Additional Information for Surgical Technology Students | Bismarck State College

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Additional Information for Surgical Technology Students

Professional Description:

Surgical technologists prepare the operating room, including the sterile field, setting up surgical equipment, supplies, and solutions. During surgery, surgical technologists pass instruments, fluids and supplies to the surgeon and prepare and manage surgical equipment. Surgical technologists simultaneously manage the sterile field and specimens. Surgical technologists perform a count of sponges and supplies to prevent foreign retained objects. Surgical technologists are certified following successful completion of a CAAHEP-accredited program or other programmatically accredited Surgical Technology Program and the national Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) examination administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.


The Surgical Technology Program at Bismarck State College received initial accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA), in September 2004 and currently maintains continuing accreditation status.  Accreditation exists to establish, maintain, and promote appropriate standards of quality for educational programs.  These standards are used for the development, evaluation, and self-analysis of Surgical Technology Programs.

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
9355 113th St. N, Suite 7709, Seminole, FL 33775
727-210-2350 (
Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting
19571 East Mainstreet, Suite #339, Parker, CO 80138
303-694-9262 (
Individuals who graduate from an accredited program are eligible to take the certification examination offered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

A surgical technologist who is certified by the NBSTSA provides evidence to employers, other healthcare professionals and the public that the certified individual has met the national standard for the knowledge that underlies surgical technology practice.  Certified surgical technologists demonstrate mastery of a broad range of knowledge of surgical procedures, aseptic technique, and patient care by successfully completing the surgical technology certification examination. Certification by the NBSTSA is nationally recognized and a mandatory term of employment in some healthcare systems/operating rooms.
The procedure for applying for certification will be distributed during the final semester of the program.

National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting
6 West Dry Creek Circle, Ste. 100 Littleton, CO 80120

Technical Standards:

Clear academic and technical standards assure that decisions concerning entrance for all students are based upon non-discriminatory criteria. Federal law requires the provision of reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities who possess “the academic and technical (non-academic) standards” for admission or participation in the Surgical Technology Program and courses. In courses where enrollment is limited and based on selective criteria, having clearly spelled out academic and technical standards assures the absence of discrimination against qualified persons with disabilities who have succeeded with reasonable accommodations. Having technical standards available also assists potential applicants with or without disabilities to assess their ability to succeed in the program and the surgical technology profession. Technical standards for admission are all non-academic criteria that are essential to participating in the Surgical Technology Program. These technical standards include personal and professional attributes, skills, knowledge, physical, medical, safety, and other requirements that an individual must meet to be eligible for admission to and retention in the Surgical Technology Program. 
Students admitted to the SRGT program are expected to be able to complete curriculum requirements which include physical, cognitive, and affective core competencies that are essential to the functions of the entry-level surgical technologist. These core competencies are considered the minimum and essential skills necessary to protect the surgical patient. These abilities are encountered in unique combinations in the provision of safe and effective surgical care. Progression in the program may be denied if a student is unable to demonstrate the technical standards with or without reasonable accommodations.
Bismarck State College is obliged to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities, which may include academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or program modifications. Accommodations that fundamentally alter the nature of the academic program, could jeopardize the health and safety of others, or cause an undue burden to the program are not considered reasonable accommodations.

General Cognitive (Knowledge) and Skills (Psychomotor) Required of All SRGT Personnel:

  • Ability to communicate verbally
  • Ability to lift, carry, and balance up to 125 pounds (250 pounds with assistance)
  • Ability to interpret written, oral, and diagnostic information
  • Ability to use good judgment and remain calm in high-stress situations
  • Ability to work effectively in an environment with loud noises and many distractions
  • Ability to function efficiently throughout an entire work shift
  • Ability to read and understand English language on surgeon preference cards/surgical pick lists

Cognitive (Knowledge):

  • Recall, collect, analyze, synthesize, and integrate information from a variety of sources
  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize data
  • Problem-solve and think critically to apply knowledge and skill
  • Communicate verbally, and through reading and writing, with individuals from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds
  • Relay information in oral and written form effectively, accurately, reliably, and intelligibly to individuals and groups, using the English language
  • Possess short- and long-term memory sufficient to perform tasks such as, but not limited to, mentally tracking surgical supplies, and performing anticipation skills intraoperatively 

