Surgical Technology Program Frequently Asked Questions

What does a Surgical Technologist do?

Surgical Technologists are allied healthcare professionals that make sure the operating room is ready for surgical procedures and ensure all equipment and instruments are ready for surgery. They are responsible for preparing the sterile field, handing instruments, and retracting tissue during the operation, as well as, counting surgical instruments and supplies.  They provide patient care before, during, and after the procedure. 

In addition to the responsibilities in the operating room, surgical technologists can also be employed in sterile processing departments.  Surgical Technologists care for instrumentation by cleaning and reprocessing instrumentation for the sterilization process.

What roles will I learn in this program?

Students will learn the role of first scrub, second scrub, and assistant circulator.  While participating in clinical practice, students are always supported by an on-site clinical instructor and experienced clinical preceptors.

As the first scrub, students learn a multitude of surgical procedures.  Students will learn the anatomy and pathophysiology associated with each procedure.  They will learn each surgery's steps, supplies, and instruments needed.  Students participate in skills lab simulations and mock surgery procedures to prepare them for clinical practice.

During clinical practice, students will participate as the first scrub in over 100 surgical procedures in a variety of specialties.  As the first scrub students will prepare the sterile field, hand instruments during surgery, and perform surgical counts of instruments and supplies.

As second scrub students will retract tissue and maintain the sterility of the surgical environment.

In the assistant circulator role, students will learn patient care during a multitude of procedures.  They will learn how to prepare the operating room for each surgical procedure.  They will learn how to properly position the patient and prepare the patient’s skin for surgical procedures. Students will also learn how to take a patient’s vital signs and other patient care responsibilities such as urinary catheter insertion.

What are the class sizes?

Each class has a maximum of 10 students.  The program has a 5:1 student: instructor ratio.

Where do Surg Tech clinicals take place?

Clinical practice takes place at Reading Hospital which is within walking distance of our school campus.

What specialties will I participate in during clinical?

Over 900 hours of clinical experience in general, gynecologic, genitourinary, plastic, oral, maxillofacial, peripheral vascular, thoracic, open heart, robotic, neurology, orthopedic, labor & delivery, and endoscopy surgery and procedures.

Is the program accredited?

Yes!  Our Surgical Technology program has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Healthcare Professionals (CAAHEP) since 1997. 

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences Surgical Technology Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (www.arcstsa.org).

CAAHEP is located at 9355 113th St. N, #7709, Seminole, FL 33775. Phone: 727-210-2350, Fax: 727-210-2354

After completion of the program will I be eligible to sit for the National Certification Exam?

Yes!  Because Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences (RHSHS) Surgical Technology program is accredited by CAAHEP graduates are eligible to sit for the National Certification Exam.

RHSHS is an approved testing center.  Students sit for the exam right here on campus!

What is the Program’s Mission?

Graduates will meet the diverse needs of the communities they serve with competence and compassion through the application of ethical standards, interprofessional collaboration, and active professional engagement.

What are the Program Goals?

The goal of the Surgical Technology program is to prepare competent entry-level surgical technologists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.

  1. Synthesize knowledge and skills essential to the successful practice of surgical technology.
  2. Utilize the problem-solving process effectively.
  3. Practice competently as an entry-level Surgical Technologist.
  4. Communicate effectively with all communities of interest.  
  5. Practice surgical technology ethically and compassionately.
  6. Model ongoing professional growth and development.

What is the length of the program?

The program is 20 consecutive months, with new admission classes beginning each August. 

The program is offered on a full-time basis and instruction takes place between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

What is dual enrollment?

Dual enrollment means that students are simultaneously enrolled at Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences (RHSHS) and Alvernia University. 

Students have access to the services and facilities at both schools, but all classes take place at RHSHS.  Upon completion of the program, students earn an Associate Degree in Science from Alvernia University and a Diploma in Surgical Technology from RHSHS.

What are the admissions requirements?

Students seeking admission to the program will meet the following requirements:

  1. A citizen of the United States or provide documentation of permanent residency or working status.
  2. A high school diploma or state-authorized examination (e.g., General Educational Development Certificate (GED), High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), and the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC)).
    • Home-schooled students must have a diploma from an accredited home school association or have met requirements for the GED or other state-authorized examination. The school does not admit applicants based on the ability-to-benefit testing process.
  3. Having a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or greater in high school or post-secondary coursework is required for all applicants and candidates for enrollment.
    • The most recent GPA will be used in the admission decision.
  4. Have high school course work that includes a minimum of 16 units with an earned grade of “C” or better in the subjects listed below:
    • 4 units of English
    • 3 units of Social Studies
    • 3 units of Mathematics including Algebra I
    • 3 units of Science including Biology
  5. Additional considerations
    • In addition to the minimum requirements, candidates who demonstrate "above average" educational potential will be considered for preferred admission based on a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
    • These candidates have earned a "B" or better in college-level coursework in Mathematics, Biology, and English or Communications.

 What do I need to submit to qualify for an interview?

  1. Submit an application to the Surgical Technology program.
  2. Submit all transcripts.
    • High School or GED
    • All secondary transcripts
    • To submit transcripts, please contact your school. They will guide you through the steps to submit a copy to Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences.
  3. Submit two reference forms.
    • References should be from a teacher, guidance counselor, employer, or supervisor.
    • Healthcare professionals must submit one reference from the current or most recent healthcare employer.
    • The following link can be sent to your references to be completed on your behalf:

What is the projected job growth of the career and where can I work after graduation?

Bls.gov predicts a 7% job growth.  Employment opportunities include a hospital operating room, a surgery center, and a veterinary hospital.  There are also opportunities to follow pathways to management, administration, sales, and education.  After gaining experience in the field surgical technologists can explore travel opportunities!

The program has built-in resume writing instruction and mock interviews to prepare students for the interview process.