A surgical assistant, also known as Certified Surgical Technologist First Assistant or CSTFA, is an advanced technologist and a surgeon’s assistant at the same time. He serves as the immediate assistant of surgeons in performing any surgery. To become a first assistant certified surgical tech, an accredited surgical assistant certification is a must. A 350 hour healthcare experience is also required to become eligible. If you want to, you can already start your studying as a certified surgical technologist while seeking apprenticeship and certification.
If you want to get promoted from simply being a CST to a CSTFA, here are the some steps you can do.
- Look for an accredited surgical assisting education program. Check for its prerequisites. To pursue an educational training program, you can pick an accredited institution from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or its equivalent agency in your state. Browse the Internet for their respective websites and search for the one nearest to you.
- Read through all the requirements and pass them for enrollment. Include in your portfolio your medical background, CPR certifications, and other related diplomas that you have.
- Finish the surgical assisting educational program and get the certification. Afterwards, you can now apply for the surgical first assistant certification exam created and facilitated by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).
- Print a copy of the application form provided in the NBSTSA website. Fill it out. Do not fax the form since they only allow original signatures in the application package. Identify the forms that require a signature from two different surgeons or surgical supervisors and have them duly signed. You must have the forms notarized before you personally submit them to the NBSTSA office. Bring the original documents of the submitted requirements to show proof of your qualification.
- Pay the testing fee of P$190 for AST members and $290 for non-members. You have the option to pay them personally or via an online transaction. For online payment, MasterCard or Visa is accepted. Choose from either of the two since credit card authorization over the phone is not accepted. It will take 4-6 weeks for the Board to review your application and process it. If found ineligible, your fee will be refunded minus the processing amount.
- If you pass the application process, you can now take the examination. The schedule depends on your appointment and will be taken using a computer. Your success or failure largely depends on your knowledge and how you manage your time. Since the test is computer-based, you can skip questions, change your answer, or mark questions for review. Just bear in mind that the whole exam has a four hour limitation.
- Once you pass the test, complete the necessary licensing documents required by your state or country’s health agency. Make sure that you renew your certification every four years by taking certifying exams through submission of a continuing education diploma or certification.
Becoming a certified first assistant surgical tech is a challenging
task. However, it is a highly rewarding job in terms of income and