Note: This certificate program is not currently enrolling new students.

First assistants and surgical assistants provide aid to help surgeons conduct a safe operation with optimal results for the patient. In addition to intra-operative duties, surgical assistants perform pre-operative and post-operative duties to facilitate proper patient care.

The Surgical Technology First Assistant certificate encompasses the basic elements of first assisting. Most of the courses are delivered online. However, some courses include simulated laboratory experiences on campus.

To be admitted to the certificate program, prospective students must meet these qualifications:

  • minimum of an associate’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, with completion of basic college-level science courses within the past seven years
  • certified as a Surgical Technologist (CST)
  • three years full-time experience in scrub and/or assisting, within the last five years
  • provide proof of current CPR Certification for Healthcare Providers, liability insurance, and updated immunizations.

Related Programs

Surgical Technology (ST)


Program Chair

Career Outlook

Representative Job Titles For Graduates

  • Surgical Technologist First Assistant

Graduate Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, through 2022, surgical technology employment opportunities are expected to increase by 30% (much faster than average).

$41,790 annually

Graduate Starting Salary Projections


Program Chair


Effective 2023-2024 academic year

Surgical Technology First Assistant Certificate (STFA)

Program Prerequisites: Associate’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university; certified as a Surgical Technologist, with three years full-time scrub and/or assisting experience within the last five years; CPR/BLS certified; and courses BIO 220 Microbiology, BIO 240 Pathophysiology, IM 100 Computer Literacy, and MCH 101 Medical Terminology 1.

Semester 1 Lec Lab Credits
PST 135 Disaster Preparedness for Healthcare Workers 2 0 2
STFA 150 Perioperative Bioscience 3 0 3
STFA 155 Principles of First Assisting 2 3 3
Semester 2
STFA 161 Surgical Specialties 1 7 0 7
STFA 181 First Assisting Clinical 1 1 12 2
Semester 3
STFA 162 Surgical Specialties 2 7 0 7
STFA 182 First Assisting Clinical 2 1 12 2
Total Credits: 23 27 26

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