Program Fact Sheet

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Associate Degree Program

What is a Surgical Technologist?

A surgical technologist works directly with the surgeon in the OR to handle instruments, supplies and equipment, and to assist the surgeon as needed. The surgical technologist provides direct patient care and is responsible for maintaining sterile and safe conditions during surgery. A surgical technologist may work in surgery, in medical sales, or several other fields. Learn more about the career at

Minimum Age Requirement
18 years of age at the start of program

Prerequisite Courses
(Minimum 3.0 GPA)
ALL of the following:
  • ENGL 1101, ENGL 1102
  • MATH 1111
  • BIOL 2113* and 2113L*
    BIOL 2114* and 2114L*
    BIOL 2117* and 2117L*
  • FYES 1000
  • PSYC 1101, ALHS 1090*
  • ONE of the following:
    HUMN 1101, ARTS 1101, MUSC 1101,
    ENGL 2130, ENGL 2110, RELG 1101

Current Certified Surgical Technologists Applying to Complete the Degree Program

  • Submit proof of current Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) certification
  • Submit transcripts showing successful completion of a Technical College System of Georgia Surgical Technology program
  • Have completed all of the following courses: ENGL 1101, MATH 1111, BIOL 2113* and 2113L*

*These courses cannot be more than 5 years old at time of program application.

Length of Program

3 semesters (not including prerequisite courses); Program courses must be taken in sequence within the prescribed time frame

Semester Program Begins
Spring and Fall Semesters; Full time; Day classes only

General Admission Application Process
  1. Apply to Gwinnett Technical College at and submit all transcripts from high school and previous college work, and take the ACCUPLACER test if required. You must be accepted into Gwinnett Technical College prior to applying to a program of study.
  2. Applicants are initially accepted into the Healthcare Science Certificate program while completing the required prerequisite courses.

Program Application Process

All applicants are required to submit a program packet. Forms are available online at Gwinnett Tech's Forms and Documents Page.

  • Fall Application Deadline: June 1
    Prerequisite Deadline: End of Summer Semester
  • Spring Application Deadline: October 10
    Prerequisite Deadline: End of Fall Semester


Program Costs & Requirements

$300 per semester lab fee in Fall and Spring; uniform scrubs, shoes, lab coat, GTC patch & ID; books; liability insurance; criminal background check; drug screening; immunizations for clinicals; club dues (decided by class). Costs are approximated and subject to change.

Competitive Admissions

A mandatory meeting will be held after the deadline for all applicants who have completed the prerequisites. Competitive admissions will be based on attendance at the mandatory meeting, GPA for required prerequisites and manual dexterity testing.


Surgical Technology

Quick Facts

2015 Median Pay $44,330 per year / $21.31 per hour
Entry Level Education Associate's degree or diploma
Number of Jobs, 2014 99,800
Job growth, 2014-24 15% (much faster than average)

Nature of the Work

Surgical technologists assist in surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. Surgical technologists are members of operating room teams, which most commonly include surgeons, anesthesiologists, and circulating nurses. Surgical technologists are trained to maintain the sterile field, preventing the risk of infection during surgery. Before an operation, surgical technologists help prepare the operating room by setting up the sterile field with surgical instruments and equipment, drapes, medication, and supplies. Technologists also help the surgical team put on sterile gowns and gloves.

During surgery, technologists anticipate the needs of the surgeon by passing instruments; holding retractors; preparing sutures; counting instruments, sponges, and sharps; and helping apply dressings. After surgery, surgical technologists assist with room turn-over procedures in order to prepare for the next patient. They also decontaminate and prepare surgical instruments for sterilization.

Work Environment

Surgical technologists work in clean, well-lighted, cool environments. They must stand for long periods and remain alert during operations. At times, they may be exposed to communicable diseases and unpleasant sights, odors, and materials. Most surgical technologists work a regular 40-hour week, although they may be on call or work nights, weekends, and holidays on a rotating basis.


Surgical technologists held about 99,800 jobs in 2014. About 70 percent of jobs for surgical technologists were in hospitals, mainly in operating and delivery rooms. Other jobs were in offices of physicians or dentists who perform outpatient surgery and in outpatient care centers, including ambulatory surgical centers. A few technologists, known as private scrubs or first assistants, are employed directly by surgeons.

Job Outlook

Employment of surgical technologists is expected to grow 15 percent between 2014 and 2024. The number of surgical procedures is expected to continue to rise as the population grows and ages. In addition, technological advances, such as fiber optics, robotics, and laser technology, have permitted an increasing number of new surgical procedures to be performed and also have allowed surgical technologists to assist with a greater number of procedures. Job opportunities will be best for technologists who are certified and for those who are willing to relocate.


Median annual wages of wage-and-salary surgical technologists were $44,330 in May 2015. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,410 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $63,410. Wages of surgical technologists vary with experience and education, the responsibilities of the position, the working hours, and the economy of a given region of the country.