As news about COVID-19 dominates media and public safety discussions at state and federal levels, we want you to know that since we are still two months away, we have no plans right now to cancel AST’s 51st Surgical Technology Conference occurring May 28-30, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Your safety is our top priority, however, and we recognize this as an extremely important and evolving situation. We will continue to monitor developments and base any decisions we make concerning our annual conference on the advice of health and safety experts. In addition, we are waiving all cancellation fees for our attendee registrants, and in the case the event is canceled, all attendee registrations will be refunded completely.

As an organization of healthcare professionals, AST recognizes the value that our members place on the importance of infection prevention practices not just when traveling, but every day. We will continue to provide updates. 

Holly Falcon, CST, FAST
AST President


Advanced CE

Earlier this year the National Board for Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) announced that the certification cycle for CSTs and CSFAs will be changed from four to two years stating:

"Effective January 1, 2020, the phase-in of a two-year certification renewal cycle requirement for both the Certified Surgical Technologist® and the Certified Surgical First Assistant® will begin." For details go here:

CSTs will be required to earn a total of 30 CE credits including 4 defined as advanced and CSFAs will be required to earn 38 CE credits including 8 defined as advanced.

Working collaboratively, AST, ASA, and the NBSTSA have approved the following definition of Advanced CE:

"All Live CE sessions presented by physicians at AST/ASA-approved conferences and workshops, AST state assembly meetings, employer in-services, grand rounds, physician professional meetings and by manufacturers intended for physicians."

The requirement for Advanced CE credits has been implemented to achieve a balance in the methods in which CSTs and CSFAs earn CE credits, and to promote face-to-face discussions with lecturers that contributes to real-time learning experience.

Examples of advanced CE that will be accepted and processed for recertification include:

  • CE presented by physicians at the AST conference will be defined as advanced (for example, at the 2019 annual conference there were 18 educational sessions presented by physicians).
  • CE presented by physicians at state assembly meeting are defined as advanced.
  • In addition to all of the physician organizations whose CE is defined as advanced (for example, ACS, AAOS, AMA, and many other physician organizations), CE from many colleges, hospitals, and others accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) are also defined as advanced CE.
  • As noted above, any employer (for example, hospitals, surgical centers) in-services presented by physicians are defined as advanced CE.
  • There are also numerous examples of manufacturer-sponsored CE provided by employers and at state assembly meetings that are developed for physicians that also may be defined as advanced CE (for example, DaVinci surgical robot hands-on training).