Examples of Learning Activities Found in the SRGT Curriculum and Related to Industry Standards:

  • Process information thoroughly and quickly to prioritize and implement care
  • Sequence or cluster data to determine patient needs
  • Discriminate fine/subtle differences in medical word endings
  • Report verbally and in writing patient data to members of the surgical team


  • Coordinate fine and gross motor movements
  • Coordinate hand/eye movements
  • Function with both or only one hand free for performing psychomotor tasks
  • Maneuver in small, confined areas
  • Attend to cognitive and psychomotor tasks for up to 12 hours

Examples of Learning Activities Found in the SRGT Curriculum and Related to Industry Standards:

  • Transfer patients in and out of bed from stretchers and wheelchairs
  • Stand, bend, stoop, or sit for long periods of time in one location with minimum/no break.  (You should be able to withstand standing for 6-8 hours.)
  • Lift a minimum of twenty (20-30) pounds.
  • Refrain from nourishment or restroom breaks for 6-8 hours.
  • Manipulate instruments, supplies, and equipment with speed, dexterity, and good eye-hand coordination.
  • Ambulate/move around without assistive devices.
  • Assist with and/or lift, move, position, and manipulate, with or without assistive devices, the patient who is unconscious.
  • Complete assigned periods of practice (eight to twelve-hour shifts, days, evenings, or nights)


  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences, including but not limited to information conveyed through online coursework, lecture, small group activities, demonstrations, and application experiences
  • Collect information through observation, listening, touching, and smelling

Examples of Learning Activities Found in the SRGT Curriculum and Related to Industry Standards:

  • 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.
  • Demonstrate sufficient peripheral vision to anticipate and function while in the sterile surgical environment
  • Hear and understand muffled communication without visualization of the communicator’s mouth/lips and within 20 feet.
  • Hear activation/warning signals on equipment.
  • Detect odors sufficient to maintain environmental safety and patient needs.
  • Draw up a prescribed quantity of medication into a syringe
  • Detect unsafe temperature levels in heat-producing devices used in patient care

Behavioral (Affective):

  • Demonstrate emotional stability to function effectively under stress and adapt to changing environments
  • Maintain effective, mature, and sensitive relationships with others
  • Examine and modify one’s own behavior when it interferes with others or the learning environment
  • Possess attributes that include compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, honesty, responsibility, and tolerance

Examples of Learning Activities Found in the SRGT Curriculum and Related to Industry Standards:

  • Make appropriate judgment decisions.
  • Demonstrate the use of positive coping skills under stress.
  • Demonstrate calm and effective responses, especially in emergency situations.
  • Exhibit positive interaction skills in patient, staff, and faculty interactions.
  • Exercise judgment, meet acceptable timeframes for patient care delivery (acceptable timeframes are reflected by the ability to carry out the usual patient care assignment for a particular point in the program within the allotted clinical time), work effectively under stress, and adapt to rapidly changing patient care environments
  • Accept accountability for actions that resulted in patient care errors
  • Deal effectively with interpersonal conflict if it arises; maintain effective and harmonious relationships with members of the surgical team
The student is responsible to initiate a request for accommodations by applying for Student Accessibility (SA).  An application can be requested either in person, by telephone (701-224-5671), or complete and submitting the BSC Student Accessibility Application.
Surgical Technology Program Mission:

The Bismarck State College Surgical Technology Program is devoted to developing highly skilled and educated surgical technologists. The program has been designed to provide students with the skills and expertise needed in the application of sterile technique, the use of critical thinking in making decisions, and the ability to render appropriate care in variable surgical conditions. The combined knowledge of human anatomy, surgical procedures and surgical instrumentation allows them to aid in the surgeon’s performance of surgical procedures. The basic premises are high academic standards, a commitment to all surgical patients, and a dedication to present and future students. The Program strives to be attentive to student needs by creating a stimulating academic environment where learning fosters future academic growth and challenges preconceived notions of surgical medicine.
With every program we expect our students to commit themselves to success by studying, participating in class discussions, approaching faculty or staff members concerning extra help or problems encountered in the program, and being prepared for class daily. In return, the student can expect that the program faculty will commit to listening to the student's needs as a learner, develop quality educational programs, study tips and classroom presentations, and assist each student in becoming successful.

