What are the best surgical technician qualifications and training to get ahead?

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What is the best training for becoming a surgical technician? What types of ongoing training or certifications are necessary to be an effective surgical technician?

What do non-traditional career paths look like?

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Kathleen

89 months ago

YOu need to be sure that you are going to a "accredited college recognized by The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. ( many cracker jack schools are opening with lower requirements.) If you do not attend a "accredited" college recognized by the above, you can not sit to take the national certification exam. This is Imperative.!!! Most hospitals require certification within 1 year of employment. If you come out of the wrong school, you can't take the exam, and will eventually be out of luck.

Many schools will tell you they are "acredited" BUT BY WHO? It must be NBSTSA Use to be LCC-ST Liason Council on Certification for th Surg Tech - they merged. the requirement guidelines are higher. In time, all hospitals will be requiring certification before hiring. It has happened in about 4 states allready, and a grass roots effort is in effect to do a nationawide sweep of this requirment in conjuction with JCAH (Joint Commisison on Allied Health
CHECK CREDENTIALS!!!!!!!!!!! YOu then have to continue yearly with "continued education credits to maintain your certification, it expires every 4 years, and you don't dare let it lapse. The fines are high, and the exam is a tough one. No one wants to have to take it more than once. Non traditional career paths are out there, but believe me, they are being phased out. You gotta pay your dues, and attend the right schools.

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Denise in Raleigh, North Carolina

82 months ago

Thanks, Kathleen. I just sent this question in to the college I've been looking at. I really hope I don't have to go to Wake Tech because of the location and all the hoops it seems they put in your way. At least that's how I felt when I looked at other programs there.

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Denise in Raleigh, North Carolina

82 months ago

I wrote to the college to ask the accreditation question. I asked:

"I am told I need to ask if it is an accredited college recognized by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting."

The reply was:

"With this program you will sit for the National Surgical Technologist Certification Exam that is administered by the Liaison Council on Certification for Surgical Technologists. It is absolutely an accredited program."

So does he mean that the answer is NO?

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Angela in Kannapolis, North Carolina

80 months ago

If the program is not accredited, then you would not be eligible to take the certification exam. If you are eligible upon graduation for the certification exam then the school you attended is accredited

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rachel in Gresham, Oregon

79 months ago

Kathleen said: YOu need to be sure that you are going to a "accredited college recognized by The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. ( many cracker jack schools are opening with lower requirements.) If you do not attend a "accredited" college recognized by the above, you can not sit to take the national certification exam. This is Imperative.!!! Most hospitals require certification within 1 year of employment. If you come out of the wrong school, you can't take the exam, and will eventually be out of luck.

Many schools will tell you they are "acredited" BUT BY WHO? It must be NBSTSA Use to be LCC-ST Liason Council on Certification for th Surg Tech - they merged. the requirement guidelines are higher. In time, all hospitals will be requiring certification before hiring. It has happened in about 4 states allready, and a grass roots effort is in effect to do a nationawide sweep of this requirment in conjuction with JCAH (Joint Commisison on Allied Health
CHECK CREDENTIALS!!!!!!!!!!!QUOTE]

***WRONG***

Actually your school/program should be CAHHEP accredited, or else you can't sit for the national exam. Check out the association of surgical technologists website, www.ast.org/ for lots of info on the field and such.

As for the INDIVIDUAL scrub getting certified:
The certifying agency for surgical technologists and surgical assistants is the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA, formerly LCC-ST). It is solely responsible for all decisions regarding certification.
The NBSTSA has nothing to do with accrediting schools/programs.

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dandelion267@hotmail.com in Gresham, Oregon

79 months ago

Denise in Raleigh, North Carolina said: I wrote to the college to ask the accreditation question. I asked:

"I am told I need to ask if it is an accredited college recognized by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting."

The reply was:

"With this program you will sit for the National Surgical Technologist Certification Exam that is administered by the Liaison Council on Certification for Surgical Technologists. It is absolutely an accredited program."

So does he mean that the answer is NO?

