Surgical Technology - Associate of Applied Science

Jill Davis, CSFA, CST, BA, Program Director

This program is designed to prepare the student for employment as a surgical technologist, who are an integral part of the team of medical practitioners providing surgical care to patients.

Surgical technologists work under the supervision of a surgeon to facilitate the safe and effective conduct of invasive surgical procedures, ensuring that the operating room environment is safe, that equipment functions properly, and that the operative procedure is conducted under conditions that maximize patient safety.

Surgical technologists possess expertise in the theory and application of sterile and aseptic technique and combine the knowledge of human anatomy, surgical procedures, and implementation of instrumentation and technologies to facilitate a physician’s performance of invasive therapeutic and diagnostic procedures.

The Surgical Technology program is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 25400 U. S. Highway 19 North; Suite 158; Clearwater, FL 33763 (www.caahep.org) upon recommendation of the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC-STSA), 6 West Dry Creek Circle Suite 110 Littleton, CO 80120 (www.arcstsa.org).

Students first apply to to the Missoula College campus of The University of Montana and enter as Associate of Arts (AA) General Studies majors with an emphasis in Pre-Surgical Technology. They then meet with their assigned academic advisor to establish a plan for completing the program prerequisite courses. 

Applications to the Surgical Technology Program itself are accepted once per year with a usual submission deadline of October 1st for spring semester program admission. Students may submit a program application while in the final semester of completing the program prerequisite courses. Admission decisions are made after the Autumn semester grades are finalized.

Find the application and instructions to the professional Surgical Technology Program here.

PREREQUISITE COURSES

Prerequisite Courses

SPECIFIC COURSE REQUIREMENTS

  • Course Repeat Limit:  All prerequisite courses may be taken a maximum of 2 times ONLY.

  • Course Age Limit:  If prerequisite courses were taken ten years (or more) ago, consult with Program Director.

  • Grade / Acceptance for BIOH 201N/202N, Human Anatomy and Physiology I:  Must be completed with a minimum grade of “B” (3.0 GPA).  NOTE: online Anatomy & Physiology courses will NOT be accepted without prior approval.

  • Grade Requirements for All Other Courses:  Must be completed with a minimum grade of “C” (2.0 GPA).  NOTE: a grade of “C -” will NOT satisfy requirements.

TECHNICAL & HEALTH STANDARDS FOR SURGICAL TECHNOLOGISTS

Every student in the Surgical Technologist program must possess the physical, mental, and emotional capabilities required to successfully complete the program and gain employment in the field. Below are the technical and health standards for the Surgical Technologist program.  All students seeking admission to the program must be capable of meeting these standards:  

Critical Thinking - The prospective surgical technologist student must:

  • Possess critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment.
  • Possess short/long term memory sufficient to perform tasks including but not limited to mentally tracking surgical supplies and performing anticipation skills intraoperatively.
  • Demonstrate calm and effective responses, especially in emergency situations.

Health Standards - The prospective surgical technologist student must be able to:

  • Stand, bend, stoop, and/or sit for long periods of time in one location with minimum/no breaks.
  • Lift a minimum of 20 pounds. (50 pounds is required in many healthcare settings).
  • Demonstrate sufficient peripheral vision to anticipate and function while in the sterile surgical environment.
  • Refrain from nourishment or restroom breaks for periods up to 6 hours.
  • Demonstrate sufficient visual ability to load a fine (10-0) suture onto needles and needle holders with/without corrective lenses and while wearing safety glasses.
  • Hear and understand muffled communication without visualization of the communicator's mouth/lips and within 20 feet.
  • Hear activation/warning signals on equipment.

Technical Standards - The prospective surgical technologist student must be able to:

  • Manipulate instruments, supplies, and equipment with speed, dexterity, and good hand-eye coordination.
  • Ambulate/move around without assistive devices.
  • Assist with and/or lift, move, position, and manipulate the patient who is unconscious with or without assistive devices.

Communication Standards - The prospective surgical technologist student must be able to:

  • Communicate and understand fluent English both verbally and in writing.
  • Communicate both verbally and non-verbally in an effective manner with staff, patients, and physicians, in order to explain procedures, give instructions, and obtain information.
Interpersonal Standards - The prospective surgical technologist student must be able to:
  • Make appropriate judgment decisions.
  • Demonstrate the use of positive coping skills under stress.
  • Demonstrate calm and effective responses, especially in emergency situations.
  • Exhibit positive interpersonal skills during patient, staff, and faculty interactions.
Immunizations/Misc. - The prospective surgical technologist student must:
  • Be free from chemical abuse.
  • Demonstration or proof of immunity (natural or artificial) to Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Tuberculosis, and Hepatitis B, may be required.