Surgical Technology Program Minimum Expectations:

The minimum expectations of the Bismarck State College Surgical Technology Program are to prepare entry-level Surgical Technologists who are competent in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains to enter the profession.

Surgical Technology Program Length:

The Surgical Technology Program is three consecutive semesters, excluding the required program prerequisites, starting every spring.  Enrollment is dependent on acceptance into the program.  The program is a combination of didactic and lab education in the first two semesters, followed by a Clinical Internship in the final (spring) semester.
Clinical Placement Policy:

The clinical sites are a third-party entity into which the students are placed.  Clinical sites are selected according to their patient volumes and site staffing.  Some of the clinical affiliates may not be within daily driving distance.  Students may be required to relocate to another city for the period they are in the clinical internship (SRGT 280) or a portion of the internship.  The clinical internship (SRGT 280) will be split into two rotations. If a student is assigned outside the Bismarck/Mandan area for one rotation, they will complete the other rotation in Bismarck. The rotations are split equally and are 8 weeks in length. Students will make the switch to their second rotation after Spring Break. The student is responsible for all expenses (transportation, housing, meals, etc.) during the clinical experience.  Arrangements for clinical sites depend on the college’s ability to enter into a formal agreement with a proposed site and may vary year-to-year.  BSC cannot guarantee that a clinical site will always be available.
Clinical assignments may be made at various facilities in North Dakota or elsewhere, where a variety of shifts may be assigned.  Students will be putting in a 40-hour week, like a full-time job and need to consider how this will impact their work and families’ schedules.  Shift variety will include call shifts (see below) and possibly evening or night shifts.  Each shift will consist of an 8½ hour period, allowing a ½ hour for a lunch or dinner break. Students may not trade assignments without the instructor’s consent!
Volunteers for clinical sites outside the Bismarck/Mandan area will be taken first.  The remainder of the positions (including alternates for sites outside the Bismarck/Mandan area) will be randomly drawn by the clinical instructor, no sooner than the month of November. Assignments within the Bismarck/Mandan area will be made at the clinical coordinator’s discretion.
Call Shifts:  Schedules will be made by the clinical instructor.  Students will be assigned AT LEAST 1-weekend call shift per rotation and 3 weeknight call shifts per rotation.
All clinical site assignments will be arranged and confirmed by the Surgical Technology Program.  Consideration will be given to the site’s needs and the student’s desires.  The clinical affiliate will be involved in the selection of students assigned to their respective sites and may deny students entry into clinicals at their facility at their discretion.  Students should not rely upon the availability of a clinical site in a specific geographical location, such as Bismarck.

Clinical Placement Requirements:

Clinical placement and completion are prerequisites for graduation from the Surgical Technology Program. The Surgical Technology Program makes no guarantee that the student who has negative information in his or her background check report and is nonetheless permitted to enroll in or continue in the program, will be able to be placed at a clinical facility.  Inability to complete clinical requirements will result in dismissal from the program. Further, graduation from the Surgical Technology Program does not guarantee that the student can be registered, permitted, or licensed under state law.  An arrest for, or a charge or conviction of a criminal offense, while a student is participating in the program, will result in a Critical Performance Notice and may lead to an Immediate Program Dismissal.
Clinical facility administrators and the NDBON make all decisions regarding a student’s eligibility to attend the clinical internship (SRGT 280). The faculty and administration of Bismarck State College have no control over whether students with negative results on their background checks will or will not be, allowed to enter the clinical sites. A copy of negative background check results will be provided to the clinical site(s) and is part of registration for the North Dakota Board of Nursing’s UAP Registry application. If the clinical site or the NDBON determines that a student is ineligible to complete the clinical internship (SRGT 280), Bismarck State College will not refund tuition or fees (unless it is prior to the 100% tuition refund date  and the student will be dismissed from the Surgical Technology Program in its entirety.

