Top Accredited Surgical Technician Programs in New Jersey – Your Path to a Medical Career

Looking to launch a career as a surgical technician? The right program in New Jersey is key. This guide details the accredited surgical technician programs in New Jersey, touches on what to expect regarding timeline and structure, and lays out the path to securing your certification. Get ready to take the next step in your medical career journey.

Key Takeaways

  • New Jersey offers accredited surgical technology programs that equip students with the skills necessary for handling surgical instruments and maintaining sterile environments, which is foundational for becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).
  • To maintain CST certification, surgical technologists must partake in continuing education and recertification every two years, a requirement that underscores the fast-evolving nature of the healthcare industry.
  • Surgical technologists play critical roles in various stages of surgery including preoperative preparation, assistance during surgery, and postoperative processes, with proficiency and teamwork being vital to their success and adaptability in the operating room.

Exploring Surgical Technician Programs in New Jersey

Surgical instruments used in surgical technician programs in New Jersey

New Jersey, with its rich tapestry of educational institutions, offers various surgical technology programs, serving as an incubator for the careers of many aspiring surgical technologists. These programs provide the necessary education and training to navigate the intricate landscape of surgical procedures, equipping students with the skills to handle surgical instruments and maintain a sterile surgical environment.

Accredited Programs

Choosing an accredited surgical technology program is a key part of the journey to becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). Accreditation by recognized bodies like CAAHEP or ABHES ensures the program meets the stringent standards of the industry, providing the foundation for a successful career.

Institutions in New Jersey, such as health education schools:

  • Medical Career Institute
  • Berkeley College
  • Bergen Community College
  • Eastwick College

Our allied health education programs offer a surgical technology associate degree, carrying this prestigious accreditation.

Medical Career Institute

The Medical Career Institute (MCI) offers a comprehensive Surgical Technology Certificate Program, designed to train students to become integral members of the surgical team. This program combines theoretical education with practical, hands-on training in simulated and real-world surgical environments.

  • Program Overview:
    • The program is a certificate course consisting of 81.5 quarter credits, spanning 55 weeks and 1300 clock hours.
    • Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
    • Students are trained to work closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and other surgical personnel.
  • Curriculum:
    • Combines on-campus lectures and demonstrations with on-campus work-simulated operating room laboratory practice.
    • The Off-campus Clinical Externship module provides supervised hands-on training at hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, and endoscopy/colonoscopy clinics.
    • Core subjects include medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, math, law, ethics, patient care concepts, pharmacology, microbiology, and surgical procedures.
  • Program Objectives:
    • Teach essential courses in surgical technology, covering various aspects from patient care to surgical procedures.
    • Provide clinical activities and hands-on training within on-campus laboratories and off-campus externship sites.
    • Prepare students to establish eligibility for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credentialing exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

The Surgical Technology Certificate Program at the Medical Career Institute offers a thorough educational and practical training pathway. Accredited and comprehensive, the program prepares students for certification and successful careers as surgical technologists, with ample opportunities for hands-on experience in real-world clinical settings.

Berkeley College

Berkeley College offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Surgical Technology. This program prepares students to become valuable members of a surgical team, providing the necessary education and hands-on training to excel in surgical procedures.

  • Program Overview:
    • The Surgical Technology program prepares students to assist in surgical procedures under the supervision of surgeons, anesthesiologists, and registered nurses.
    • Students learn to prepare operating rooms, assist during surgeries, maintain sterile fields, and monitor operating room conditions.
  • Curriculum:
    • Provides a strong foundation in the theory and techniques of surgical technology.
    • Hands-on learning in on-site surgical laboratories that simulate the surgical environment.
    • Clinical practicums at off-campus healthcare facilities under professional supervision.
    • Liberal arts and sciences courses to enhance reasoning and communication skills.
  • Locations Offered:
    • The program is only offered at the Woodland Park campus.
    • Individuals with the CST credential can obtain an Associate degree through Berkeley College Online®.
  • Admissions Requirements:
    • Graduation from high school or equivalent.
    • Entrance exam or SAT/ACT scores.
    • A personal interview is recommended.
    • Additional requirements for some health studies programs.
  • Application Process:
    • Rolling admissions policy encourages early application.
    • Specific application deadlines for certain programs.

