Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology

Degree Awarded: 
Associate of Applied Science Degree

Associate in Applied Science (AAS) programs are designed to provide preparation for entry level employment and are not intended for transfer. Certain courses in AAS degree programs may be accepted by a four year college or university for transfer credit in an associated field of study.

To learn more about the faculty and staff of the Surgical Technology Program, click here.
To see Jefferson College of Health Sciences Catalog, with the Surgical Technology section beginning on page 142, click here.

Did you see the profile of our Surgical technology program on WSLS-10, the NBC affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia? Click here to watch it on the WSLS website.

The Associate in Applied Science in Surgical Technology program prepares students to become an integral part of the team of medical practitioners providing surgical care to patients in a variety of settings. The Surgical Technology (ST) Program prepares competent entry-level surgical technologists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains. The ST program builds upon a strong foundation of general education courses. The program provides a balanced approach of theoretical and practical application in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings. The clinical environment allows the student to apply theory and practice in state-of-the-art surgical settings. The program provides students with the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviors necessary for entry-level employment as surgical technologists, acceptance as a professional, and career advancement.

Surgical technologists prepare the operating room by selecting and opening sterile supplies. Preoperative duties also include assembling, adjusting, and checking nonsterile equipment to ensure that it is in proper working order. Common duties include operating sterilizers, lights, suction machines, electrosurgical units, and diagnostic equipment.

When patients arrive in the surgical suite, surgical technologists assist in preparing them for surgery by providing physical and emotional support, checking charts, and observing vital signs. They have been educated to properly position the patient on the operating table, assist in connecting and applying surgical equipment and/or monitoring devices, and prepare the incision site. Surgical technologists have primary responsibility for maintaining the sterile field, being constantly vigilant that all members of the team adhere to aseptic technique.

They most often function as the sterile member of the surgical team who passes instruments, sutures, and sponges during surgery. After “scrubbing,” they don sterile gown and gloves and prepare the sterile setup for the appropriate procedure. After other members of the sterile team have scrubbed, they assist them with gowning and gloving and with the application of sterile drapes that isolate the operative site.

In order that surgery may proceed smoothly, surgical technologists anticipate the needs of surgeons, passing instruments and providing sterile items in an efficient manner. They share with the circulator the responsibility of accounting for sponges, needles, and instruments before, during, and after surgery.

Surgical technologists may hold retractors or instruments, sponge or suction the operative site, or cut suture materials as directed by the surgeon. They connect drains and tubing and receive and prepare specimens for subsequent pathologic analysis. They are responsible for preparing and applying sterile dressings following the procedure and may assist in the application of nonsterile dressings, including plaster or synthetic casting materials. After surgery, they prepare the operating room for the next patient.

Surgical technologists are most often members of the sterile team but may function in the nonsterile role of circulator. The circulator is not gowned and gloved during the surgical procedure but is available to respond to the needs of the anesthesia provider, keep a written account of the surgical procedure, and participate jointly with the scrubbed person in counting sponges, needles, and instruments before, during, and after surgery. In operating rooms where local anesthetics are administered, they meet the needs of the conscious patient.

Certified surgical technologists with additional specialized education or training also may act in the role of the surgical first assistant. The surgical first assistant provides aid in exposure, hemostasis, and other technical functions under the surgeon’s direction that will help the surgeon carry out a safe operation with optimal results for the patient.

Surgical technologists also may provide staffing in postoperative recovery rooms where patients’ responses are carefully monitored in the critical phases following general anesthesia.

Program Goals Intro: 

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to meet the program outcomes listed below.

Program Goals: 
  • Correlate the knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and microbiology to their role as a Surgical Technologist.
  • Demonstrate a safe and professional level of practice and knowledge in their role as a Surgical Technologist.
  • Acquire an understanding of the ethical, legal, moral, and medical values related to the patient and the surgical team during the perioperative experience.
  • Correlate the elements, action, and use of medications and anesthetic agents used during the perioperative experience.
  • Implement safe practice techniques in regard to perioperative routines, patient transportation, positioning, and emergency procedures.
  • Integrate principles of surgical asepsis as part of the perioperative experience.
  • Accurately apply knowledge and skills of a professional Surgical Technologist to address the biopsychosocial needs of the surgical patient.
  • Perform proficiently and competently as an entry-level Surgical Technologist in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains.
  • Exhibit accountability for continued personal and professional growth and a desire for life-long learning.

The Surgical Technology Program of Jefferson College of Health Sciences was awarded initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in November 2015. The initial accreditation extends until November 30, 2020.

Career Outlook: 

College credit earned while completing the program may be applicable/transferrable stepping stone credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Clinical experience gained during courses may lead to clinical job opportunities at a variety of healthcare facilities across the region, the state and the country. 

Click on a link to watch videos online about Careers in Surgical Technology.

Admission Requirements: 
  • Incoming undergraduate students must have completed a core of selected high school or college courses, and recent high school graduates (within the past three years; based upon date of entry) should provide SAT or ACT scores (SAT Code 5099, ACT Code 4367).
  • The following eight units of specific academic coursework are required for admission. A unit is defined as one year of high school study or one semester of college-level coursework. All core coursework must be completed with a grade of “C” or better. 
  • Core Courses:
    • English             4 units
    • Mathematics    2 units including Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 (or geometry)
    • Biology             1 unit (may substitute college-level anatomy & physiology)
    • Chemistry         1 unit (may substitute college-level anatomy & physiology)
  • For acceptance into the Surgical Technology Program all college-level science courses must be completed with a “C” or better and a cumulative college grade point average of 2.0 or better is required.
  • Click here for the general information on admissions requirements.
Other Information: 
Course Format — 4 Semesters

Surgical Technology courses are small, may be offered during evening and daytime hours, including clinical experiences in several large area hospital surgery departments.

Electives and prerequisite courses may be taken with students in other health care programs at Jefferson College or transferred credit for these classes may be accepted. Transferred college credit must be from a SACS accredited institution. After pre-requisite courses are completed, full-time students will take three to five courses per semester for a minimum of four semesters. Non ST courses may also be offered via distance education. 

Stepping Stones

College credit earned while completing the program may be applicable/transferrable stepping stone credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Clinical experience gained during courses may lead to clinical job opportunities at a variety of healthcare facilities across the region, the state and the country. 

Tuition Assistance
The Financial Aid Office at Jefferson College assists students in identifying all financial resources available to help you realize your educational and career goals. Financial aid is available through public and private funding for eligible students. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to discuss their financial needs with the Financial Aid Office by calling (540) 985-8267.
Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology Plan of Study

*Prerequisite Courses marked with an asterisk must be completed prior to the semester 1. With approval from advisor, other prerequisite courses may be taken later. Non SUR courses may be taken earlier than listed. SUR courses must be taken in the order presented.

  *All SUR courses must be completed at Jefferson College of Health Sciences