Enhancing the profession to ensure quality patient care.
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. Therefore, AST’s legislative goal is to
ensure that all patients in all operating rooms will be in the most capable
hands across all surgical team members.
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
AST advocates to pass state
laws that address
competency by requiring 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.
In an effort
to protect the existing surgical technology workforce, when a state passes the
law, the legislation includes a “grandfather exception.” Generally speaking,
the grandfather exception allows surgical technologists already employed as of
a certain date (varies by state)
prior to the law going into effect to continue working in their “pre-law”
position without having to meet the same requirements as new-hires. The legislation also includes a “military exception,” which allows graduates
of military surgical technology education programs to be hired as civilian techs, after the effective date of the
law, without having to meet the same requirements as new-hires.
BE AWARE: 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”
law goes into effect, EVERY surgical technologist (except federal)
employed in that particular state is required to complete CEs, as
detailed in the law, regardless of a tech’s certification status.
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
following states require surgical
technologists to register in order to work in the state:
following states offer optional registration/title protection for