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  • Legislative Goal

    The Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) believes everyone involved in direct surgical patient care should be fully competent. Despite their critical role during surgeries, however, surgical technologists are the only member of a surgical team who is not required to meet minimum professional standards. AST’s legislative goal is to ensure all patients in all operating rooms are in the most capable hands. In the interest of patient safety, AST promotes a policy that would require healthcare facilities to employ only individuals who satisfy baseline educational and clinical competency requirements. 

  • Legislative Overview

    AST advocates to pass state laws that, in order to be hired to practice surgical technology, the candidate must:

    (1) graduate from a CAAHEP-accredited surgical technology program;

    (2) obtain the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST®) credential from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA); and

    (3) maintain the CST® credential by completing mandatory continuing education (CE) hours.

    These requirements would apply to new-hires employed on or after the effective date of the law. Federal employees are exempt from the state law.

    NOTE: When a state passes this law, nothing in the law prevents an employer from requiring all of its surgical technologist employees (not just new-hires) to meet the full requirements of the law regardless of whether the employee fits into the “grandfathered” or “military” exceptions.

    State Law Overview

    The following states have passed law related to the education and certification of surgical technologists. For more information, click on the Map of State Laws (members only):

    • Indiana (2009)
    • Massachusetts (2012)
    • Nevada (2017)
    • New Jersey (2011)
    • New York (2015)
    • Oregon (2016)
    • Pennsylvania (2020)
    • South Carolina (2018)
    • Tennessee (2013)
    • Texas (2009)
    • Idaho (1991) - Idaho has an administrative rule requiring that surgical technologists (referred to as “operating room technicians” in the rule) either complete a CAAHEP-accredited program OR satisfy the NBSTSA requirements for CST/certification.

    The following states require surgical technologists to register in order to work in the state:

    • Colorado (2016) (CST not required for registration)
    • North Dakota (2011) (“Unlicensed Assistive Person” registry; CST not required for registration)
    • Washington (2010) (CST not required for registration)

    The following states offer optional registration/title protection for surgical technologists:

    • Arkansas (2017) (Must be a CST in order to qualify for the registry/title protection)
    • Illinois (2004) (Must be a CST in order to qualify for the registry/title protection)
    • Virginia (2014) (Must be a CST in order to qualify for the registry/title protection)