• Surgical Technology Program Frequently Asked Questions

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    When does the program start?
    The program starts each fall with a cohort of 20-24 students.
    How long is the program?
    The program is 2 years (6 terms) long. There is a one day mandatory course (ST155) the summer between the first and second year. It is also expected that students practice in the lab over the summer.
    What is the class schedule like?
    The majority of the Surgical Technology courses are held during the day, with one class held in the evenings during winter term of the first year.
    You begin visiting clinical sites fall quarter of the first year. Second year clinical practicum is scheduled Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, variable 8 -10 hour shifts, including days and evenings off campus. You are responsible for your own transportation to and from clinical sites. The program complies with the Surgical Rotation Requirements established by the Association of Surgical Technologists Core Curriculum Sixth Edition.
    What are the demands of the program and career in general?
    • Assist in lifting and positioning patients weighing as much as 500 pounds.
    • Lift trays of instruments weighing 30 pounds.
    • Stand for long periods of time without breaks.
    • Maneuver large pieces of surgical equipment.
    • Manipulate and account for placement of very fine (11-0) suture with needle (finer than a hair).
    • Respond to verbal commands/responses with or without visual cues.
    • Sort and set-up instruments within a stated time-frame for safety in surgical setting.
    • Demonstrate bi-manual dexterity.
    • Be free of infectious disease.
    • Maintain hands and arms free of disease.
    • Interact positively with many professionals as a member of a multi-disciplinary team.
    • Demonstrate professional behaviors and accountability.
    • Comply with clinical attire requirements and dress code.
    • Demonstrate integrity and honesty.
    • Demonstrate the ability to handle stress effectively and professionally.
    • Follow directions and accept constructive criticism without becoming defensive.
    • Communicate clearly both verbally and in writing.
    COGNITIVE SKILLS – Have the ability to:
    • Concentrate and attend to detail amidst a variety of environmental distractions.
    • Process information accurately, thoroughly, and quickly.
    • Carry out complex sequences of instructions.
    • Prioritize tasks quickly.
    • Demonstrate positive coping skills in a stressful environment.
    • Learn and apply new information regarding new procedures on an on-going basis.
    • Demonstrate prior learning.
    • Demonstrate critical thinking skills
    • Adapt to frequent changes in the work environment.
    • Toxic chemicals.
    • Toxic anesthetic gasses.
    • Radiation.
    • Infectious diseases.
    • Latex.
    For your safety, it is in your best interest to advise program faculty if you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant at any time.
    Do I have to take a board exam when I am done with the program?
    BOARD EXAMS AND/OR LICENSING: Students will be required to sit for the National Certification Exam prior to graduation from the program.
    What are the certification exam pass rates for program graduates?

    The exam pass rates from 2014-2022 have been 94-100%.

    If I am accepted into the program, are there immunization, drug screening or other requirements I must follow?

    Health and Safety: You are required to meet all Health and Safety requirements established by affiliate health care facilities and by the college. These requirements include annual training, immunizations, tuberculosis screening, drug and alcohol testing, and criminal background check. You will be advised of the requirements and timeline for completion upon acceptance into the program. It is your responsibility to provide documentation and maintain currency. Students who are not in compliance will be unable to attend clinical practicum. Please note, this drug screening may also check for prescription drugs that contain amphetamines, barbiturates, opioids, benzodiazepines and marijuana. If you are taking any prescribed medication that may contain these drugs you will need to meet with the program director before completing the drug screen. All immunizations required by Oregon Health Authority (OHA) for healthcare providers and our clinical contracts will be mandatory, including COVID-19 vaccination.

    Orientation for accepted and alternate students – Two mandatory program orientations will be held for accepted students. One will be in late June and the other is generally the week before fall term starts each year. The specific dates will be provided to you if accepted to the program. Attendance is required, or a waitlisted applicant will be given your assigned place in the program.

    Can I work while I am in the program?
    Work limitations while in the program: The Surgical Technology program is a full-time program and requires a significant amount of study time. You should not work more than 16 hours a week. Students who are experiencing academic difficulty should not work at all. You are encouraged not to work at all during second year due to the amount of study time required and clinical practicum hours.
    How do I know how if my transfer credits will meet the prerequisite requirements?

    An academic advisor can help you determine if your coursework will meet program prerequisites. Once you apply for general admission and have an MHCC ID number, you can request an official transcript evaluation.

    Please note that the science prerequisites must be completed within the past 10 years with a grade of 'C' or higher.

    How do I know what my application status is after I submit my online application?

    You may check your application status in the MyMHCC student portal at the location where you filled out the application under the “Check application status” link.

    Are surgical technology courses offered online?

    Courses with the prefix ST are not offered online. Other courses included in the program curriculum, including core courses such as anatomy and physiology and computer classes may be offered online.

    If I have completed an associate or bachelor's degree, will that shorten the length of time it takes to complete the program?

    Completion of an associate or bachelor's degree is not part of the selection process. Surgical Technology courses are offered only once each year, in sequence. For this reason, having earned a degree previously will not shorten the length of time needed to complete the program. Students who have already completed general education coursework that is included in the program curriculum may have a lighter credit load during the first 3 quarters of the program.

    What is the employment outlook?

    Most program graduates are employed in hospital operating rooms. Other settings include labor and delivery, day surgery centers and clinics. The average starting wage range is $22-31 per hour.