical Technician Exam, preparation is in order. Here are some basic facts about the exam itself:
- Members of the Association of Surgical Technologists, or AST, will pay a total fee of $190 including processing fees. Non-AST members will pay $290.
- The exam contains 200 questions. 175 of those are scored, while 25 random questions are used solely for statistical purposes. There is no way to know which questions are scored and which are not.
- In order to pass the Surgical Technician Exam, students must correctly answer a minimum of 119 of the scored questions.
- All of the questions are in multiple-choice format with four answer options. There is no practical application (hands-on) sections of the Surgical Technician Exam. All questions are written.
- Certified Surgical Technologists are allowed 4 hours to complete the Surgical Technician Exam.
- An 8 member committee including 5 currently practicing Certified Surgical Technologists, 2 surgical technology teachers, and 1 practicing, board-certified surgeon are responsible for assessing and scoring all CST Surgical Technician Exams.
Surgical Technician Exam Questions
The NBSTSA website offers Certified Surgical Technologists an opportunity to take a practice exam online that is in the same format as the actual exam. There is a $40 fee to take the practice Surgical Technician Exam. This will give students the opportunity to assess their readiness as well as prepare them for the format and types of questions they might expect. Here are some examples:
- Which cells of the body secrete Pepsinogen?
- Squamous cells
- Chief cells
- Parietal cells
- Beta cells
- Following cataract surgery, which laser should be used to vaporize a section of the residual lens capsule?
- Compression of which never causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
- For what purpose would one select atropine as a preoperative drug?
- Drying of secretions
- Pain relief
- Decreased anxiety
- The Latin term “hernia” means:
The correct answer to all of the above questions is B. Of course, the actual Surgical Technician Exam will contain much more variety, but these questions are excellent examples of the types of questions one must successfully answer in order to become a Certified Surgical Technologist.