Berkeley College’s Surgical Technology program offers a comprehensive education and training pathway for aspiring surgical technologists. With a focus on hands-on learning and clinical experience, the program equips students with the skills necessary to assist in surgical procedures and pursue certification, enhancing their career opportunities in the healthcare industry

Bergen Community College

Bergen Community College offers a well-rounded Surgical Technology Certificate Program designed to train students for careers as surgical technologists. This program is notable for being the only community college program in New Jersey and the first in the state to be nationally accredited.

  • Mission:
    • To train students for careers in surgical technology through an advanced certificate program.
    • The program aims to provide students with hands-on practice and real-life situations to better prepare them for clinical externships and careers in surgical technology.
  • Program Overview:
    • Students learn in a state-of-the-art environment that includes a three-room suite with a classroom, a fully equipped mock operating room, and a sterilization/prep room.
    • The program prepares students to enter the field as certified surgical technologists, providing them with the necessary knowledge and skills.
  • Career Paths:
    • The curriculum is designed to help students become certified surgical technologists.
    • Students are prepared to take the surgical technology licensure exam upon completion of the program.
    • Graduates are highly sought after by major hospitals throughout New Jersey and the eastern seaboard.
  • Transfer Opportunities:
    • Students may consider transferring to other allied health and science majors.
    • Bergen Community College provides resources and advising for students looking to transfer to four-year institutions.
    • The NJ Transfer website offers tools for students planning to transfer to institutions in New Jersey.

Bergen Community College’s Surgical Technology program provides a comprehensive education and hands-on training environment, ensuring students are well-prepared for certification and successful careers as surgical technologists. The program’s state-of-the-art facilities and strong industry connections make it a highly desirable choice for students pursuing this field.

Eastwick College

Eastwick College offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Surgical Technology, preparing students for a successful career in the healthcare field. The program provides comprehensive training in a simulated surgical operating room setting and offers multiple career opportunities upon graduation.

  • Program Overview:
    • The program prepares students to become key members of healthcare teams, assisting with life-saving procedures.
    • Students learn to set up sterile operating areas and provide optimal patient care before, during, and after surgery.
    • The curriculum includes the essentials of healthcare, surgical instrumentation, anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and pharmacology.
  • Program Features:
    • Duration:
      • 18 months for day classes
      • 27 months for evening classes
    • Location: Ramsey campus
    • Certification:
      • The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
      • Graduates are eligible to sit for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).
      • The pass rate for the 2022 cohort was 75%.

Eastwick College’s Surgical Technology program offers an intensive and comprehensive training pathway, combining theoretical knowledge with practical experience in a simulated surgical environment. Accredited and designed to prepare students for certification, the program equips graduates with the skills and credentials needed to pursue various career opportunities in the healthcare industry.

Program Duration and Types

New Jersey’s variety of surgical technology programs differ in duration and format. For instance, AIMS Education’s Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology can be completed in roughly 20 months or 5 semesters. Factors like duration, cost, and program format, which can vary by institution, should be taken into account.

Becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist

Certified Surgical Technologist CST exam preparation

Becoming a certified surgical technologist involves reaching a series of important milestones. Here are the steps to becoming a certified surgical technologist:

  1. Complete an accredited program in surgical technology.
  2. Qualify to take the CST exam.
  3. Pass the CST exam, which assesses a candidate’s knowledge and skills in surgical technology.
  4. Open the doors to employment opportunities in the field.

However, the journey doesn’t end there. Certified surgical technologists must maintain their certification through continuing education and recertification, ensuring they stay up-to-date with the dynamic nature of the healthcare industry.

National Credentialing Exam

The CST exam acts as a measure of a candidate’s proficiency in surgical technology. The exam’s content mirrors the tasks performed by surgical technologists nationwide and is regularly updated to align with contemporary practices. With 175 scored questions, the exam is comprehensive, assessing a wide range of skills pertinent to the role of a surgical technologist.

