How to Become a Surgical Technologist in New Jersey

Surgical technology is a growing career field and an exciting option for young people and those looking for a job switch. It doesn’t take a four-year degree to be qualified to do the work, and the reward is being able to work hands-on in the healthcare industry, making a real difference in the lives of patients. In New Jersey, there are a few simple requirements to begin a career in surgical technology. [En Español]

Definition of Surgical Technologist in New Jersey

According to New Jersey state law, a surgical technologist is someone who prepares operating rooms for surgical procedures, ensures equipment is working properly, and maintains sterile equipment and instruments. A surgical tech also works side-by-side with surgeons and other medical professionals in the operating room, anticipating what the surgeon will need and handing instruments and tools as needed. According to the law, an individual must be authorized to fill these roles.

Requirements to Work as a Surgical Tech in New Jersey

New Jersey is one of few states that actually sets requirements for the surgical technology profession. The requirements are fairly simple, though, and if you want to work in this role in the state you only have to meet one of the following:

  • Have successfully earned a certificate or degree in surgical technology from an accredited program
  • Hold certification in surgical technology from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA)
  • Have completed surgical technology training while serving in the armed forces
  • Be a surgical technologist working for the federal government

If you meet one of these qualifications and begin working as a surgical tech in New Jersey, you will be required to take 15 credits of continuing education courses every year. Employers are responsible for verifying that you meet requirements and have completed these courses.

National Certification for Surgical Technology

One of the most common options for becoming a surgical technologist is to become certified through the NBSTSA. This national organization certifies individuals who pass the exam. To qualify to take the exam you must complete a surgical technology certificate or associate degree program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Certification must be renewed every four years, and renewal requires 15 continuing education credits per year.

New Jersey Schools for Surgical Technology

Completing an accredited program in surgical technology will qualify you to work in this role in New Jersey. You may choose to become certified after completing a degree or certificate, but it is not required. There are a few schools in the state offering accredited programs.

  • Bergen Community College, Paramus. Students who complete the Bergen certificate program in surgical technology pass the NBSTSA certification exam at a rate of 94 percent. Students in the program learn in a classroom setting and also do hands-on practical work in clinical settings, completing 120 or more surgical cases before graduating.
  • Berkeley College, Woodland Park. The Berkeley program is an associate degree program that takes about two years to complete. With a passing rate that is higher than average for certification, students who graduate are prepared to achieve national certification. Coursework includes an operating room clinical practicum.
  • Sussex County Community College, Newton. The two-semester surgical technology program at Sussex offers students a one-year path to being ready to work in the field and get certified. The program is competitive and not everyone who applies is admitted. Classroom learning is supplemented with clinical rotations at several nearby medical centers and hospitals.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The outlook for careers in surgical technology in New Jersey is positive. It is a growing field with more demand for qualified workers every year. In 2016 in New Jersey there were 2,190 working surgical technologists, and by 2026 there are projected to be 2,410. This represents nearly 10 percent growth in the industry and hundreds of new jobs for those training right now.

The salary expectations are also positive for prospective surgical technologists. Those working in New Jersey in 2019 enjoyed an average annual income of $54,660. This is considerably higher than the national average salary of $50,110. With more experience and certification, and depending on your employer, you can expect to earn more.

Working as a Surgical Technologist in New Jersey

More than 70 percent of surgical technologists work in hospitals. Some work in all types of surgery, while others specialize and work with specialist surgeons and physicians. In addition to hospitals, surgical techs may be employed by physician offices, dental offices and ambulatory surgery centers. The most opportunities for employment in the state are in large population centers outside of New York City and in and around Newark and Jersey City.

With just a year or two of training and by passing a certification exam, you can be prepare to work in the exciting field of surgical technology in New Jersey, while also enjoying job security and a great salary.

College Programs

 

Camden, NJ Metropolitan Division Area

Camden County College

200 College Drive, Blackwood, New Jersey 08012
(856) 227-7200
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Surgical Technology Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Camden County College can be taken at their campus in Blackwood in Camden County, New Jersey. The college has about 11,263 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is about $4,320 and for students from other states around $4,440 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,600, depending on the program.

Harris School of Business-Voorhees Campus

401 White Horse Rd., Voorhees, New Jersey 08043
(856) 309-3701
Surgical Technologist – Certificate Program

The Surgical Technologist Certificate program in Surgical Technologist at Harris School of Business is based at their Voorhees campus in Voorhees in Camden County. This private, for-profit college has about 406 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees for the Surgical Technologist program are usually in the order of $28,710 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $800. Typically, the program is completed in 14 months.

Edison-New Brunswick, NJ Metropolitan Division Area

American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education

4500 New Brunswick Ave, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854
(908) 222-0002
Surgical Technologist – Certificate Program

American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education’s Certificate program in Surgical Technologist is based at their campus in Piscataway in Middlesex County, New Jersey. This private, for-profit college has round 352 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools. The cost of tuition is in the order of $32,125 per year, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $1,375, although this varies from program to program.

Branford Hall Career Institute-North Brunswick

651 US Route 1, South 1st Floor, North Brunswick, New Jersey 08902
(203) 672-2300
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Branford Hall Career Institute’s Certificate-level Surgical Technology program is taught at their North Brunswick campus in North Brunswick in Middlesex County, NJ. The college has approximately 189 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees for the Surgical Technology program are about $27,282 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $418. Usually, the program is completed in 13 months.

Medical Career Institute

901 West Park Avenue, Ocean, New Jersey 07712
(732) 695-1190
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Medical Career Institute’s Certificate-level Surgical Technology program is taught at their campus in Ocean in Monmouth County. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Tuition fees for the Surgical Technology program are generally about $17,500 yearly. Books and supplies can cost about $2,432. The typical program completion time is 12 months.

New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division Area

Bergen Community College

400 Paramus Rd, Paramus, New Jersey 07652-1595
(201) 447-7200
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Bergen Community College’s Certificate program is offered at their campus in Paramus in Bergen County, NJ. The college has approximately 14,585 students in total, with the majority of students 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 likely to be about $4,362 and are $7,878 and $8,238 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost about $1,400, although this will depend on the program.

Berkeley College-Woodland Park

44 Rifle Camp Rd, Woodland Park, New Jersey 07424
(973) 278-5400
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Processing Technician – Certificate Program

Berkeley College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their Woodland Park campus in Woodland Park in Passaic County, New Jersey. Of the 3,842 students, about 1% are postgraduates. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition fees are likely to be around $24,050 per year.

Eastwick College-Ramsey

10 South Franklin Turnpike, Ramsey, New Jersey 07446-2551
(201) 327-8877
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

Eastwick College’s Associate-level Surgical Technology program is offered at their Ramsey campus in Ramsey in Bergen County, NJ. The college has round 710 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. Fees for tuition are likely to be around $17,272 annually. Learning materials may cost around $1,284, 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 New Jersey may also wish to review their options in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware.