How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Maryland

Becoming a surgical technologist is an exciting and important career, as you will be responsible for keeping things running smoothly in the operating room, assisting the surgeon and other members of the surgical team. Surgical technologists, or ‘surgical techs’ as they are often called, also ensure the operating room is sanitary and that all surgical equipment is set up properly, prepare patients for surgery and take them to the recovery room post-op. Throughout the duration of the procedure, surgical techs will be responsible for handing instruments to the surgeon as they are needed. [En Español]

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There are only a few states in the U.S. that require surgical techs to be registered and nine states that set minimum standards for education and certification of surgical technologists. Maryland is not one of these states. However, because there is such a need for surgical techs in Maryland and throughout the United States, becoming a certified surgical technologist is a good idea. In order to become a certified surgical technologists you will need to complete a training program that is accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Surgical Technology Programs in Maryland

With the ever-growing need for surgical technologists in Maryland, there are quite a few accredited surgical tech program options throughout the state. While some employers in Maryland do not require formal schooling, earning a certificate or degree in surgical technology will prepare you to take the national exam and provide you with work experience in the field, since most surgical tech programs include surgical externships. To qualify for admission to any surgical tech school in Maryland you will need to supply the following:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Criminal background check without any convictions that disqualify you from working in healthcare
  • Fingerprints
  • Proof of citizenship or legal residency
  • Physical exam
  • Negative TB test
  • Proof of immunizations
  • Negative drug test

If hired as a surgical technologist before completing your full schooling, many employers will offer tuition reimbursement.

Below are a few accredited choices for surgical technology programs in Maryland:

  • Community College of Baltimore County. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, CCBC offers a Continuing Education Certificate program for those interested in becoming a certified surgical technologist. Within this 13- to 18-month program, students will learn medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, basic math for healthcare workers, surgical pathology and surgical technology, among others. Program requirements can be found here.
  • Frederick Community College. Located in Frederick, Maryland, FCC offers both an associate’s degree and certificate in Surgical Technology, accredited by the CAAHEP. Enrollment for the certificate program is limited to 20 students per period, and it is a selective admissions program, which means that students will need to meet all of the minimum pre-requisites to be considered for the program including BI 103, BI 103 and medical terminology as well as a communication course. Students must also obtain a “C” or higher average in each course. The 60- to 65-credit Surgical Technology A.A.S. degree program is also a selective admission program. Students who are not accepted into the program the first go-round should begin with the Pre-Health Professionals Pre-Surgical Technology Pathway.
  • Anne Arundel Community College. AACC in Arnold, Maryland, offers an associate’s degree program in Surgical Technology that can be completed in as little as two years. This degree program is accredited by the CAAHEP, and upon completion students will be eligible to sit for the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) exam. Additionally, students will have the skills necessary to obtain a job in a hospital or surgical center.

Surgical Technologist Certification in Maryland

Upon completion of a surgical technology program that is either CAAHEP or ABHES accredited, you will be eligible to sit for the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) exam.

Before taking the test you will need to provide ONE of the following:

  • A notarized letter (on institutional letterhead) from the Program Director which states your name, date of graduation, and type of degree awarded
  • A copy of your graduation certificate
  • Transcript (Transcripts do not have to be official; however, NBSTSA reserves the right to request an official transcript.)

Once you take and pass the NBSTSA exam you will hold the title of Certified Surgical Technologist, or CST. Before taking the test, you will need to pay the exam fees. If you are a member of the AST, the NBSTSA exam fee is $190. Non-AST members must pay $290. Upon receiving your certification, it will need to be renewed every four years by taking 60 continued education hours throughout the four years or by retaking and passing the NBSTSA exam. If you opt to retake the exam you will need to pay the exam fees.

Job Outlook and Salary Expectations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Maryland offers a high employment growth rate for surgical technologists, with the Baltimore, Columbia and Towson areas having the most plentiful job opportunities. If one lives in the Columbia or Towson area it is not a difficult option to hop on the metro to Washington, D.C. for an employment opportunity, since the District of Columbia is the fourth top-paying state for this occupation. In 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Maryland employed 1,810 surgical technologists. Employment is expected to rise by 23 percent in the ten years to 2028.

With the average salary for surgical technologists in Maryland at $26.42 per hour, many surgical techs make over $30 an hour. Depending on location and experience, surgical technologists in Maryland can expect to earn anywhere from $37,020 to as much as $82,110 per year in metropolitan areas such as Washington-Arlington-Alexandria. The highest earners in the state make more than $76,030 as surgical techs. This salary information is based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.

Working as a Surgical Technologist in Maryland

Since there are many metropolitan hubs in Maryland such as Towson, Baltimore, Columbia, Frederick, Silver Spring, Rockville and even the District and Columbia, there are a wide variety of opportunities for employment as a surgical technologist throughout the state. In Maryland, a surgical tech can be found working in a variety of different locations including hospitals, outpatient surgery clinics, birthing centers, oral surgery clinics as well as plastic surgery offices and clinics.

If, as a surgical technologist, you decide you’d prefer to work in a hospital, you will have the opportunity to focus on a specialty such as thoracic surgery, colon and rectal, obstetrics and gynecology, neurological, oral, orthopedic, vascular, urology and more. As you can see, there are a range of specialties to choose from, but if you’d prefer to be a “floater” who works in many areas, that is is also an option.

If you’re ready to begin your career as a surgical technologist in Maryland, now is the ideal time to get started. Not only is this a rewarding career that will also provide a financially stable future, the growth rate for the field continues to increase, and training does not take long to complete.

College Programs

Baltimore-Towson, MD Area

Anne Arundel Community College

101 College Pky, Arnold, Maryland 21012-1895
(410) 777-2222
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

Anne Arundel Community College’s Associate-level Surgical Technology program is taught at their campus in Arnold in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. This public college has in the order of 14,689 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $4,564 and are $7,564 and $12,334 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost about $1,602, depending on the program chosen.

Baltimore City Community College

2901 Liberty Heights Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21215-7893
(410) 462-8300
Surgical Technologist – Associate Program

Baltimore City Community College’s Associate program is based at their campus in the city of Baltimore. This public college has in the order of 4,060 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $2,578 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $6,070 yearly. Study materials can cost about $2,000, depending on the program chosen.

The Community College of Baltimore County

7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, Maryland 21237
(443) 840-2222
Surgical Technologist – Certificate Program

The Community College of Baltimore County’s Certificate-level Surgical Technologist program is offered at their campus in Baltimore in Baltimore County. The majority of of the school’s 22,179 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-district students are generally about $3,868 and are $6,812 and $10,082 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,430, although this will depend on the program.

Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD Metropolitan Division Area

Frederick Community College

7932 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, Maryland 21702-2964
(301) 846-2400
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Frederick Community College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Frederick. The majority of of the school’s 6,197 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition fees for in-district students are usually around $3,450 and are $6,810 and $9,018 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

Montgomery College

51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, Maryland 20850
(240) 567-5000
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Montgomery College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Rockville. This public college has around 25,320 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $4,902 and are $9,474 and $12,894 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,378, depending on the program chosen.

Upper Eastern Shore Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Chesapeake College

1000 College Circle, Wye Mills, Maryland 21679-0008
(410) 822-5400
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Chesapeake College is based at their campus in Wye Mills in Talbot County. Most of the school’s 2,264 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-district students are usually about $3,820 and are $5,512 and $7,360 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost in the order of $943, depending on the program chosen.

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Area

Prince George’s Community College

301 Largo Rd, Largo, Maryland 20774-2199
(301) 546-7422
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

Prince George’s Community College’s Associate-level Surgical Technology program is offered at their campus in Largo in Prince George’S County, Maryland. Most of the school’s 13,228 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $3,650 and are $5,762 and $8,090 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost about $1,500, although this will depend on the 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 Maryland may also wish to review their options in Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.