The NBSTSA provides reasonable accommodations for the CST exam, which is a national credentialing exam administered, to individuals with documented disabilities, ensuring that all candidates are given a fair chance to prove their mastery of surgical technology.

Continuing Education and Recertification

The healthcare field is continually evolving, making it necessary for professionals such as surgical technologists to stay updated on changes. To maintain their CST credentials, Certified Surgical Technologists must earn continuing education (CE) credits and undergo recertification every two years. The process involves submitting earned CE credits to the Association of Surgical Technologists and a Certification Renewal Application to the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.

Continuing education and recertification serve as tools for surgical technologists to keep their skills sharp and stay updated with the latest advancements in healthcare practices and technologies.

Surgical Technologist Roles and Responsibilities

Surgical technologist performing preoperative duties in an operating room

Unsung heroes of the operating room, surgical technologists, play a vital role in the success of surgical procedures. They operate under the guidance of surgeons, registered nurses, and other members of the surgical team, providing critical support throughout the surgical process. Their responsibilities span preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative duties, each requiring a unique set of skills and focus.

Beyond these standard duties, surgical technologists can explore alternative roles, broadening their scope and impact within the healthcare system.

Preoperative Duties

Before the first cut is made, surgical technologists play a pivotal role in preparing the operating room for the surgical procedure. They:

  • Ensure a sterile environment
  • Gather and open the necessary supplies and equipment
  • Set up the sterile back table with the required instruments and medications
  • Assist the surgical team with gowning and gloving
  • Drape the patient to establish the sterile field
  • Verify the correct surgical site and patient

This meticulous preparation sets the stage for a smooth and efficient surgical procedure.

Intraoperative Duties

Once the surgery commences, the surgical technologist’s role becomes more dynamic and intense. They:

  • Hand instruments and supplies to surgeons
  • Assist in applying electrocautery to clamps on bleeders
  • Pass off specimens as appropriate
  • Anticipate the needs of the surgeon
  • Prepare additional instrumentation
  • Operate sterilizers, lights, and diagnostic equipment

Their ability to adapt quickly to rapid changes and unexpected challenges is crucial in ensuring patient safety and the smooth continuation of procedures.

Postoperative Duties

The role of a surgical technologist includes:

  • Cleaning the operating room
  • Preparing instruments for sterilization
  • Assisting with patient recovery
  • Counting sponges, needles, and instruments to ensure patient safety

Ultimately, their postoperative duties contribute significantly to a successful surgical outcome and a smooth transition for patients into recovery.

Skills and Traits of Successful Surgical Technologists

Teamwork in the operating room for successful surgical procedures

Successful surgical technologists possess the following qualities:

  • Technical prowess
  • Effective communication skills
  • Adaptability
  • Strong grasp of human anatomy and medical terminology
  • Ability to manage stress effectively
  • Ability to execute duties quickly and accurately

Moreover, their interpersonal skills enable them to work cohesively with other surgical personnel and healthcare professionals during surgical procedures.

Technical Skills

Technical skills form the core of a surgical technologist’s toolkit. Exceptional hand-eye coordination and dexterity are needed for tasks like suturing and accurately passing instruments during surgical procedures. Technical proficiency with medical equipment is also a requirement, as surgical technologists often operate diagnostic tools, imaging devices, and robotic systems.

The ability to perform a surgical scrub and don a gown and gloves are key skills that ensure the maintenance of a sterile field.

Communication and Teamwork

Effective communication and teamwork are paramount in the high-pressure environment of the operating room. Surgical technologists must work seamlessly with surgeons, nurses, and other team members, ensuring that operations proceed smoothly. Their strong teamwork skills contribute significantly to the success of the surgical team.

Adaptability and Problem-Solving

In the dynamic and high-stress environment of the operating room, adaptability and problem-solving skills are crucial. Surgical technologists must be able to quickly adapt to rapid changes and unexpected challenges during surgeries to ensure patient safety. Their problem-solving skills are vital for managing equipment issues, procedural changes, and other intraoperative events that could potentially lead to complications or errors.