The answer is correct in saying who administers the national certification exam to surg techs,yes. BUT he didn't specify who the SCHOOL/PROGRAM is accredited by! Two different things. He answered, yet didn't answer your question. The NBSTSA does NOT deal with accreditation of schools/programs. The accreditation that your SCHOOL should have for the surgical tech. program is CAHHEP. If the school/program is not CAHHEP accredited, you can't sit for the national exam. Period.

Check out www.ast.org/ It's the national org. for surg. techs. Great info and links.

PS. the LCC-ST that he mentioned is the old name of the NBSTSA. LOL....that's a lot of acronyms. Again, in regard to school accreditation, your only concern is CAHHEP. Member to check out the AST site.

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rachel in Gresham, Oregon

79 months ago

Dang dyslexia... CAAHEP, not CAHHEP. Oops ;)

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april in Gadsden, Alabama

76 months ago

Does anyone know what to do or who to contact about getting certified. I went to a non credited school and did not know it until i called to ask. Then that was to late!!!!!! I really would love to be certified if anyone knows let me know okay!!!!!!!!!!!

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Liaquat in Bronx, New York

75 months ago

I need Surgical technology exam review book, cd or dvd
for prepare CST exam(NBSTSA ) , please help me for review material
Thank you
Liaquat

email: Liaquat28@hotmail.com

my mailing address:

Liaquat Ali
2513,Tratman Ave,Apt#D41
Bronx,NY.10461
USA

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Kathy in Chicago, Illinois

75 months ago

Have you gone to www.ast. org
and looked on line for educational material? There are several good review books.
Are you aware that if you are not an AST member when you take the exam, the exam is much more expensive?

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Ryan A in Columbus, Ohio

73 months ago

Accreditation of ST programs (i.e., the schools) is handled by the ARC-ST (Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology), a specific division for ST programs under CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs).

The US Dept. of Education has their own specific division for allied health programs, ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools). Again, they only deal with the schools.

Certification of professionals (i.e., people) is handled by NBSTSA (National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting) formerly LCC-ST, they work alongside AST (Association of Surgical Technologists). From the looks of it, certification is only allowed for graduates of CAAHEP-accredited programs.

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mrsmmcv in Gilbert, Arizona

71 months ago

I believe that you are able to take the ncct exam for certification that also requires extensive scrub experience before you can sit for the exam. It has 250 questions and the review book is helpful. So your not completley out of luck. Check out the website www.ncctinc.com

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mrsmmcv in Gilbert, Arizona

71 months ago

april in Gadsden, Alabama said: Does anyone know what to do or who to contact about getting certified. I went to a non credited school and did not know it until i called to ask. Then that was to late!!!!!! I really would love to be certified if anyone knows let me know okay!!!!!!!!!!!

I believe that you are able to take the NCCT exam for certification that also requires extensive scrub experience before you can sit for the exam. It has 250 questions and the review book is helpful. So your not completley out of luck. Check out the website www.ncctinc.com

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Kathy

71 months ago

I think you need to have attended a accredited college recognized by NBSTSA
National Board for Surgical Tech and Surgical Assisting. Contact NBSTSA - to see if there is a pathway available.

YOU NEED TO HAVE THIS CERTIFICATION. The others are useless. Hospitals recognize NBSTSA

www.nbstsa.org

Check with them. So many schools are popping up, that don't teach all the core measures you need to be sure.

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monstrosity in Tampa, Florida

71 months ago

Can you apply to sit for the certification exam before you graduate? For example, I will graduate in October so I will apply and pay for the exam in September so when I graduate, I can take the exam right after I graduate. Do they need a copy of your diploma when you mail in your application?

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Kathy

71 months ago

I can't believe Tech Instructors are not informing the students? Did you attend a CAAAHP accredited program? You will have had to to take the NBSTSA exam. And you have to have logged a certain amount of cases to even sit for the exam.What school?

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Kathy

71 months ago

mrsmmcv in Gilbert, Arizona said: I believe that you are able to take the NCCT exam for certification that also requires extensive scrub experience before you can sit for the exam. It has 250 questions and the review book is helpful. So your not completley out of luck. Check out the website www.ncctinc.com

NCCT IS NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The are NOT RECOGNIZED. call or research on line ast.org or NBSTSA.org

You will find your piece of paper from ncctinc
is useless

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mrsmmcv in Gilbert, Arizona

71 months ago

April in Alabama is saying that she already attended a non-accredited facility so at this point the NCCT is her only option. If there is a way without going thru all the schooling again, what is her other option? I know that Arizona recognizes it and NCCT is willing to send the potential employer a letter stating that.