The information below regarding program requirements is provided here as information for students to be aware of only. It is not intended as a directive for future students to begin any of the processes described below, at this time. Further direction and information will be provided upon acceptance into the Surgical Technology Program!

CastleBranch Clinical Tracking System:

The Allied Health Programs at Bismarck State College have contracted with CastleBranch, a background screening and compliance tracking solutions company. The BSC Surgical Technology Program will be utilizing CastleBranch for the following checks and document tracking:
  • Background and Exclusion Checks
  • Drug Screening
  • Immunization Tracking
  • Current Medical Exam
  • AHA BLS CPR Certification
All Accepted students will be required to create an account with CastleBranch. The student is responsible for all costs associated with CastleBranch. The one-time fee will be paid online directly from the student to CastleBranch and is currently $166.00. Students will receive log-in information and have access to their own records. Disputes of any findings will be handled by the student through CastleBranch. 
Students will also be responsible for costs associated with the NDBON UAP Registry, obtaining immunizations, completing a medical/physical exam, myClinical Exchange, and AHA BLS CPR Certification. These costs are non-refundable.

CastleBranch Criminal Background & Exclusion Check Policy:

As required by the BSC Surgical Technology Program and its clinical affiliates, all accepted, program students must submit to and receive satisfactory results from National & State criminal background checks, as well as various Exclusion Checks. Exclusion checks are done in conjunction with Nationwide Healthcare Fraud and Abuse searches.  Including, but not limited to; information from (OIG) the Office of the Inspector General, (GSA) the General Services Administration, and other federal agencies including (ORI) Office of Research Integrity, (ORA) Office of Regulatory Affairs, (OFAC) Office of Foreign Assets Control FDA Debarment Check.
The Nationwide Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Search, checks government agency registries that develop and distribute resources to assist the healthcare industry in its efforts to comply with the Nation's fraud and abuse laws and to educate the public about fraudulent schemes so they can protect themselves and report suspicious activities.
Other records identify those parties excluded from receiving federal contracts, certain subcontracts, and certain types of federal financial and non-financial assistance and benefits. These are also commonly known as “suspensions” and “debarments”.
Specific instructions on this process will be given later in the program. This Policy applies to all Surgical Technology program students and is based upon state laws, SBHE policies, and BSC’s Student Policy- Criminal History Background Checks.

CastleBranch Drug Screening Policy: 

As per the program’s clinical affiliation agreements, a 12-panel drug screen within one year of clinicals will be required for each student. Positive results of this screening will be provided to the clinical site(s).  The cost for the drug screening is included in the student’s payment to CastleBranch. The screening will be conducted through CastleBranch in conjunction with Sanford Health in Bismarck. Specific directions will be provided to students by program faculty.

Additional Drug Screening: As per the BSC Student Policy- Alcohol & Illegal Drugs, the Surgical Technology Program maintains a no-tolerance policy regarding substance abuse. Students must undergo drug screens if requested by the Surgical Technology Program, a clinical agency or if suspected to be under the influence of alcohol, narcotic prescription drugs or illegal drugs while on a clinical rotation or during the didactic portion of the program. Students may not consume alcohol within 12 hours of a clinical rotation.
Failure of the student to either take the drug test or show a clear drug screen will result in an Immediate Dismissal from the Surgical Technology Program and all surgical technology courses; see the section of the Surgical Technology Program Handbook related to Immediate Dismissal.  The student is responsible for any costs associated with additional drug tests or screenings and the costs are non-refundable.

CastleBranch Immunization Tracking: 

BSC Surgical Technology Program students will be required to obtain several immunizations prior to admittance into the clinical setting, in the spring of their sophomore year. Specific directions will be given to students in the fall semester during SRGT 240. The tracking of these requirements will be maintained on the CastleBranch and myCE Systems, which is included in the one-time fees paid to CastleBranch and myCE. The cost of the immunizations is the responsibility of the student.

List of Immunizations:

Measles, Mumps and Rubella: All students shall provide to the program evidence of measles, mumps, and rubella immunization/immunity by presenting evidence of two doses of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (2 MMR immunizations), or proof of a recent positive blood titer for measles, mumps, and rubella. Negative titers require a booster.

