Surgical Technology Frequently Asked Questions

What is Surgical Technology?

Surgical technology is an exciting and interesting healthcare career that is vital to the surgical team. A surgical technologist is a healthcare professional who is skilled in the theory and technical practice of surgery. Surgical Technologists are responsible for:

  • Creating and maintaining the sterile environment in the operating room
  • Handing instruments and supplies to the surgeon during the surgery
  • Assisting the operating room team with the surgical procedure
  • Being knowledgeable about the surgery being performed

What career opportunities do surgical technologists have?

A surgical technologist may be employed in a variety of settings including a hospital operating room, an ambulatory surgery center, a physician’s office or in some dental offices where outpatient surgery is performed. Surgical technologists may also find employment managing a central sterile processing department, working for an insurance company or working for a surgical equipment firm as a sales representatives for surgical supplies and equipment. Employment of surgical technologists is projected to grow 30 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations in the United States. Advances in medical technology have made surgery safer and more operations are being done to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries (Reference: United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Outlook).

What are the educational requirements?

The Surgical Technology Program is a 20-month Dual Enrollment Program provided in collaboration with Alvernia University. The curriculum includes nine Liberal Arts courses equaling 30 credits and four Surgical Technology courses that equal an additional 44 credits. The program is designed to provide both theoretical knowledge and hands-on application.

In addition to the classroom education, the curriculum provides 84 simulated skills laboratory hours. Our state-of-the-art operating room simulation laboratory allows students to practice skills in a safe environment where learning can take place in a constructive manner. Once students pass skill competencies in the simulation lab, they continue to hone their skills
in the operating room during clinical practice supervised by our expert faculty. Surgical technology students receive 930 hours of clinical practice throughout the program to practice surgical skills and obtain experience in all surgical specialties including certification in robotic surgery (very few ST programs in the nation provide robotic certification). Upon completion
of the Program and passing of the certification examination, you will be ready for employment as an entry-level surgical technologist.

What is the length of the Surgical Technology Program?

The duration of the program is 20 consecutive months. New classes begin each fall term which starts at the end of August. The program is offered on a full-time basis. Classes and clinical experiences are held Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Is the Surgical Technology Program accredited?

Yes, Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences (RHSHS) Surgical Technology Program is accredited. Accreditation provides the student with reassurance that the program meets rigorous educational standards and gives students the opportunity to take the national certification examination. After successful completion of this exam you are able to use the title CST
(Certified Surgical Technologist). RHSHS Surgical Technology Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of Accreditation Review committee on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA). CAAHEP can be contacted directly at: 25400 U.S. Highway 19 N., Suite 158, Clearwater, FL 33763; Phone: 727-210-2350; Fax: 727-210-2354.

What is the certification exam pass rate for RHSHS Surgical Technology (ST) Program?

RHSHS ST Program has a 100 percent pass rate for the National Certification Examination (2011 through 2016). Our program is one of only a few programs nationally to achieve this milestone of excellence.

What are the admission requirements?

Individuals seeking admission to the program must:

  1. Be a citizen of the United States or provide documentation of permanent residency or working status.
  2. Have 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 upon the ability-to-benefit testing process.
  3. Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or greater in high school or postsecondary coursework is required for all applicants and candidates for matriculation. The most recent post-secondary 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:
  • English: 4 units
  • Social Studies: 3 units
  • Mathematics: 3 units, including Algebra I
  • Science: 3 units, including Biology
  1. SAT: 500 in each section; ACT composite of 19; Essay score of 7 or higher; TOEFL paper-based score of 560 or internet-based score of 83. This requirement may be waived for applicants with earned college degrees. Exceptions to the SAT/ACT requirement will be considered on an individual basis.
  2. Submit two reference forms from teachers, guidance counselors, employers, supervisors or others. Healthcare professionals must submit one reference from the current or most recent healthcare employer.
  3. Successful completion of an interview, which includes an operating room shadow experience. The Program Director will review completed applications and select qualified students for the interview step. This interview process may begin in February and will conclude when the class has been filled.

We strongly encourage our applicants to review the current selective admissions policy.

Does RHSHS Surgical Technology Program offer financial aid?

Financial aid packages for RHSHS Surgical Technology Program are not offered at this time. However, our Financial Aid Office can advise students on how to identify other financial resources and funding options. Payment plans are available. Learn more about tuition and fees.

When is the application deadline?

The RHSHS Surgical Technology Program deadline for completed applications is February 1 for August enrollment. To qualify, applications must include all transcripts, references and other information as requested by admissions or
Program Director.

For further information

Please visit our campus, meet our faculty, tour our classroom and  laboratories, or attend a RHSHS Program Discovery Day by contacting:
Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences
Department of Admissions
P.O. Box 16052
Reading, PA 19612-6052
484-628-0100