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Surgical Tech Program

Surgical Technologist vs Sterile Processing Technician

Sterile processing technician and surgical technologist may sound like one job to some, but they are not. However, they need to work together as one team for the same outcome, patient safety. 

Both careers support the work of the surgical team in a medical setting and are also integral to making surgeries run smoothly. They do, however, require different educational paths and fulfill different roles.

Sterile Processing Tech Job Description

What does a sterile processing technician do? If you’ve never heard of this career, that might be because it goes by many different names in various workplaces, including:

· Sterilization Technician

· Central Service Technician

· Surgical Processing Technician

· Instrument Technician

· Medical Equipment Preparer

Those job titles should give you a better idea of what these technicians do. They’re responsible for ensuring that equipment is cleaned, sterilized, and prepared for surgeries (and other medical and lab procedures). Their tasks on the job might include cleaning items that have been brought in from previous procedures, preparing and setting up equipment for upcoming procedures, putting away cleaned equipment, and ensuring that all equipment is in good condition. They may also be in charge of checking inventory and restocking. The Surgery starts in the SPD with sterilizing instruments and preparing equipment. The following are some of their duties;

· Manually cleaning of medical instruments, equipment and surgical trays

· Performs sterilizations on the above said items

· Examines equipment and instruments as well as reports any problems

· Testing and monitoring of autoclaves

· Assembling all necessary equipment such as surgical trays

· Keeping inventory and ordering all needed sterile supplies

· Packing and storing of sterile supplies

Surgical Technologist Job Description

What do surgical technologist do? Surg Techs play an important role in operating rooms. Surgical Technologist  also go by different names;

· Operating Room Technicians

· Surgical Technicians 

· Surg Techs

· OR Techs

· Scrub Techs

· Surgical Techs

They help set up operating rooms before surgery and ensure that the necessary equipment is sterilized, maintain aseptic technique and prepare the OR for surgery. They help surgeons, doctors, and nurses with scrubbing in before surgery, ensure that patients are prepped, and assist surgeons by passing instruments or holding instruments during surgery. Some surgical techs might clean and prepare incision sites on patients, suture, put dressings on or may even learn to operate robotic surgical equipment. They too might be in charge of checking inventory and restocking. Some of the responsibilities include but not limited to;

· Setting operating room for surgical procedure

· Preparing and transporting patient to and from OR

· Gathering instruments and equipment needed for surgery

· Monitoring patient’s vital signs

· Assisting surgical team with gowns and gloves

· Keeping operating area as a sterile zone

· Disposing of used sponges, dressings, needles and gauze (keeping counts accurate)

· Takes charge of specimens and samples

Sterile processing technicians make sure that the instruments used in a hospital or clinic are safe to use and free of bacteria or other contaminants. They need to know about microbiology and how to prevent infections from spreading, as well as reliable procedures for storing medical instruments or moving them from place to place without exposing them to contamination. 

Surgical technologists get an operating room set up for surgery, make sure the surgical field and the surgical instruments are sterile, help the members of the operating team scrub in before the surgery begins, and pass medical instruments to the surgeon along with many other valuable roles. SVSTI-Surg Tech School in San Jose

Call today to join our Surgical Technology Program 


Surgical Technology Program Related Articles

Sterile Processing (pdf)


Infections Guide (pdf)


Safe Surgery (pdf)


Intro to Extern (pdf)


Guidelines Establishing the Sterile Field (pdf)


Surgical Technology program

We have a one of a kind Surgical Technology Program in San Jose. We are a Sterile Processing & Surgical Technology School in the Bay Area.


Clinical case Requirements

Externship Rotation minimum Requirements


The distribution of the 120 procedures is as follows:  

General Surgery cases (minimum of 30 cases)  

A. Students must complete a minimum on 30 cases in General Surgery, 20 which must be performed in the First Scrub Role. The remaining 10 cases may be performed in either First or Second Scrub Role.  

Specialty Cases (minimum of 90 cases)  

B Students must complete a minimum of 90 cases in various surgical specialties excluding General Surgery; 60 which must be performed in the First Scrub Role. The additional 30 cases may be performed in either the First or Second Scrub Role.  

a. A minimum of 60 surgical specialty cases must be performed in the First Scrub Role and distributed amongst a minimum of four surgical specialties. 

(1) A minimum of 10 cases in the First Scrub Role must be completed in each of the required minimum of four surgical specialties (40 cases total required).  

(2) The additional 20 cases in the First Scrub Role may be distributed amongst any one surgical specialty or multiple surgical specialties.  

b. The remaining 30 surgical specialty case may be performed in surgical specialty either in the First or Second Role.  

Optional Surgical Specialties 

1. Diagnostic endoscopy cases and vaginal delivery cases are not mandatory. However, up to 10 diagnostic endoscopic cases ad 5 vaginal delivery cases can be counted toward the maximum number of Second Scrub Role cases. 

a. Diagnostic Endoscopy cases must be documented in the category of “Diagnostic Endoscopy”, rather than by specialty. 

b. Vaginal delivery cases must be documented in the category of: “Labor & Delivery” rather than in the OB/GYN specialty. 

Case Experience in the Second Scrub Role is not mandatory. 

Observation cases must be documented, but do not count towards the 120 required cases. 

Cases will be counted and documented according to surgical specialty (exception being diagnostic endoscopic cases.

All student activities associated with the curriculum, especially while students are completing clinical rotations, will be educational in nature. Students will not be substituted for hired staff personnel within the clinical institution, in the capacity of a surgical technologist.  

Certification Exam

SVSTI requires each and every student to participate in the Certification Prep class during the program and after externship to graduate from the program. We want to ensure every student is successful in passing their certification exam and require this as part of the curriculum. 


Number of credits required for program completion

You will need to pass each Surgical Tech course with a 70% or higher to continue to the next course. Please see the following ;

ST111 18.5 Credit hours

240 Lecture hours

192 Lab hours

BLS 4 hours

Total- 436 hours

ST222 18 Credit hours

240 Lecture hours 

192 Lab hours

Total- 432 hours

ST333 24 Credit hours

195 Lecture hours (including CST Prep which is required)

480 Clinical hours

Total- 675 hours

Surgical Technology Program San Jose California @SVSTI

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