Tetanus: Tetanus booster (tetanus, Td, Tdap) within the past 10 years.  Must remain current throughout the clinical internship May 31.

Tuberculin Testing: Students assigned for clinical experiences are required to have a negative 2-Step TB or QuantiFERON-TB blood test. The two-step test consists of 2 TB skin tests done AND READ within 1-3 weeks of each other.  Students who are positive reactors must have verification of a negative chest X-ray on file before functioning in the clinical units. This testing/verification must be repeated annually, or as required by the clinical institution.

Hepatitis B: All students shall provide to the program evidence of the completed series of three Hepatitis B vaccinations or positive antibody titer prior to the beginning of Clinical Rotation. Negative titers require a booster. Students will be told to begin the series during the program interview process if they have not already completed the vaccination.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a potentially life-threatening blood-borne pathogen. Approximately 8700 healthcare workers each year contract Hepatitis B. Some who contract HBV will become carriers, passing the disease on to others and yet may have few or no symptoms HBV infection is transmitted through exposure to blood and other infectious body fluids and tissues. Anyone with occupational exposure to blood (i.e., nurses, doctors, student nurses, etc.) is at risk of contracting the infection. This infection can result in liver ailments that can be fatal, including cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. The best defense against Hepatitis B is vaccination. This vaccination is given in 3 separate vaccines over a period of 5-6 months, so it is imperative to begin the regime as early as possible. Students diagnosed as Hepatitis positive shall follow their respective clinical agency's policy regarding any patient care restriction. Students caring for Hepatitis positive patients in the clinical setting shall follow current CDC guidelines and the respective agency guidelines.
Due to the time requirements for obtaining the Hepatitis B vaccination series (3 separate injections, with the 2nd dose being 1 mo. after the 1st dose and the 3rd dose being 5 mo. after the second) program applicants must start obtaining the series immediately (if they have yet to complete it.) This will ensure the series of 3 vaccinations is complete in time to begin their clinical rotation in the spring of their sophomore year.

Varicella (Chicken Pox): Students must show evidence of a Varicella vaccine x 2 or a positive blood titer. Negative titers require a booster.
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and is usually mild, but it may be severe in infants, adults, and persons with impaired immune systems and is highly contagious. Every year there are approximately 5,000 – 9,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths from chickenpox in the United States. The vaccine is approved for susceptible adolescents and adults, especially those in close contact with persons at high risk for serious complications (e.g., healthcare workers, and family contacts of immunocompromised persons).

Influenza: The clinical facilities require students and faculty to receive the yearly influenza vaccine or apply for and receive a facility-approved exemption.

Covid-19: The clinical facilities require students and faculty to receive the Covid-19 vaccine or apply for and receive a facility-approved exemption.

NDBON UAP Registry (with Background Check) Policy:

State law requires registration with the NDBON (North Dakota Board of Nursing) under the UAP (Unlicensed Assistive Person) Registry  Registration includes an NDBCI (North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation) background check.  This check involves the student obtaining a copy of their fingerprints. Students will be required to have this registration complete prior to participating in the clinical rotation (SRGT 280) in the spring semester of their sophomore year. Students may not begin clinical rotations as UAP/Technician Students until they have registered with the ND Board of Nursing. Students will be responsible for all fees associated with this process, which will be paid through the ND Board of Nursing and ID Metryx. 
Specific instructions on this process will be given later on in the program. This Policy applies to all Surgical Technology program students. This Policy is based on state laws and upon the policies and procedures of professional licensing organizations and the State Board of Higher Education.

myClinical Exchange Tracking system:

If you are assigned to participate in clinical internships at CHI St. Alexius and/or Sanford Health, they require you to participate in myClinicalExchange. myClinicalExchange is an internet platform accessible by Universities, Hospitals, Students and Preceptors/Clinical Instructors.  At its most basic level, it streamlines the Request – Approval – Scheduling process for Clinical Rotations.  It also tracks Student Compliance and allows Students or Universities to upload Required Documents to the Hospital.  The platform is also capable of many other things including running reports and sending out surveys and assessments.
The cost of myClinicalExchange covers the cost of retaining students’ compliance information in the system.  It also covers the cost of multiple-user access on both the University and Hospital side as well.  The subscription model is chosen by the academic partner based on the program the student is enrolled in.

