Rock Valley College
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Surgical Technology

Surgical Technology

Certificate: 40 credits
Program contact: Program Chair (815) 921-3205

For more information, please email Amanda Lonsway at

Program Overview

Surgical technologists prepare the operating room and equipment used for surgery, assist in preparing patients for surgery, are responsible for creating and maintaining the sterile environment in the operating room, and assist in other aspects of the procedure. The Program, featuring classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences, prepares students to assume an important role with surgical teams at entry level.

Program Outcomes

AST CST exam pass rate: 70%

Exam Date Students That Took Exam      Students Passed Exam  Students Failed Pass Rate Percentage
08/08/2013  14 13 1 93%
08/06/2014 15 15 0 100%
08/05/2015  11 10 1 91%
08/03/2016 14 13 1 93%
08/02/2017 7 6 1 86%
08/2018 13 12 1 92%


Work & Employment

Graduates are employed in hospital operating rooms, delivery rooms, emergency departments, ambulatory surgical centers, travel agencies, physician offices, dental offices, and central sterilizing departments. With additional specialized education and training, graduates can become Surgical Assistants, Program Directors, Instructors, and Surgical/Medical Sales Representatives.

Professional Credential & Program Accreditation

Graduates are eligible to become Certified Surgical Technologists (CST). Students in their last semester of the program will sit for the National Certification Examination through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) prior to graduation.

The Rock Valley College Surgical Technology Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP) ( upon the recommendation of the Association of Surgical Technology (AST).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
25400 US Highway 19 N., Suite 158
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 210-2350

Admission to the Program

Admission is selective and competitive. The Grade Point Average (GPA) from any College where a (prerequisite) course is used to fulfill the Program requirements will be combined and averaged for an Overall GPA. The Overall GPA and strength in the sciences is of great consideration in the selection process. Healthcare experience considered but is not required.

Core Curriculum developed by the Association of Surgical Technology (AST/CCST 6th edition).

Admissions Policies (enrollment capacity 20)

Requirements for application and admission

1. A graduate of a recognized or accredited secondary school at the time of enrollment or complete the GED as required by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

2. Admission to Rock Valley College according to college policies governing full-time students.

3. Biology/Chemistry requirement:

  • One semester of college level chemistry (with a lab). At RVC it would be CHM-110 (recommended) or a higher level. 
  • One semester of anatomy/physiology with a lab.  At RVC it would be BIO-185. 

Note: BIO 281/282 may be substituted for BIO 185. Both BIO-281 and BIO-282 must be completed.

  • One semester of microbiology with a lab.  At RVC it would be BIO 274.

Note: Check the RVC catalog for prerequisite requirements for BIO 185 (or BIO 281 and BIO 282) and BIO 274.  Other colleges’ biology course prerequisites may be different than RVC.

4. Math requirement: Minimum Math requirement for the Surgical Technology Program is MTH 092 - Beginning Algebra, at the college level. To meet biology and chemistry’s prerequisite at RVC MTH 094 or higher level math with a minimum grade of ‘C’ is required. Other colleges’ Math course prerequisites may be different than RVC.

5. Grade Point Average: A minimum GPA of 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is required of all college course work completed for college credit. Program admission is limited, therefore is selective and very competitive.

6. Concurrent hospital clinical practice also necessitates that students meet the following requirements:

  • Be in good health as certified by a physician licensed to practice medicine in all its branches, and complete in full the medical examination and immunization form provided.
  • Possibly submit to further laboratory tests as requested.
  • Have current Adult, Infant, and Child CPR certification.
  • Have personal health insurance.
  • Meet the Essential Abilities Standards of Performance.

7. Students must be admitted to Rock Valley College and math and chemistry must be completed to be reviewed for admission to the program. All General Education Course Requirements must be completed, with a minimum grade of ‘C’, before enrollment in the Surgical Technology (SRG) Program courses.

8. Qualified applicants who are residents of Rock Valley College District 511 or who reside in a district that has a cooperative agreement with Rock Valley College will be admitted first. Out-of-district applicants will be admitted only if the Surgical Technology class has not been filled and all qualified in-district or cooperating community college applicants have been accepted.

Admissions Procedures

1. The following records must be sent directly to the Allied Health division office:

  • High school transcripts or GED scores.
  • Previous college transcripts (other than RVC).

2. Applicants are required to complete a separate application for admission to the Surgical Technology Program, hereafter referred to as the Surgical Technology application.

3. The Surgical Technology application may be filed at any time and must be filed before April 15th prior to the fall term a student hopes to enter the program. Only completed applications are processed.

4. Students will be notified of their admission status prior to June 15.

5. Applicants not selected one year are individually responsible for reactivating and updating their application in subsequent years.

Criminal Background Check & Drug Testing

Students will undergo a criminal background check and drug testing upon admission to the program. It is possible that a student’s criminal background and/or a positive drug test will prevent participation in hospital clinical practice and program completion.

Standard for Progression in the Program

Students are required to earn at least a minimum grade of “C” in each theory/clinical course, along with the AST standard of 120 documented cases verified as completed, with a total of 80 First Scrub cases. Failure to do so will prevent a student from graduating. (See table below.)

 SURGICAL ROTATION CASE REQUIREMENTS (once you are in the program)
Surgical Specialty Total # of Cases Required Min. # of First Scrub Cases Required Max. # of Second Scrub Cases that can be
applied towards 120 cases
General Surgery 30 20 10

Surgical Specialties

  • Cardiothoracic
  • ENT
  • Eye
  • GU
  • Neuro
  • Ob-Gyn
  • Oral/Maxillofacial
  • Orthopedics
  • Peripheral Vascular
  • Plastics
  • Procurement
  • Transplant
90 60 30

Diagnostic Endoscopy

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Cystoscopy
  • EGD
  • ERCP
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Sinoscopy
  • Ureteroscopy
    10 diagnostic endoscopy cases may be  applied toward the second scrub cases.
Labor & Delivery     5 vaginal delivery cases may be applied  toward the second scrub cases.
Totals 120 80 40


General Education Course Requirements (14 credits)

Number Title
  BIO-185 Foundations Anatomy & Physiology
  BIO-274 Microbiology
  ENG-101 Composition I
  HLT-110 Medical Terminology

Comparable BIO, ENG, and HLT courses may be taken at the cooperative community colleges.

Cooperative community colleges are: Highland Community College, Kishwaukee College, and Sauk Valley College.

Gainful Employment Program Requirements

Choose the year to view Gainful Employment information for this program/certificate. Gainful Employment information includes program costs, length of time to complete the program, potential occupations tied to this program, as well as success rates and job placement rates where applicable.