How to Become a Surgical Technologist in South Carolina

According to South Carolina law, a surgical technologist is a professional who works under the supervision of surgeons and nurses in a surgical environment assisting with life-saving procedures. In many ways, surgical technologists are the backbone of any surgery, which means that becoming a surgical technologist is a very rewarding career choice.

As a surgical tech you will provide an array of pre-surgical, surgical and post-surgical duties as part of the operating room (OR) team, including but not limited to ensuring the OR is sanitary and that all surgical equipment is set up properly, preparing patients for surgery and taking them to recovery room post-op. Additionally, throughout the duration of the surgical procedure, surgical techs are responsible for handing instruments to the surgeon as needed. [En Español]

Requirements for Surgical Technologists in South Carolina

Not every state requires surgical technologists to become certified or obtain formal education, which means that it is not uncommon for employers to set their own guidelines and requirements for the surgical techs they hire. In order to practice as a surgical technologist in South Carolina, you will need to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). However, this certification requirement comes with some exceptions.

As a surgical tech working in South Carolina you will need to meet one of the following requirements:

  • Successfully complete an accredited education program for surgical technology and hold (and maintain) the Certified Surgical Technologist credential that is administered by the NBSTA
  • Complete an appropriate training program for surgical technology in the United States Armed Forces or the U.S. Public Health Service
  • Show previous employment as a surgical technologist in a healthcare facility in the state before January 1st, 2008
  • Be in the service of the Federal Government

In addition to the above, surgical techs in South Carolina must complete at least 15 hours of continuing education each year to remain qualified for employment and to maintain a valid certification. If you are a recent graduate from an accredited educational program for surgical technology, a healthcare facility may employ you from the date of graduation for a period of three months. If, however, you do not obtain your CST within those three months you will not be permitted to continue practicing surgical technology without showing documentation to your place of employment.

NBSTSA Certification

Unless you meet one of the four requirements noted above, you will need to go through the NBSTSA for your certification, which does require the completion of an accredited training program. Certification is awarded when you successfully complete a CAAHEP-accredited program or ABHES-accredited program, earning a certificate or an associate’s degree, and after you pass the certification exam.

South Carolina Programs for Surgical Technology

If you’re someone who looking to dive into this new, exciting and very rewarding career, you will need to attend an accredited surgical technology program in order to become certified through the NBSTSA and work as a surgical tech in South Carolina. While there are many surgical technology programs you will need to seek out a certification or a degree program that is accredited by The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

There are several schools in South Carolina that offer accredited surgical technology programs including:

  • Miller-Motte Technical College, Charleston. The surgical technology program at Miller-Motte Technical College is an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology, which can be completed in as little as 18 months. This hands-on training helps provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge they need to obtain their CST through the NBSTSA. This program is also what the school considers to be a CampusFlex Track program, which means students can take classes on campus in a traditional group setting and also complete some coursework online.
  • Midlands Technical College, Columbia. For students who would prefer to obtain their certification more quickly than 18 months, Midlands Technical College in Columbia, South Carolina, offers a surgical technology diploma program that can be completed in as little as 12 months. This diploma program is certified through CAAHEP, so once students complete this program they will be eligible to sit for the Certified Surgical Technologist Exam. The last eight graduating classes of Midlands Technical College’s Surgical Technology program have had a 100 percent passing rate on this exam.
  • Piedmont Technical College, Greenwood. This accredited diploma program at Piedmont Technical College provides a hands-on surgery lab and three semesters of clinical experience to ensure that students gain essential hands-on surgical skills. Upon completion of this year-long program students will be eligible to sit for the NBSTSA exam.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The number of positions for certified surgical technologists is growing rapidly throughout South Carolina and the United States, with the national job growth in the field being 12 percent. In South Carolina, the number of employed surgical techs is expected to rise considerably from 1,780 in 2016 to 2,050 in 2026, a growth rate of 15.5 percent.

If you are planning on becoming a certified surgical technologist in South Carolina you will have more than just job security and a great salary; you will also make a positive impact on people’s lives on a daily basis. The average hourly salary for certified surgical technologists in South Carolina in 2019 was $19.73, with an average annual salary of $41,030. This salary is expected to be higher as you gain more experience within the field, and working in certain locations, like in and around Charleston, offer a higher salary as well. Conditions in your area may vary.

Working as a Surgical Technologist in South Carolina

The greatest opportunities for employment for surgical technologists in South Carolina are often found in the cities of Charleston, Mount Pleasant and Greenville. Most surgical techs in the state are employed in hospitals, but it’s also very common for surgical technologists to work in outpatient surgical centers as well as physician or dental offices that perform minor surgical procedures. With less than a year of training (or more, if you decide to attend an associate’s degree program), you will be able to seek out employment, sit for the NBSTSA exam and begin working in this rewarding field.

College Programs

 

Anderson, SC Area

Tri-County Technical College

7900 U.S. Hwy 76, Pendleton, South Carolina 29670
(864) 646-1500
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Tri-County Technical College’s Certificate program is taught at their campus in Pendleton in Anderson County, South Carolina. This public college has about 6,128 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is generally in the order of $4,050 and are $5,322 and $9,042 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,500, although this will depend on the program.

Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC Area

Aiken Technical College

2276 Jefferson Davis Highway, Graniteville, South Carolina 29829
(803) 508-7263
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Aiken Technical College offers various Certificate program options for future surgical tecnologists. All programs are offered at their campus in Graniteville in Aiken County. This public college has about 2,359 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-district students are generally in the order of $4,348 and are $4,708 and $6,634 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,000, although this will depend on the program.

Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC Area

Miller-Motte Technical College-Charleston

8085 Rivers Ave., Ste E, Charleston, South Carolina 29418
(843) 574-0101
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s degree program in Surgical Technology at Miller-Motte College is offered at their Charleston campus in the city of Charleston. This private, for-profit college has about 490 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. The cost of tuition is generally in the order of $10,496 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,575, although this will depend on the program.

Virginia College-Charleston

6185 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, South Carolina 29406
(843) 614-4300
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s degree program in Surgical Technology at Virginia College is offered at their Charleston campus in the city of North Charleston. Most of the school’s 344 students are on 4-year programs. The cost of tuition is generally in the order of $14,632 annually.

Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC Area

York Technical College

452 S Anderson Rd, Rock Hill, South Carolina 29730
(803) 327-8000
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

York Technical College offers various Certificate program options for future surgical tecnologists. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Rock Hill, SC. This public college has about 4,753 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $4,464 and are $4,824 and $9,648 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,800, although this will vary with the program.

Columbia, SC Area

Midlands Technical College

1260 Lexington Drive, West Columbia, South Carolina 29170-2176
(803) 738-8324
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Surgical Technology Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Midlands Technical College is based at their campus in West Columbia in Lexington County, South Carolina. The majority of of the school’s 10,946 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $4,064 and are $5,024 and $11,744 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,564, although this will vary with the program.

Virginia College-Columbia

7201 Two Notch Rd, Columbia, South Carolina 29223
(803) 509-7100
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

Virginia College’s Associate-level Surgical Technology program is based at their Columbia campus in Columbia in Richland County, SC. The majority of of the school’s 449 students are on 4-year programs. The cost of tuition is likely to be in the order of $14,632 per year.

Florence, SC Area

Florence-Darlington Technical College

2715 W. Lucas Street, Florence, South Carolina 29501-0548
(843) 661-8324
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Florence-Darlington Technical College’s Certificate-level Surgical Technology program is based at their campus in Florence in Florence County, SC. The college has around 6,007 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $4,174 and are $4,438 and $6,262 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,248, although this will vary with the program.

Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC Area

Greenville Technical College

506 S Pleasantburg Dr, Greenville, South Carolina 29606
(864) 250-8000
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Greenville Technical College is based at their campus in the city of Greenville, SC. The majority of of the school’s 12,280 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $4,326 and are $4,686 and $8,550 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,157, although this will vary with the program.

Virginia College-Greenville

78 Global Dr Ste 200, Greenville, South Carolina 29607
(864) 679-4900
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

Virginia College’s Associate program is based at their Greenville campus in the city of Greenville, SC. This private, for-profit college has around 289 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The cost of tuition is in the order of $14,632 per year.

Low Country South Carolina Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Technical College of the Lowcountry

921 Ribaut Road, Beaufort, South Carolina 29901-1288
(800) 768-8252
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Surgical Technology Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Technical College of the Lowcountry is based at their campus in the town of Beaufort, South Carolina. The majority of of the school’s 2,332 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $4,276 and are $4,876 and $9,268 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,240, although this will vary with the program.

Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway, SC Area

Horry-Georgetown Technical College

2050 Highway 501 East, Conway, South Carolina 29526
(843) 347-3186
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s Certificate program in Surgical Technology is based at their campus in the city of Conway, SC. The college has about 7,097 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $4,978 and are $6,148 and $9,868 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost about $1,560, depending on the program.

Spartanburg, SC Area

Spartanburg Community College

107 Community College Drive, Spartanburg, South Carolina 29303
(864) 592-4500
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Spartanburg Community College offers various Certificate program options for future surgical tecnologists. All programs are taught at their campus in Spartanburg in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. The college has about 4,928 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $4,300 and are $5,332 and $8,692 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost about $1,000, depending on the program.

Sumter, SC Area

Central Carolina Technical College

506 N Guignard Dr, Sumter, South Carolina 29150-2499
(803) 778-1961
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Central Carolina Technical College’s Certificate program in Surgical Technology is based at their campus in the city of Sumter, South Carolina. Most of the school’s 3,662 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $4,639 and are $5,449 and $7,958 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost about $1,076, depending on the program.

Upper Savannah South Carolina Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Piedmont Technical College

620 North Emerald Road, Greenwood, South Carolina 29646
(864) 941-8324
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Piedmont Technical College is taught at their campus in the town of Greenwood, SC. This public college has about 5,216 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $4,193 and are $4,913 and $6,113 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost about $2,000, depending 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 South Carolina may also wish to review their options in North Carolina and Georgia.