How to Become a Surgical Tech in Florida

Becoming a surgical tech offers the opportunity to play an integral role in life-saving surgical procedures, working closely with surgeons and medical staff to ensure operations run smoothly.

This career is ideal for those seeking an active role in patient care within the dynamic environment of the operating room, promising both personal fulfillment and professional growth.

Education and Training Programs

caahep-logoTo become a Certified Surgery Technologist you must first attend an accredited school. Surgical technology training programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which is necessary for obtaining certification.

Trade Schools with Surgical Tech Programs

    City College
    Learn surgical procedures and techniques on simulated patients in clinical labs. The Associate of Science in Surgical Technology prepares students for the Certified Surgical Technology exam (CST) by the NBSTSA. Accredited by ABHES.

    • Altamonte Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville, Hollywood, Miami


    College of Central Florida
    The Surgical Services program at the College of Central Florida offers a rigorous 64-credit Associate in Science degree accredited by CAAHEP. Graduates become Certified Surgical Technologists (CSTs), integral to surgical teams in hospitals, specializing in tasks like passing instruments and maintaining sterile environments. Beyond hospitals, CSTs find roles in labs, delivery units, and management, with opportunities in medical sales and research.

    • Ocala


    Concorde Career Institute
    17 month Surgical Technology Associate Degree for the National Certifying Examination for Surgical Technologists as sponsored by the NBSTSA. Students will complete 500+ hours in clinical settings with licensed surgeons.

    • Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miramar


    ECPI University
    16 month AAS Surgical Technology degree program offers an immersive learning experience combining robust classroom instruction with hands-on training. Key subjects encompass anatomy, surgical terminology, theory, and technology, alongside microbiology and pharmacology. The program is designed to equip graduates for success on the Certified Surgical Technologist qualifying exam.

    • Orlando


    Florida State College at Jacksonville
    The Associate in Science (A.S.) in Surgical Services degree program at FSCJ prepares students to work alongside doctors in clinical and surgical settings through classroom study, lab practice, and clinical experience. Graduates are eligible to sit for the National Certifying Examination to become Certified Surgical Technologists (CST), and the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). This 64-credit hour program is not available online and is limited access, providing financial aid eligibility to students.

    • Jacksonville


    FORTIS College
    Trains student for entry level positions as members of an operating room team.

    • Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Pensacola, Port St. Lucie


    Keiser University
    The Associate of Science degree in Surgical Technology offers a career-focused curriculum blending classroom, lab and clinical experience. Gain expertise in health care concepts, surgical procedures, and specialties. With hands-on externship opportunities, you'll apply classroom knowledge in real-world healthcare environments.

    • Clearwater, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Melbourne, Miami, Naples, New Port Richey, Orlando, Patrick AF, Pembroke Pines, Port St. Lucie, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, West Palm Beach


    Pinellas Technical College
    15 month program that includes classes and clinicals. Grads can sit for the Certified Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician (CSPDT) exam, and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) exam to become a Tech in Surgery Certified (TS-C).

    • Clearwater, St. Petersburg


    Santa Fe College
    The Surgical Services program at Santa Fe College covers four semesters, offering a mix of on-campus, online, and virtual classes, alongside clinical internships at local and regional hospitals. This academically demanding program requires students to be available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Completing the program successfully qualifies students to take the Certified Surgical Technologist exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. Additionally, students may be eligible to sit for the surgical technology exam offered by the National Center for Competency Testing, further enhancing their professional credentials.

    • Gainesville


    South College
    AS program that teaches surgical patient care, decontamination, and sterile processing, preparing and supporting surgeries, pharmaceutical drug usage and its effects, as well as instrumentation and supply management.

    • Orlando


    Southern Technical College
    Associate of Applied Science program that readies students to excel as surgical technicians in high-pressure medical environments like hospitals, medical centers, and surgical centers. Completable in just 2 years, graduates are prepared to sit for the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) certification exam.

    • Auburndale, Brandon, Fort Myers, Orlando, Port Charlotte, Sanford, Tampa


    Tallahassee Community College
    The Amy Lynette Bailey Surgical Technology Program at TCC aims to train students to become certified surgical technologists, capable of working in diverse healthcare environments such as operating rooms, ambulatory surgery centers, and private physician offices. Under the supervision of surgeons, surgical technologists ensure the safety and efficiency of surgical procedures by maintaining a safe operating room environment and properly functioning equipment. The program prepares students for the national certification exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. It is approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and accredited by the Accreditation Review Council of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA), ensuring high educational standards and comprehensive training for future surgical technologists.

    • Tallahassee


How Long Does It Take?

There are different training options ranging from 9 months to 2 years that can lead to a diploma, certificate or associates degree.

Programs are offered through vocational schools, junior colleges, community colleges or medical training colleges.

How Much Does it Cost?

For an associate’s degree the average tuition and fees ranges from $11,000 to $16,000.

The cost of the programs will vary according to the type of school as well as the degree you want to attain.

What Do You Study?

Some of the coursework included in a Surgical Technologist degree includes

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • microbiology
  • medical terminology
  • patient care and safety
  • sterilization techniques
  • surgical procedures

Florida Requirements

In Florida, it is not required that a surgical technologist be certified, however the majority of employers give more credibility to candidates who have achieved national professional certification.

Certification

nbstsa-logo

Certifications are provided by a number of organizations, including the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, and the National Center for Competency Testing.

In order to maintain certification, you must earn 60 continuing education credits over a four-year certification cycle. You can opt to retake the exam every four years rather than earning continuing education credits, but this requires that you pay the testing fees again.

Life Support Training

Basic Life Support provider cards are required in this field. The American Heart Association provides this certification to healthcare professionals, like surgical technicians, to teach them to recognize a health emergency and the proper way to respond to it.

bls-card

The course teaches CPR and the use of automatic external defibrillators. It requires an online cognitive test and a skills test. Courses are also available through the American Heart Association.

Salary

Below are some average salaries and hourly wages for areas of the state.

State Hourly Annual
Cape Coral-Fort Myers $29.69 $61,750.00
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin $26.17 $54,430.00
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach $24.98 $51,950.00
Homosassa Springs $26.25 $54,610.00
Jacksonville $26.96 $56,080.00
Lakeland-Winter Haven $26.97 $56,100.00
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach $29.28 $60,900.00
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island $29.26 $60,860.00
North Florida $27.18 $56,530.00
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton $26.07 $54,220.00
Ocala $26.13 $54,350.00
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford $26.62 $55,370.00
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville $23.35 $48,570.00
Panama City $24.02 $49,970.00
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent $24.99 $51,980.00
Port St. Lucie $25.78 $53,630.00
Sebastian-Vero Beach $29.44 $61,240.00
South Florida $28.88 $60,060.00
Tallahassee $21.08 $43,850.00
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater $27.34 $56,860.00
The Villages $24.16 $50,250.00

Occupation:Surgical Technologists (SOC Code292055)
source: data.bls.gov

Career Overview

What Do They Do?

Surgical Technologists (surgical techs), also called operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations. They have an important responsibility to patients in maintaining a clean and sterile surgical environment while assisting nurses to prepare patients, and prevent diseases and infections.

Where Do They Work?

The environment these professionals work in is fast paced and exciting. It can range from being in a delivery room with a family having their first child, to being in a packed emergency room after a multiple car accident. Every day in this job is different!

The majority of surgical techs work in hospitals. Others find employment in outpatient surgery centers or in offices of physicians who perform outpatient surgery.

Job Duties

The day-to-day duties of a surgical tech include;

  • Preparing the operating room for surgery
  • Sterilizing equipment and making sure that the appropriate supplies are ready for surgery
  • Preparing patients for surgery, including washing and disinfecting incision sites
  • Assisting nurses and surgeons during the actual surgery by passing them the required instruments and supplies.

What Skills Do They Need to Have?

Surgical technologists work as part of a surgery team.  As a result the following personal traits are required:

  • Respond well and think clearly in stressful situations
  • Have manual dexterity to handle instruments properly and quickly
  • Follow directions well
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Endurance, as they are typically on their feet for extended periods of time
  • Must be able to lift and move heavy objects

Mental Fortitude

A career as a surgical tech is not one for those with a weak stomach. You will be exposed to many unpleasant sounds, sights, and smells in the operating room.

You will also be exposed to communicable diseases and hazardous materials.

Hours

Surgical technologists working in hospitals can expect to work shifts that last longer than eight hours and include night, weekend and holiday hours.

Career Outlook

The aging of baby boomers is expected to increase the need for surgical technologists due to operations including joint replacements and heart-related procedures.

Opportunities for advancement beyond the career of surgical tech include becoming a surgical assistant, or you can choose to specialize in your area of interest.

Roles in supervision or management are also an option for those who continue their education.