Additional Requirements:
  1. American Heart Association (AHA) BLS (Basic Life Support) (Healthcare Provider) CPR Certification: Students entering the SRGT 280 Clinical must show evidence of current training in CPR from the American Heart Association for Health Care Providers to include infants, children, and adults. Students are responsible to submit a photocopy, front and back, of a signed current Healthcare Provider CPR card to their CastleBranch account.  The certification must remain current throughout the clinical rotation, so those students who are currently certified must retest if their card will expire during the clinical internship.  Students will not be allowed into the OR until this proof is provided. American Heart Association (AHA) Basic Life Support (BLS-Healthcare Provider) CPR can be obtained through an AHA certified training center.
  • Medical/Physical Exam: The Surgical Technology Program requires a health/physical exam within one year of the clinical rotation. This exam will be completed by a licensed medical provider and at the cost of the student. Results will be uploaded to the student’s CastleBranch and myCE accounts. Instructions on when and how to complete this component will be given in SRGT 240. Please complete the BSC Medical Examination form.
Confidentiality and Record Keeping
All reports and private information submitted to CastleBranch, the NDBON and myCE are confidential and may be reviewed only by administrators, faculty and affiliated clinical facilities in accordance with federal law, FBI regulations and the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act.  These reports and other information submitted by students will be maintained on the CastleBranch, myCE and NDBON Systems.
Academic Advising:
The Mystic Advising and Counseling Center (MACC) is open for face-to-face, virtual, or telephone appointments (701.224.5752).  Advisors in the MACC assist students with general advising questions, degree planning, course registration, course withdrawal, transfer questions, and graduation applications.
Advanced Placement:
The BSC Surgical Technology Program does not offer early admission or advanced placement for students. Candidates must apply each year and compete against the field of applicants for that year.
Surgical Technology Program Costs:
Please visit BSC Admissions & Cost for tuition and fee information.  The BSC Financial Aid office assists students in securing adequate funding for their educational-related college expenses from a variety of sources.  Appointments can be made by stopping on (the 1st floor of Schafer Hall) or calling 701-224-5494. 
We encourage you to apply for financial aid as soon as possible.  To access the free online FAFSA form please log onto:
Surgical Technology Program-specific approximate expenses include: (as of 9/2022)
Textbooks $465
Shoes $100-200
CastleBranch Tracker $166.00
Immunizations Varies depending on student
myClinicalExchange $39.50
Clinical and Internship Expenses Varies greatly depending on travel
NDBON UAP Registration $250
Finger Printing $25
BCI BG Check $41.25
Laptop (No Chromebooks) $500
Attendance during the Surgical Technology Program is mandatory for all didactic, lab, and clinical hours. Frequent absences or tardiness will not be tolerated. Work is not considered an excuse for absence.
Outside Employment:
Due to the demands of this full-time Program, student employment may be challenging while in the Surgical Technology Program, especially during the final, spring semester. Students will be at the clinical facility Monday-Friday, 40 hours per week, and some call hours.  If a student deems it necessary to be employed outside of the program it is expected that work schedules will be arranged to not impact negatively on the student’s clinical training.  Students will not be excused from class or clinical assignments for personal work schedules.

Surgical Technology Program Student Work Policy:
The clinical component of the program shall be educational in nature therefore students shall not be substituted for paid staff personnel during the clinical component of the program.  However, after demonstrating proficiency, students will be permitted to undertake certain activities with appropriate supervision and direction.  Students hired at the institution they are performing their clinicals at, may be moved to another institution to avoid confusion amongst the staff and student about their roles.
Contact Information:
For additional information or questions, please contact the Surgical Technology Program Director:
            Trudy Riehl, CST, FAST | 701.224.5756 |        

Program Outcomes Thresholds, Reporting, and Assessment

The Surgical Technology Program of Bismarck State College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
9355 113th St. N, Suite 7709, Seminole, FL 33775
727-210-2350 (
Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting
19571 East Mainstreet, Suite #339, Parker, CO 80138
303-694-9262 (
Individuals who graduate from an accredited program are eligible to take the certification examination offered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

The ARC/STSA has established the following outcomes thresholds as the minimum criteria to maintain compliance with the Standard. Programs are required to track outcomes for all cohorts using the ARC/STSA Outcomes Tracking Tool (OTT). Outcomes thresholds are reported for cohort(s) completing within the ARC/STSA reporting year (August 1 to July 31).
The ARC/STSA required established minimum outcomes thresholds for compliance for surgical technology and surgical assisting programs for five Outcomes-Based Assessment (OBA) areas:

1. Retention
2. Outcomes Assessment Examination (OAE)
3. Graduate Placement
4. Employer Satisfaction
5. Graduate Satisfaction
1. Retention: 60% for retention percentages are determined by dividing the number of graduates by the total number of original students enrolled in the program plus students added to the cohort (reenter/transfer-in due to repeating courses, return from LOA, etc.), then multiplying that number by 100. Student enrollment is defined by the ARC/STSA as the entry date into the Surgical Technology or Surgical Assisting program. Students who have delayed completion timeframes, based on the on-time completion/graduation date determined in the original enrollment agreement, due to course repetition, leaves of absence [LOA], etc. are calculated into their original on-time completion cohort for retention as attrition.

2. Outcomes Assessment Examination (OAE) Participation and Pass Rate: 70% Pass Rate and 100% Participation Rate percentages are determined by the total number of students graduating and the number who passed the CST® certification examination on the first attempt. Standard V.A.4. requires that the sponsoring institution [school] publish, maintain, and make accessible to the public on its website programmatic outcomes. This information is published on the BSC Surgical Technology Program Website and in the current BSC Catalog and is consistent with the most recent Annual Report filed with the ARC/STSA.

3. Graduate Placement: 80% Positive Placement [Employment] is determined by graduate placement [employment] statistics. Graduates are counted once, using the following categories:
• Placed in the field of surgical technology/surgical assisting or a related field* or on Active Military Duty • Continued Education
• Placed in the field of surgical technology or a related field AND continued education *Placement in a related field requires the use of knowledge and skills acquired via the curriculum offered in the surgical technology or surgical assisting program, e.g., Wound Clinic, OR Educator.
The sum of the three categories above is calculated as the total number of graduates placed. Graduate placement percentages are determined by dividing the number of placed graduates by the total number of graduates and multiplying that number by 100.

4. Employer Satisfaction: 50% for return rate and 70% for satisfaction rate percentages are determined by Employer satisfaction results and are solicited for all graduates in the cohort reported to be placed in the field or a related field. The standardized ARC/STSA Employer Survey Form is used for data collection and reporting employer satisfaction on the program’s Annual Report. The BSC Surgical Technology Program utilizes the ARC/STSA Employer Survey Form in an online survey tool that mirrors the ARC/STSA standardized form exactly. Employer Surveys are administered in the fall, following the graduation of the cohort. The Employer Satisfaction Survey must have 7 out of the 10 questions rated 3 or greater on the 5- point Likert scale to be considered a “satisfactory” survey.
The employer satisfaction rating is calculated by dividing the number of satisfactory surveys by the total number of surveys returned, then multiplying that number by 100.

5. Graduate satisfaction: 50% Survey Return Rate and 70% Satisfaction Rate percentages are determined by soliciting graduate satisfaction results for all graduates in the cohort. The BSC Surgical Technology Program uses the standardized ARC/STSA Employer Survey Form for data collection and reporting employer satisfaction on the program’s Annual Report. Programs may utilize the ARC/STSA Employer Survey Form as a template to develop an online survey tool that mirrors the ARC/STSA standardized form exactly. Graduate Surveys may be administered immediately upon completion of the program. A Graduate Satisfaction Survey should have 7 out of the 10 questions rated 3 or greater on the 5- point Likert scale to be considered a “satisfactory” survey. To calculate the graduate satisfaction rating, divide the number of satisfactory surveys by the total number of surveys returned, then multiply that number by 100.