Surgical Technology

Surgical technologists play an important role in settings like hospitals, surgical centers and outpatient clinics. Oakton’s two-year Surgical Technology associate’s degree prepares you with specialized skills through hands-on training. In this role, you will be part of the team that ensures the smooth implementation of surgeries and patient care. Surgical technologists are responsible for setting up surgical environments and the proper arrangement of instruments, maintaining sterility, and managing equipment and supplies.

You'll engage in training under the guidance of experienced faculty and current practitioners through classroom education and clinical experience. The clinical program gives you the chance to put your skills to work while learning on the job.

A career path in surgical technology is a great fit for those seeking entry-level roles in health care, or have completed credentials such as a Sterile Processing Technician Certificate. It is also a good choice if you are currently employed in health care and want to move to a more hands-on role in the operating environment.

The demand for surgical technicians and related roles is growing, with many open positions in the region and median annual salaries of $51,854 or $24.93 per hour.

This program will take place at the Oakton College Health Careers Education Center in Evanston, Illinois opening in 2025. This brand new, state-of-the-art facility will feature the latest equipment and technology. Students may apply now for the cohort beginning the program in Summer 2025. There may be specific courses that you need to take and pass before you can begin the programmatic courses. You can take these prerequisite courses in the Fall 2024 and/or Spring 2025 terms.

The application for this program opens in July 2024 for the cohort beginning the program in July 2025.

Degree

Students will learn skills in accordance with the standards set by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and prepare to complete the National Certification Examination for Surgical Technologists (CST) provided by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.

This program is pending approval from the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB).

Learn More About the Degree

What You Need to Know

Enrollment is limited. There are a number of minimum requirements for admittance. (Please note: Meeting those requirements does not guarantee admission.) Students are encouraged to meet with a health career specialist at healthcareeradvising@oakton.edu for more information on program admissions.

Admission Requirements:
1. High school graduation or High School Equivalency Certificate*.

Foreign high school graduates or students with foreign college credits need to send English translated copies of their transcripts to Educational Perspectives, www.edperspective.org/oakton. Students with foreign college credit should request a catalog match.

2. High school GPA of 2.0 or higher.

3. Completion of the following courses with minimum grades of C:
BIO 121 General College Biology I - within past 5 years
EGL 101 Composition I
HIT 104 Medical Terminology
MAT 102 Mathematics for Health Careers

* Starting January 1, 2023, the High School Equivalency Certificate becomes the State of Illinois High School Diploma. High School Equivalency credentials received prior to that date remain valid.

Most of these courses have prerequisites. For instance:
EGL 101 requires placement into EGL 101 or successful completion of EGL 090, EGL 097 or EGL 098 (remedial courses).

BIO 121 requires completion of BIO 101, Introduction to Life Science, or one year of high school biology with minimum grade of C, either option completed within the last five years.

MAT 102 requires successful completion of MAT 070, Elementary Algebra (a remedial course) or appropriate Score on the Mathematics placement test.

EGL 101 and HIT 104 are offered as dual credit courses in most of Oakton’s district high schools. Other general education and science courses can be completed via concurrent enrollment.

Students completing the prerequisite courses while enrolled in Oakton are supported by the Health Career Specialists and a Student Experience Navigator (SEN) who help them navigate Oakton’s Academic and Student Support Services, including Learning Center that provides tutoring and academic coaching among other services.

  1. New students should apply online at oakton.edu/apply. Current Oakton students should apply through their myOakton account.
  2. View your Admission Checklist. Your New Student Portal includes Admission Checklist and next steps.
  3. Submit admission documents, including transcripts (high school, college, AP, military) and proof of residency.
  4. Complete the minimum requirements for admission.
  5. Complete an interview. The application process must be completed prior to an interview.

Clinical placements require a health assessment, certain immunizations, yearly flu vaccine, criminal background check, specific skill certification (i.e., CPR). Clinical placements may require substance abuse testing and health insurance. These requirements represent an additional cost to the student.

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.
Overall employment of surgical assistants and technologists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 8,600 openings for surgical assistants and technologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

The median annual wage for surgical technologists was $55,960 in May 2022.

A sterile processor showcases surgical tools in a hospital environment.

Enrolling at Oakton College can save you thousands of dollars and help you earn more over the course of your career. Our tuition is among the lowest in the region, and we offer many ways to bring your costs down even more.

99 percent of Oakton students graduate without debt.

To help you get there, you can apply for a scholarship, which you don’t have to pay back. We award $12 million in scholarships annually. Financial Aid includes grants, loans, and other forms of financial assistance that can reduce your costs of attending college.

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