How to Become a Surgical Technologist in North Dakota

Working as a surgical technologist will require a great deal of stamina, perseverance and resilience. You may need to stand for long periods of time, remain pleasant and encouraging to patients who are in varying emotional states, and maintain a keen sense of focus throughout the operation process. Surgical technologists sterilize operating rooms before and after surgical procedures, ensure that medical equipment is properly placed before an operation begins, assist patients with entering the operating room and play an important role in the post-op process. [En Español]

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Requirements for Becoming a Surgical Technologist in North Dakota

A few states have recently passed legislation regulating the practice of surgical technology. North Dakota requires surgical technologists to register with the North Dakota Board of Nursing by completing a registration application and submitting a $50 application fee. Along with the registration application, surgical technologists must either provide official transcripts from a board-recognized formal training program or provide proof of current national certification. Without meeting these requirements, you will not be allowed to practice in North Dakota.

It is also important to note that when you initially register with the state, you will be expected to renew registration on or before June 30th of the second year of your registration. After this initial renewal, you will be expected to renew registration with the state every two years, by verifying that you have been employed as a surgical technologist and submitting verification of competence by an employer or licensed nurse. This information will need to be submitted prior to your registry’s expiration.

To get things started off properly, it will be in your best interest to attend a surgical technology training program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Completing a training program from either of these lists will allow you to practice surgical technology in North Dakota. You will also be eligible to sit for the voluntary national exam that will certify you as a surgical technologist.

Some surgical tech training programs will include hands-on experience as part of their curriculum, while others will not. Completing an internship may not be a requirement of your employer when you begin your job search, but this real-world experience will boost your level of expertise and could put you a step ahead of your peers. It will show employers that you are not only proactive but also qualified to get the job done. Taking this initiative could lead to higher pay or an increase in job offers. Network with colleagues in the medical field or reach out to local medical centers for opportunities to job-shadow.

North Dakota Schools for Surgical Technologists

The ABHES currently lists no accredited schools for surgical technology in North Dakota; however, the CAAHEP lists one program:

  • Bismarck State College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology, which can be completed in just two years. Students will take courses in medical terminology, general pathology, microbiology and more. An operating room clinical internship is included in this program’s curriculum, and tuition is currently about $4,000 per year for North Dakota residents.

National Certification for Surgical Technologists

To register as a surgical technologist with the state of North Dakota, you have the option to submit verification of your status as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). Some states require this certification, while North Dakota offers you the alternative to submit official transcripts from a board-approved training program. Earning the CST credential will make you stand out to potential employers, as it helps to exemplify your skill level. In some cases, you may receive a higher salary offer as a result of this certification.

The CST certification process is handled by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). You will need to pay a $290 exam fee and provide documentation that you’ve completed a surgical tech training program that is accredited by the CAAHEP or the ABHES. Training programs completed in the military are also recognized by the NBSTSA.

Every four years, you will need to recertify as a CST in order to maintain this title. You can do this by retaking the exam. Alternatively, you may choose to provide proof of at least 60 completed credit hours of continued education during the four-year period between exams.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

According to Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) data, there were 300 surgical technologists working in North Dakota during 2016. By 2026, the same data indicates there will be an estimated 50 jobs added to the field in this state. This means there will be a 17.3 percent increase in surgical tech jobs in North Dakota between 2016 and 2026.

On average, surgical technologists in North Dakota earned $22.65 per hour, or $47,110 annually, in May 2019 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. The highest paid surgical techs in this state earn $62,040 per year according to the same data.

Working as a Surgical Technologist in North Dakota

The surgical technology job market is not expected to slow down anytime soon. The BLS reports there will be 12 percent national growth in this field by 2026.

Becoming a specialized surgical technologist will allow you to develop a new level of interest in your craft. You will be able to participate exclusively in particular surgeries like gastric bypass surgery, labor and delivery operations, cosmetic surgery and more. You can expect to find work in hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics or other medical facilities where surgery is performed and important medical tools are handled.

North Dakota surgical techs earn the most in cities like West Fargo, Mandan and Bismarck, among others.

If you enjoy playing a significant role in high-intensity environments where human life is the top priority, you may excel as a surgical technologist.

College Programs

Bismarck, ND Area

Bismarck State College

1500 Edwards Ave., Bismarck, North Dakota 58506-5587
(701) 224-5400
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s program in Surgical Technology at Bismarck State College can be taken at their campus in the city of Bismarck, North Dakota. The majority of of the school’s 4,078 students are on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly around $3,659 and for out-of-state students around $8,528 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,100, although this will vary with the program.

Fargo, ND-MN Area

Rasmussen College-North Dakota

4012 19th Avenue SW, Fargo, North Dakota 58103-7196
(701) 277-3889
Surgical Technologist – Associate Program

The Associate’s degree program in Surgical Technologist at Rasmussen College is based at their North Dakota campus in the city of Fargo, ND. Most of the school’s 603 students are on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition is likely to be in the order of $9,360 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,575, although this will vary with 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 North Dakota may also wish to review their options in Montana, South Dakota and Minnesota.