How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Arkansas

Surgical technologists are healthcare professionals who play a specific and important role on the surgical team. They are busy working before surgery begins and still after it is long over, to ensure that the surgery runs safely and smoothly. Surgical techs have many responsibilities before, during and after surgery. These include:

  • Cleaning and sterilizing surgical instruments and the operating room
  • Preparing the patient for surgery by cleaning, sterilizing and shaving the surgical site if needed
  • Counting the instruments and supplies during surgery
  • Handing instruments and supplies to the surgeon during surgery
  • Disposing of supplies during and after surgery and taking specimens to the lab
  • Taking the patient from the operating room to recovery
  • Cleaning the operating room, equipment and instruments after surgery
  • Restocking the operating room for the next surgery

If you are interested in a career in healthcare that is exciting and hands-on, you should consider becoming a surgical technologist in Arkansas. [En Español]

Requirements to Be a Surgical Tech in Arkansas

In 2017, legislation was passed that requires surgical technologists to register in the state of Arkansas. Registration is regulated by the Arkansas State Medical Board. To apply to register as a surgical technologist in the state you must complete an accredited surgical technology education program and hold national certification, or you must have completed a surgical technology training program while in the army.

National Certification for Surgical Technologists

To register as a surgical technologist in the state of Arkansas you must first pass a national certification exam. This certification can be received through either the National Board of Surgical Technology and Assisting (NBSTSA) or the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).

The locations in which you can take the NBSTSA exam in Arkansas are in Fayetteville and Little Rock as well as North Arkansas College in Harrison. Taking an accredited surgical technology certificate or degree program is mandatory to take the NBSTSA exam. This certification must be renewed every four years by showing proof of having taken 60 continued education credit hours during that time or by retaking the exam.

There are several ways to become eligible to take the NCCT exam. You can take the exam if you are currently enrolled in or have recently graduated from a surgical technology program. You also qualify if you are already working as a surgical technologist or if you have completed surgical technology training while in the military. NCCT certification must be renewed annually.

Arkansas Schools for Surgical Technology

To become certified and registered as a surgical technologist in Arkansas you will need to complete an educational program that has been accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). These programs will offer students both classroom study and clinical experience and can generally be completed in one to two years. There are seven colleges in Arkansas that offer accredited programs, including:

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). The surgical technology program at UAMS in Little Rock can be taken either full time or part time. The full-time program is completed in three semesters and the part-time program in five. The program is comprised of 70 credits: 39 prerequisite courses and 31 surgical technology courses. Sixteen students are admitted into the program each fall semester, and those who graduate will receive an Associate of Science (AS) in surgical technology.
  • Baptist Health College. Baptist Health College, also in Little Rock, offers students the choice of a certificate program or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program. To obtain an AAS degree you will need to take 31 credit hours of general education hours first. The certificate program can be completed in one year and the AAS degree program in two. This is a full-time program that includes classroom and clinical hours. Classes begin in January and July of each year.
  • North Arkansas College. At North Arkansas College in Harrison students can receive either a technical certificate or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in surgical technology. The program prepares students to take the NBSTSA exam and to work as surgical techs through classroom instruction and hands-on surgical experience. The certificate program consists of 31 credit hours that can be completed in one year, and the AAS degree program is 60 credit hours that can be completed in two years.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Surgical technology careers in Arkansas will increase at a rate of 8.9 percent in the ten years to 2028, very close to the projected national growth of 9 percent. In 2019, 1,310 surgical technologists were working in the state.

In 2019, the average hourly salary for surgical techs in the state was $19.69, and the average annual salary was $40,960. Actual salary can depend on several factors, including experience and location. More experienced surgical techs within the state can make as much as $58,180 annually.

Working as a Surgical Technologist in Arkansas

As a surgical technologist in Arkansas you can expect to find work in places such as hospitals and surgery centers. You may find work in dental and physician offices as well, if they perform minor surgical procedures. If you work in a hospital, you can expect to be on your feet for long periods of time, as you will likely be busy in surgeries during most of your shift. You can expect more jobs to be available in larger cities like Fayetteville and Little Rock.

Once you have completed an accredited program, passed a national certification exam and registered as a surgical tech with the state, you will be ready to work as a surgical technologist in Arkansas.

College Programs

 

East Arkansas Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Arkansas State University-Newport

7648 Victory Blvd, Newport, Arkansas 72112
(870) 512-7800
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Arkansas State University is taught at their Newport campus in Newport in Jackson County, AR. Most of the school’s 2,651 students are on 2-year programs. The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $2,689 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $4,105 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,872, depending on the program.

Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO Area

Northwest Technical Institute

709 S Old Missouri Rd, Springdale, Arkansas 72764
(479) 751-8824 x0
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Northwest Technical Institute is offered at their campus in the city of Springdale, AR. This public college has approximately 186 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Tuition fees are generally around $2,321 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,500, although this will depend on the program.

Fort Smith, AR-OK Area

University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

5210 Grand Ave, Fort Smith, Arkansas 72913-3649
(479) 788-7000
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Surgical Technology Associate’s degree program in Surgical Technology at University of Arkansas is based at their Fort Smith campus in the city of Fort Smith, AR. This is a full, 4-year public college with 6,720 students, of which 100% are undergraduates. The University of Arkansas-Fort Smith has institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be around $5,390 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $12,038 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,605, although this varies from program to program.

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Area

Baptist Health College-Little Rock

11900 Col Glenn Rd Ste 1000, Little Rock, Arkansas 72210-2820
(501) 202-6200
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Baptist Health College’s Certificate program is offered at their Little Rock campus in the city of Little Rock, AR. The college, which has a Baptist religious affiliation,, which has a Baptist religious affiliation, has approximately 663 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Tuition fees are around $9,194 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $2,425, although this varies from program to program.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

4301 W Markham, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205-7199
(501) 296-1275
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Surgical Technology Associate’s program in Surgical Technology at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is based at their campus in the city of Little Rock. This is a full, 4-year public college with 3,021 students, of which 26% are undergraduates. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-state students is around $7,877 and for out-of-state students in the order of $15,893 per year.

Pine Bluff, AR Area

Southeast Arkansas College

1900 Hazel St., Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71603
(870) 543-5900
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Southeast Arkansas College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. This public college has roughly 1,548 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $3,190 and for out-of-state students in the order of $5,830 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,300, depending on the program.

South Arkansas Nonmetropolitan Area Area

South Arkansas Community College

300 S West Ave, El Dorado, Arkansas 71731-7010
(870) 862-8131
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

South Arkansas Community College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the town of El Dorado, AR. This public college has roughly 1,558 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $2,508 and are $2,820 and $4,644 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $1,641, although this varies from program to program.

West Arkansas Nonmetropolitan Area Area

North Arkansas College

1515 Pioneer Dr, Harrison, Arkansas 72601-5508
(870) 743-3000
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

North Arkansas College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are based at their campus in the town of Harrison, Arkansas. This public college has in the region of 1,796 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $2,088 and are $2,664 and $4,368 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $1,142, although this varies from program to program.

* Tuition fees and accredition status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college before applying.

Neighbor States

Residents of Arkansas may also wish to review their options in Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee.