How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Minnesota

A surgical technologist is an allied healthcare professional who works side-by-side with surgeons and nurses in the operating room. They prepare and sterilize the room and instruments, make sure equipment works and lend an extra hand during procedures. They play an active and important role in making surgeries safer for patients. If you think this could be your new career, learn more about what it takes to become a surgical tech in Minnesota. [En Español]

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Requirements for Working as a Surgical Tech in Minnesota

The state of Minnesota is like many other states in that it does not regulate surgical technology. The state government has not set any minimum standards for education or training and has left it up to employers to decide what skills, education and experience job candidates should have in order to be hired. Many employers will only hire surgical techs that have completed an accredited post-secondary program. Others will also require that candidates are certified surgical technologists, a certification that is given through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

NBSTSA Certification for Surgical Technologists

Many employers will only hire certified surgical technologists, or CSTs, because certification ensures that an individual has the skills and knowledge needed to do the job. NBSTSA offers this certification through an exam. You can become a CST if you pass the exam, but to be eligible to take it you must first complete an education program with Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) accreditation. Certification must be renewed every four years by showing proof of having completed 15 credit hours of continuing education per year.

Minnesota Schools for Surgical Technology

Although there are no state standards for surgical technologists, individuals are encouraged to complete a course of study and pursue national certification to become a CST. This will give you the best start in this career and ensure you are a good candidate for jobs. Some of the accredited programs available in Minnesota include:

  • St. Cloud Technical and Community College, St. Cloud. At St. Cloud, students can choose between a 49-credit diploma program and a 60-credit associate degree program in surgical technology. Program graduates are prepared to pass the CST exam. The program has a 100 percent success rate in placing graduates in jobs.
  • Minnesota West Community and Technical College, multiple campuses. There are several locations for students to choose from and to complete Minnesota West’s two-year associate degree program in surgical technology. The job placement rate for graduates of this program is 90 percent, and CST pass rate is 100 percent.
  • Rochester Community and Technical College, Rochester. Also an associate degree program, Rochester students take 60 credits of coursework, including general studies and surgical tech coursework. Students also participate in hands-on work experience in clinical settings, including the Mayo Clinic hospitals.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

If you pursue a career as a surgical technologist in Minnesota, you can look forward to job security. There is great demand for qualified professionals in this field, and the state is expecting more than 10 percent growth between 2016 and 2026. The number of jobs for surgical techs is projected to increase by 240 during that time period.

You can also expect to earn a good income in this career. Average salaries for surgical techs in Minnesota are higher than the national average. In 2019, the average hourly rate in the state was $28.89, and the average annual salary was $60,090. Compare this to the national average income for surgical technologists of $50,110, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Working as a Surgical Technologist in Minnesota

As a surgical tech you will most likely be hired to work with surgeons in a hospital, either in one specialty area or in general surgeries. However, you may also find a job in a doctor’s office or a dental office, if they do procedures, or in ambulatory surgery centers.

You will find the greatest opportunities for jobs in and around Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Rochester, the largest cities in the state. The largest hospitals in the state provide great opportunities, and these include the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis. Start your new career in surgical technology with an educational program and you will be ready to start working within two years or less.

College Programs

Duluth, MN-WI Area

Lake Superior College

2101 Trinity Rd, Duluth, Minnesota 55811-3399
(800) 432-2884
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Lake Superior College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Duluth, Minnesota. This public college has round 4,862 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 about $5,096 and for students from other states in the order of $9,470 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,500, although this will vary with the program.

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Area

Anoka Technical College

1355 Highway 10 West, Anoka, Minnesota 55303
(763) 433-1100
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Anoka Technical College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Anoka in Anoka County, MN. The college has approximately 2,027 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are around $5,534 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $1,200, depending on the program chosen.

Northwest Minnesota Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Northland Community and Technical College

1101 Hwy One East, Thief River Falls, Minnesota 56701
(218) 683-8800
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Surgical Technology Associate’s program in Surgical Technology at Northland Community and Technical College is based at their campus in the town of Thief River Falls. Most of the school’s 3,573 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are around $5,484 annually, while books and supplies may cost around $1,000, although this varies from program to program.

Rochester, MN Area

Rochester Community and Technical College

851 30th Ave SE, Rochester, Minnesota 55904-4999
(507) 285-7210
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

Rochester Community and Technical College’s Associate-level Surgical Technology program is offered at their campus in the city of Rochester, Minnesota. The college has approximately 5,584 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are generally around $5,588 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,600, although this will depend on the program.

Southwest Minnesota Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Minnesota West Community and Technical College

1593 11th Ave, Granite Falls, Minnesota 56241
(800) 658-2330
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Minnesota West Community and Technical College is offered at their campus in the town of Granite Falls, Minnesota. The majority of of the school’s 3,026 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $5,640 and for out-of-state students approximately $10,736 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,200, although this will depend on the program.

St. Cloud, MN Area

Rasmussen College-Minnesota

226 Park Avenue South, St. Cloud, Minnesota 56301-3713
(320) 251-5600
Surgical Technologist – Associate Program

The Surgical Technologist Associate’s degree program in Surgical Technologist at Rasmussen College is offered at their Minnesota campus in the city of St. Cloud. The college has about 5,385 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition are about $9,360 annually, while study materials may cost around $1,575, depending on the program.

St Cloud Technical and Community College

1540 Northway Drive, Saint Cloud, Minnesota 56303-1240
(320) 308-5000
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

St Cloud Technical and Community College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are based at their campus in the city of Saint Cloud. This public college has about 4,701 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. Fees for tuition are, as a rough guide, about $5,295 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,200, 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 Minnesota may also wish to review their options in Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.