Employment Opportunities for Surgical Technologists

Employment opportunities for surgical technologists in hospitals and surgical centers

The healthcare industry provides numerous job opportunities for surgical technologists. Most find employment in hospitals, while others work in outpatient care centers or physicians’ offices where outpatient surgeries are conducted.

New Jersey is a vibrant hub for healthcare, providing a range of settings for surgical technologists to practice their skills.

Hospitals and Surgical Centers

Hospitals and surgical centers are primary employers of surgical technologists, offering a variety of roles and opportunities for professional development. Institutions such as Cooper University Health Care and RWJBarnabas Health in New Jersey offer competitive rates and comprehensive benefits for surgical technologists, providing avenues for career advancement.

Outpatient Care Centers and Physician Offices

Outpatient care centers and physician offices provide additional settings for surgical technologists to practice their skills. These roles often involve critical support activities and clerical/administrative functions under the supervision of registered nurses.

Institutions like RWJBarnabas Health offer a range of full-time and per diem roles in these settings.

Other Career Paths

The skills and experience of surgical technologists are not just limited to the operating room. They can leverage their expertise in other areas of the healthcare industry, such as education and sales.

Experienced surgical technologists can transition into educational roles, teaching, and training new students in accredited surgical technology programs, while others can enter the field of medical sales, using their experience to effectively represent and sell surgical products.

Campus Visits and Program Selection

Selecting the appropriate surgical technology program is a fundamental stage in one’s career progression. This involves not only evaluating the programs based on accreditation, duration, and format but also visiting campuses to gain a firsthand look at the program environment and offerings. Campus visits allow prospective students to meet with admissions specialists and gather detailed information about the programs and enrollment process.

Evaluating Programs

The selection of a surgical technology program is not solely dependent on its accreditation. Potential students should evaluate the objectives of the program, the qualifications of the faculty, and the breadth of clinical rotation experience provided.

The availability of modern facilities and current surgical equipment, along with access to ample resources, should also be factored in when making a decision.

Campus Tours

Campus tours provide an invaluable opportunity for prospective students to experience the program’s environment firsthand. By visiting campuses, students can better understand the mission and goals of the surgical technology program, ensuring that these align with their career objectives.

These tours also provide an opportunity to meet with admissions specialists, allowing prospective students to gather detailed information about the programs and the enrollment process.


In conclusion, becoming a successful surgical technologist involves more than just acquiring technical skills. It requires a dedication to lifelong learning, adaptability to rapidly changing environments, and effective teamwork. New Jersey offers a wealth of accredited surgical technology programs, providing a solid foundation for aspiring surgical technologists. Whether in hospitals, surgical centers, or outpatient care facilities, the demand for skilled surgical technologists is high. So, if you are considering a career in the healthcare industry, becoming a surgical technologist might just be the path for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best major for a surgical tech?

The best major for a surgical tech is a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, exercise science, nursing, pre-health, or a related health-related field to enter a master’s program in surgical technology. A degree in medical technician is also a common choice for this career path, with nursing and business being other options.

What is the highest-paid surgical tech?

The highest-paid surgical techs can earn between $66,590 and $73,960 per year, with specialties such as surgical neurophysiologist and cardiovascular surgical tech being among the highest-paying options. These professionals work in various industries, including medical and diagnostic labs, home healthcare, and specialty hospitals.

What is the importance of an accredited surgical technology program?

It is important to enroll in an accredited surgical technology program as it ensures the program meets industry standards, providing a strong foundation for a successful career and making students eligible to take the CST exam.

What are the roles of a surgical technologist during a surgical procedure?

Surgical technologists are vital in preparing the operating room, assisting the surgeon during the procedure, and cleaning up afterward. Their roles are crucial for the seamless flow of a surgical procedure.

What skills are required for a successful surgical technologist?

A successful surgical technologist requires a combination of technical skills, effective communication and teamwork abilities, and adaptability and problem-solving skills to excel in the field.