Once accepted to the program, a student must complete each Surgical Technology-specific course (those courses with an AHST with a minimum grade of ‘C' (80%) in order to continue in the ST program.  All other required courses must also be passed with a grade of "C".   Course grading scales may vary. If a student does not pass the required courses, he/she will not be able to continue in the program and will need to apply for readmission. If a student is re-admitted, he/she will be required to complete skills labs, AHST 115 (SUR 102T) and AHST 215 (SUR 202T), to ensure sterile technique skills are acceptable for patient care. A student may take any required course a maximum of two (2) times.  A student may apply to the program a maximum of two (2) times.

A student will become a member of the Association of Surgical Technologists during the first year in the program. A student anticipating program completion will write the National Certification Exam prior to graduation. A student who successfully completes the ST program is awarded an A.A.S. degree in Surgical Technology. The credential of Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) will be awarded to a student upon passing the National Certification Exam and graduation from the ST program.  The credential of Certified is awarded by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

Students are required to rotate sites during the clinical portion of their education. During the last semester of the program, internships may be outside the Missoula area. Transportation and housing are the student's responsibility.  Prior to entering a healthcare facility for clinical experiences, a student will be required to submit a background check.  Many healthcare facilities have increasingly stringent requirements.  A student could be refused entry into a clinical facility based on information disclosed in a background check.  If this is a concern for you, please consult the Program Director.  If a student is denied agency access based on the Background Check, there will be no placement at an alternate site, and the subsequent inability of the student to complete the clinical education will result in inability to continue in the Surgical Technology program.

The University of Montana Missoula College Surgical Technology Program has discontinued its satellite programs in Butte and Billings for the present time. Interested students can still apply for a spot in the Missoula-based program, which has an application deadline of October 1 each year for spring semester admission.

Surgical Technology Program Outcomes Trends 2015-2017*

OUTCOME

Year

Percentage

OUTCOME

Year

Percentage

Student Graduation

2017

71

Employer Survey Return Rate

2017

56

2016

64

2016

50

2015

70

2015

57

OUTCOME

Year

Percentage

OUTCOME

Year

Percentage

CST™ Exam** Participation Rate

2017

100

Employer Satisfaction Rate

2017

100

2016

100

2016

100

2015

100

2015

100

OUTCOME

Year

Percentage

OUTCOME

Year

Percentage

CST™ Exam** Pass Rate

2017

100

Graduate Survey Return Rate

2017

56

2016

83

2016

53

2015

95

2015

53

OUTCOME

Year

Percentage

OUTCOME

Year

Percentage

Graduate Placement

2017

89

Graduate Satisfaction Rate

2017

100

2016

95

2016

100

2015

94

2015

100

Established ARC/STSA Thresholds

Student Graduation Rate

70% for all graduates

CST™ Exam Participation

100% for all graduates

CST™ Pass Rate

70% for all graduates

Graduate Job Placement

80% for all graduates

Employer Survey Return Rate

50% for all surveys sent to employers

Employer Satisfaction Rate

85% for all employers who return the survey

Graduate Survey Return Rate

50% for all surveys sent to graduates

Graduate Satisfaction

85% for all graduates who return the survey

Curriculum

U.S. Department of Education Notice

The U.S. Department of Education now requires that all programs leading to State Licensure or National Certification must disclose whether or not their program meets the requirements of Licensure in each state.

The Surgical Technology Program at Missoula College -- UM has not yet made a determination regarding whether our curriculum meets requirements for licensure by examination in states outside of Montana.

Degree-specific Requirements

The University of Montana catalog details degree specific credits and course requirements.

Subject Type
Surgical Technology Associate of Applied Science
  • Contact Information
  • Cyndi Stary - Administrative Associate, Department of Health Professions
    Email: Cyndi.Stary@umontana.edu
    Phone: 406-243-7846
    Office: MC 441

  • Jill Davis - Program Director
    Email: Jill1.Davis@umontana.edu
    Phone: 406-243-7860
    Office: MC 318