How to Become a Surgical Tech in TN

This career path offers competitive salaries and the potential for professional growth in a field that values technical skill and teamwork.

Education and Training

Enrolling in and attending a surgical technologist program is mandatory if you want to work as a surgical tech in the state.

Trade Schools with Surgical Tech Programs

    Concorde Career College
    17 month CAAHEP accredited Associate Degree Program.

    • Memphis

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

    • Cookeville, Nashville

    Miller-Motte College
    18 month AAS Surgical Technology diploma that includes a clinical rotation in a workplace environment.

    • Chattanooga

    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.

    • Knoxville, Nashville

How Long Does It Take?

Typically, programs in the state allow students to graduate with a certification in 12 to 18 months.

Some Tennessee trade schools and community colleges offer 2 year associate degree programs that students may attend.

How Much Does it Cost?

The price of surgical tech programs is broad, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the degree.

What Do You Study?

Coursework for a surgical tech can include the following:

  • Anatomy
  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Surgical Room Methods
  • Aseptic Methods
  • Patient Care
  • Medical Terminology
  • Medical Ethics
  • Physiology

Related High School Classes

High school students looking to get a career as a surgical tech may want to take classes such as biology, chemistry, and anatomy to have a strong grasp on some of the fundamentals before attending a post-secondary institution.

TN Surgical Tech Requirements

While many states don’t have specific certification or training requirements to work as a surgical tech, the state of Tennessee has several benchmarks you need to meet before you can get employed.

To be a surgical tech in Tennessee, you must meet one of the following requirements:

1. Accreditation


Complete a post-secondary education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)

2. National Certification Exam


Have a current national certification as a surgical technologist through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

3. Armed Forces

Complete training in surgical technology as a member of the armed forces.

Additionally, the state also mandates that a surgical tech completes 15 hours of continuing education coursework every year.


The average salary in TN is about $57,130 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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

State Hourly Annual
Chattanooga $25.10 $52,210.00
Clarksville $24.39 $50,730.00
Johnson City $26.59 $55,300.00
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol $27.03 $56,220.00
Knoxville $24.90 $51,790.00
Memphis $28.65 $59,590.00
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin $29.39 $61,140.00
North Central TN $26.17 $54,430.00
South Central TN $25.70 $53,460.00

Occupation: Surgical Technologists (SOC Code292055)

Job Description

Surgical techs prepare the operating room before surgeries, ensuring that the space is clean and sterile for both the patient and doctor.

They also check to make sure that the surgical equipment functions properly and that all of the solutions and medications that will be needed are present.

Additional Tasks

In addition to prep work, these techs often bring patients into the operating room and assist in getting the individual ready for surgery by positioning them on the table, washing and disinfecting any incision sites, and covering them with drapes.

Job Duties

Common responsibilities and tasks of a typical surgical tech are:

  • Readying the patient for surgery
  • Prepping the operating room
  • Ensuring the equipment and operating room is sterile and safe
  • Assisting the surgeon during a procedure
  • Counting supplies after an operation
  • Restocking the operating room

Career Outlook

Experts predict a steady growth in jobs over the next decade for this field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be an additional 9,600 additional surgical tech jobs per year from 2021-2031, which is an increase of six percent. Because of this data, individuals can expect to see a rise in surgical tech jobs in Tennessee, also.

Factors such as older workers retiring and professionals in the industry switching career paths will contribute to these numbers.

It’s also important to note that with the baby boomer generation getting older, there will be an increased need for medical and healthcare professionals at every level.