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Surgical Tech Certification Exam

After months of studying and working in an actual hospital, you’ve almost completed your surgical technology training program. All that’s left now is to pass the certification exam so you can be certified and use the credential Certified Surgical Technician (CST). Students with degrees in surgical technology stand a better chance of being hired if they’re certified. What does this involve and what is required? Get the answers below.

What are the Necessary Steps for Taking the Exam?


Before students can take the exam, they must complete their training programs. You must submit an application to take the exam along with the required fee. Once the application is approved, you’ll receive an Authorization to Test number and the necessary information so you can contact the testing agency and schedule the exam.

Depending on which eligibility requirements you meet, you will be required to provide certain documentation such as transcripts and notarized letters from the school you attended attesting to the fact that you graduated. All that’s left then is to take and pass the exam. You will need to show proof of identification to take the test.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the Certification Exam?

Before you can take the surgical tech certification exam, you must meet the eligibility requirements set by the certifying organization. Since there is more than one certifying agency, the eligibility requirements may vary so make sure you verify that you’re eligible to take the exam.

For instance, to be eligible to take the NBSTSA exam, you must either already be certified or a graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES-accredited training program or school. If you have sufficient training and/or work experience, those requirements may be waived. Students may also choose to take the exam that’s offered by the National Center for Competency Testing. Candidates have several areas in which they can qualify

What is the Surgical Tech Certification Exam Like?

The NBSTA exam consists of 200 questions. Of this number, 175 are scored and 25 are not scored. The exam consists of various medical topics students learned through the program such as surgical procedures, operating room equipment maintenance and sterilization, surgical pharmacology and administrative duties of a surgical technologist.

There are online classes you can take to help prepare for the exams. There is also a practice certification exam you can take through the NBSTSA. Once you’re certified, you may need to take continuing education courses to maintain certification.