How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Wisconsin

Surgical technologists play an important role in ensuring patient safety by preparing and sterilizing operating rooms and assisting surgeons during procedures. They help make sure operations go smoothly and that surgeons are able to do their jobs well. If this sounds like an interesting career to you, a short post-secondary training program is all you need to get started as a surgical tech in Wisconsin. [En Español]

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Requirements for Working as a Surgical Tech in Wisconsin

There are no official minimal requirements for training, education or licensing for surgical technologists in Wisconsin. It is up to employers, usually hospitals, to determine the basic requirements for hiring these allied health professionals. While the state doesn’t regulate this career, many employers will only hire those surgical techs with a degree or certificate and sometimes will also require national certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

NBSTSA Certification for Surgical Technologists

You do not have to become certified in order to work as a surgical tech in Wisconsin, but achieving certification may be a requirement of many employers. The NBSTSA certifies professional surgical technologists through an exam. To qualify for the exam you must complete an educational program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Once you have become a certified surgical technologist you will be required to complete 15 credit hours or more of continuing education credits. With this condition met you can renew the certification every four years to keep it up to date.

Wisconsin Schools for Surgical Technology

In order to become nationally certified through the NBSTSA you need to enroll in and complete an accredited post-secondary program. It can be a one-year certificate program or a two-year degree program as long as it has the appropriate accreditation. Some options in Wisconsin include:

  • Gateway Technical College, Kenosha. Gateway’s surgical tech program confers an associate degree and takes two years to complete with 65 credits of coursework. That coursework includes several clinical courses in which students get hands-on work experience under supervision.
  • Waukesha County Technical College, Pewaukee. The Waukesha program is also a two-year associate degree program in surgical technology. The 68 credits of coursework include clinical work experience with a minimum of 120 separate cases. These include both general surgery and a range of specialties. All graduates of the program in 2016 and 2017 passed the NBSTSA certification exam.
  • Milwaukee Career College, Milwaukee. Students in Milwaukee can earn an associate degree in surgical technology in less than two years. Milwaukee’s program includes classroom learning as well as clinical experience in area hospitals.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

Growth in surgical technology careers in Wisconsin is strong, with the number of available positions increasing by seven percent each year. In 2016, there were 2,620 surgical techs working in the state, while in 2026 there are projected to be 2,810. This means there will be many more positions that will need to be filled by the students who are training right now.

Surgical technologists earn a good living and enjoy great job security in Wisconsin. The average hourly pay for surgical techs in 2019 was $26.84, while the average annual salary was $55,820. This is significantly higher than the national average salary for this profession.

Working as a Surgical Technologist in Wisconsin

Hospitals are the largest employers of surgical technologists, but they are also employed by ambulatory and outpatient surgical centers and physician offices or dental offices in which minor procedures are performed. You will find the most job opportunities at Wisconsin’s largest hospitals and in and around the big population centers of Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and Kenosha. There are no state-level requirements for getting into this career, but the best way to land a great job in surgical technology is to start with a college training program.

College Programs

Eau Claire, WI Area

Chippewa Valley Technical College

620 W Clairemont Ave, Eau Claire, Wisconsin 54701-6162
(715) 833-6200
Surgical Technologist – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Surgical Technologist at Chippewa Valley Technical College is based at their campus in the city of Eau Claire, WI. Most of the school’s 6,017 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $4,238 and for out-of-state students in the order of $6,218 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,819, depending on the program chosen.

Fond du Lac, WI Area

Moraine Park Technical College

235 N National Avenue, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 54936-1940
(920) 929-2483
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Surgical Technology Associate’s program in Surgical Technology at Moraine Park Technical College is based at their campus in the city of Fond du Lac, WI. The majority of of the school’s 6,294 students are 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 in the order of $4,340 and for students from outside the state in the order of $6,295 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,819, although this will vary with the program.

Green Bay, WI Area

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

2740 W Mason St, Green Bay, Wisconsin 54307-9042
(920) 498-5400
Surgical Technologist – Certificate Program

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s Certificate-level Surgical Technologist program is based at their campus in the city of Green Bay. The majority of of the school’s 10,096 students are 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 usually in the order of $4,355 and for students from outside the state in the order of $6,310 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,819, although this will vary with the program.

La Crosse, WI-MN Area

Western Technical College

400 Seventh St. North, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601
(608) 785-9200
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s program in Surgical Technology at Western Technical College is based at their campus in the city of La Crosse, WI. This public college has in the region of 4,044 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. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually about $3,776 and for students from other states in the order of $6,166 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,616, although this will vary with the program.

Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI Metropolitan Division Area

Gateway Technical College

3520 30th Ave, Kenosha, Wisconsin 53144-1690
(262) 564-2200
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s program in Surgical Technology at Gateway Technical College is offered at their campus in Kenosha in Kenosha County. Most of the school’s 8,740 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-state students is about $4,152 and for students from other states in the order of $6,106 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,819, although this will vary with the program.

Madison, WI Area

Madison Area Technical College

1701 Wright St, Madison, Wisconsin 53704-2599
(608) 246-6100
Surgical Technologist – Certificate Program

The Surgical Technologist Certificate program in Surgical Technologist at Madison Area Technical College is offered at their campus in the city of Madison. Of the 16,520 students, about 0% are postgraduates. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are about $4,281 and for students from other states likely to be about $6,236 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,820, depending on the program.

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI Area

Milwaukee Area Technical College

700 W State St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233-1443
(414) 297-6370
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Associate program is taught at their campus in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The majority of of the school’s 15,186 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are about $4,426 and for students from other states likely to be about $6,381 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,819, depending on the program.

Waukesha County Technical College

800 Main Street, Pewaukee, Wisconsin 53072-4601
(262) 691-5566
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s program in Surgical Technology at Waukesha County Technical College is taught at their campus in Pewaukee in Waukesha County. The majority of of the school’s 7,928 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $4,340 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $6,206 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,820, depending on the program.

Wausau, WI Area

Northcentral Technical College

1000 Campus Dr, Wausau, Wisconsin 54401-1899
(715) 675-3331
Surgical Technologist – Certificate Program

Northcentral Technical College’s Certificate program is based at their campus in the city of Wausau, WI. The majority of of the school’s 4,580 students are 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 for in-state students are in the order of $4,313 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $6,208 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,819, depending on the program.

West Central Wisconsin Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Mid-State Technical College

500 32nd St N, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin 54494
(715) 422-5300
Surgical Technologist – Certificate Program

Mid-State Technical College’s Certificate-level Surgical Technologist program is based at their campus in Wisconsin Rapids in Wood County. This public college has round 2,636 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. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally in the order of $4,321 and for students from outside the state approximately $6,276 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,820, 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 Wisconsin may also wish to review their options in Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois.