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Surgical Technology
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Frequently Asked Questions 

1)    What exactly is a Surgical Technologist? 

A Surgical Technologist (ST) is an allied health professional who works closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, registered nurses and other surgical personnel delivering patient care and assuming appropriate responsibilities before, during and after surgery. Before surgery, the ST prepares the operating room for the surgical procedure by gathering and opening surgical supplies and instrumentation; which are later arranged and counted on sterile tables. During surgical procedures, the ST scrubs, dons a gown and gloves, and anticipates the needs of the surgeon - passing instruments, sutures and sponges. After surgery, the ST may assist the team with the application of dressings, patient transport and room turn-over.

2)    What are the physical and personal requirements needed to be a Surgical Technologist?

Physical Requirements:

  • Physical Stamina:  Must be able to stand in place for long periods of time, with little body movement. Must be able to go without food, drink and restroom breaks for long periods of time (4-8 hours). 
  • Mental Stamina: Must be able to remain alert and focused for long periods of time (4-8 hours). Must be able to work quickly and accurately, with a commitment to detail.
  • Finger/manual dexterity:  Must be able to display finger/manual dexterity with instrumentation, surgical supplies and equipment.
  • Eye-hand coordination:  Must be able to manipulate tiny objects using instrumentation.
  • Body strength/full range of body motion:  Must be able to lift and carry items weighing up to 25 lbs; must have the ability to push/pull wheeled items up to 200 lbs. The use of wheelchairs, canes or crutches is not permitted.
  • Vision and hearing:  Must be corrected to a normal range.
  • Stress management:  Must be able to adapt very quickly to stressful situations and emergencies in the O.R. environment and work under pressure.
  • Communication:  Must be able to communicate effectively in English - verbally and in writing.

Personal Characteristics:

  • Critical thinking:  Must be able to integrate information, knowledge and use problem-solving skills.
  • Team player:  Must be able to share knowledge with other healthcare professionals and actively participate as a team member of the surgical team.
  • Sensitivity:  Must be sensitive to the need of the patient and to other surgical team members.
  • Respectfulness and Cultural Sensitivity:  Must be able to treat others with respect at all times while working in a diverse population.
  • Confidentiality:  Must be able to maintain confidentiality and recognize the ethical implications of patient care.
  • Computer literacy:  Must be able to understand the concepts of computer technology related to healthcare.
  • Life-long learning:  Must be able to commit to life-long learning, recognizing that it is mandatory for the maintenance of professional healthcare expertise.

3)    Must a Surgical Technologist be certified?

Highly recommended, and could be mandated by employer. Most employers recommend and prefer to hire a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). It is mandatory that all students register and sit for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) Examination during the last semester of the program.

4)    What is the typical salary for a Surgical Technologist?

Average hourly wage for an entry-level Surgical Technologist in the Cleveland area is typically in the range of $16-$18 per hour.

5)    Where can I obtain employment?

Most Surgical Technologists are employed in the surgical department of hospitals and outpatient surgery centers.

6)    How long is the program? Can I complete the program on a part-time basis?

The Surgical Technology Program is 21 months long, including one summer semester. It is considered a full-time day program. The SURT courses are offered in sequential semesters and may not be taken out of order. The prerequisite courses must be taken before entering the program. General degree requirements may be taken on a part-time basis prior to entering the program to allow more time to focus on the SURT courses.

7)    Can I transfer credits from another college or university?

Generally yes. Students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their academic counselor after their transcripts have been forwarded to the College. The Registrar’s Office will review and evaluate the transcripts, assigning credit for comparable coursework.

Our program does not allow the transfer of Surgical Technology courses from other colleges, universities or training institutions. Students wishing to transfer from another Surgical Technology Program will have to start the Tri-C Surgical Technology Program from the beginning.

8)    I already have credits; can I complete the program in less than two years?

The Surgical Technology Program is a 21-month program - you cannot complete the course work in less than 21 months. All SURT courses must be taken in sequence.

9)    How many students do you accept each year?

We accept 14 students to the Surgical Technology Program per year, contingent upon available clinical sites. Deadline to apply to the program is June 30th.

10)    When does the Surgical Technology Program start?

The Surgical Technology Program only starts in the Fall Semester of each academic year.

11)    Is the program offered in the evenings or on weekends? Can I work while attending the program?

The Surgical Technology Program is not offered in the evenings or weekends. Students enrolled in the Program are cautioned regarding accepting employment. The intensity and continuity of the program is such that employment may negatively impact course work responsibilities. The final semester of the program requires students to spend 24 clock hours each week at the clinical sites.

12)    How much does the program cost?

61 credit hours are needed in order to complete the program. At a little over $101 per credit hour for in-county residents, the tuition cost is approximately $6,200. You pay only for the credit hours for which you are enrolled each semester. If you have completed some of the courses at Tri-C, or transfer credits from another college, the cost will be less because there are fewer credit hours left to fulfill. If a student needs remedial courses to become eligible, the cost will be slightly higher depending on the number of extra courses needed. Additional expenses include a $10-20 fee for courses in which there is a laboratory section. Textbooks vary in cost, but plan to spend an average of $100 per book per class. Total approximate cost for the program is $8,100 for in-county residents.

13)    Is financial aid available?

Generally yes. Students may qualify for the usual federal or state programs. Further inquiries may be directed to the Tri-C Financial Aid Dept. by calling 216-987-4100.

14)    When should I submit an application?

ONLY submit your Health Careers Program Application after all Prerequisite Courses have been completed and grades for each course have been posted on your Tri-C transcript. Incomplete applications will be returned to the student. Completion of the Prerequisite Courses does not guarantee acceptance into the program for the current academic year. Students are admitted to the Surgical Technology Program in the order in which all complete application packets are received. Deadline to apply to the program for the upcoming Fall Semester is June 30th.

15)    How will I know if I have a spot in the Surgical Technology Program for the upcoming Fall Semester?

Accepted students will receive a “Letter of Acceptance” in the mail from the Program Manager.

16)    What Prerequisite Courses are required for the Surgical Technology Program?

      • BIO-2331            Anatomy & Physiology
      • ENG-1010           College Composition
      •  MA-1020            Medical Terminology
      • SURT-1000         Survey of Surgical Technology, grade of “B” or higher is required
      • Eligibility for MATH-1141, Applied Algebra and Mathematical Reasoning

17)    What GPA is required for the Surgical Technology Program?

Applicants must achieve a minimum of a 2.50 grade point average (based on a 4.0 scale) with no course having a grade lower than ‘C’ for the prerequisite courses listed above or their Tri-C transfer equivalent. Applicants must also have an accumulative grade point average of 2.50.

18)    Is there any reason I may not be accepted into the program aside from not meeting the Program Entrance Requirements?

Yes. All students enrolled in health career programs that require students to complete clinical experiences outside the College must complete and pass a background check that includes fingerprinting and Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) records search. Results of this background check can keep you from entering the program.

Please visit for more information.

19)    Quick summary of the Surgical Technology Program:

      • Deadline to apply to the program is June 30th.
      • Program only begins in the Fall Semester of each academic year.
      • 21-month long, full-time day program.
      • Classes are conducted only at Cuyahoga Community College’s Metropolitan Campus.
      • Earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Surgical Technology.
      • Eligible and must sit for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) Examination.  

20)    SURT-1000, Survey of Surgical Technology Information:

SURT-1000, Survey of Surgical Technology, is only offered during the Spring Semester, Sessions A and B. This course is an 8-week hybrid course and meets in class on the first Friday the week class begins. Additional information regarding the class will be emailed to registered students the week before class begins.

MA-1020 must be completed prior to taking SURT-1000. No exceptions.

Students who have completed BIO-2331 will have priority into Session A.

For departmental approval:  Contact Beth Stokes at Please Include your Tri-C "S" number in your email and which session of SURT-1000 you would like - A or B. You will be notified when your override to register has been completed.

21)    Other classes that may be taken before acceptance to program or while waiting:

  • BIO-2341          Anatomy and Physiology II
  • BIO-2500          Microbiology
  • HTEC-1610       Introduction to Pharmacology
  • MA-2010           Medical Terminology II
  • MATH-1141      Applied Algebra and Mathematical Reasoning
  • SPCH-1000       Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication OR
  • SPCH-1010       Fundamentals of Speech Communication

22)    Who can I speak to if I have other questions?

Beth Stokes, Program Manager / 216-987-6146 /
For more program information, please visit:

How to calculate Pre-req GPA for ST Program



Term & Year Taken

Grade Earned*

Credit Hours 

Quality Points

Was Course Repeated?

If yes, When? Grade?*
























 Elig. MATH-1141

 (MATH-0960, 0980)





 * A=4






Total of quality points ¸ credit hours (11)    =                                                   PREREQUISITE GPA(Need 28 quality pts to equal 2.5 GPA)

How to reach us

Beth Stokes
Program Manager
Metro Campus
MHCS 126-E
2900 Community College Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
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