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Dianna in Channelview, Texas

71 months ago

Hello, everyone...I am wanting to go to school to study ST course and I have read
these comments on this site and I am now
a little scared. Does anyone live in my area that can give me some good sound info on these schools????? I live in Houston area. I have called around and my mother said talk to people in this field before I decide to go thru with the money commit.. HELP ME PLEASE...I am a mother of three boys and I lost my job in April. I need to make a good move.

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mrsmmcv in Gilbert, Arizona

71 months ago

Your best bet according to the comments is to go to an accredited institution, if it happens to be a community college then you are halfway to going into nursing. If I knew then what I know now that is the pathway I would have chosen. It will cost you anywhere from 17,000$ to 30,000$ to go to a private school for ST then like April in Alabama it will be too late. Why not spend it on a Certificate in ST then/and/or Associates in Nursing at an Accredited institution. I took the liberty of checking if Houston has that such route. www.hccs.edu/portal/site/hcc/menuitem.f2ce39fd4b4c264ced834910507401ca/?vgnextoid=d5dd7f2116bd4110VgnVCM100000054710acRCRD&vgnextfmt=default. Good luck. I hope this helps. mmcv

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Dianna R in Crosby, Texas

71 months ago

mrsmmcv in Gilbert, Arizona said: Your best bet according to the comments is to go to an accredited institution, if it happens to be a community college then you are halfway to going into nursing. If I knew then what I know now that is the pathway I would have chosen. It will cost you anywhere from 17,000$ to 30,000$ to go to a private school for ST then like April in Alabama it will be too late. Why not spend it on a Certificate in ST then/and/or Associates in Nursing at an Accredited institution. I took the liberty of checking if Houston has that such route. www.hccs.edu/portal/site/hcc/menuitem.f2ce39fd4b4c264ced834910507401ca/?vgnextoid=d5dd7f2116bd4110VgnVCM100000054710acRCRD&vgnextfmt=default. Good luck. I hope this helps. mmcv

Thank you, I looked towards hccs but I guess I did not look hard enough. It only costs $3000.00 for ST program, that is a lot cheaper than $20,000 or $24,000 that I read and heard about. I do not have $20,000......$3000.00 is more my speed. Thank you.

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JKMarlow in Richmond, Virginia

70 months ago

Kathy said: NCCT IS NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The are NOT RECOGNIZED. call or research on line ast.org or NBSTSA.org

You will find your piece of paper from ncctinc
is useless

I am certified through NCCT, people like myself who went through military programs cannot sit for the AST test. NCCT certification is just as recognized as AST. Some schools have not yet been recognized by AST, this includes military programs. Anyone who thinks that NCCT is nothing is wrong...they are the only program that recognizes veterans, AST does NOT!

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mrsmmcv in Gilbert, Arizona

70 months ago

JKMarlow in Richmond, Virginia said: I am certified through NCCT, people like myself who went through military programs cannot sit for the AST test. NCCT certification is just as recognized as AST. Some schools have not yet been recognized by AST, this includes military programs. Anyone who thinks that NCCT is nothing is wrong...they are the only program that recognizes veterans, AST does NOT!

Thanks for that!
I went to a nonaccredited facility nearly 20 years ago and just only learned of the AST and their standards. I especially don't like that they will take your money to become a member of the association but not allow you to sit for the exam. I see it as hippocritical. As an TS-C I know just as much if not more than the CST.

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Kathy

70 months ago

I by no means am "downing" anyone who doesn't go through AST
But.............you may find, with legislation changing, and laws changing, you might me literally screwed. Many states are getting on the bandwagon to require certification as a pre cursor for employment. Depending on JCAH you might not be able to be hired. I believe the laws changed several years ago on the requirements of certification, at that time, AST offered to let people in your situation study and sit for the exam. And yes - it is a tought one. Had you applied, you'd be covered and certified, even tho you did not attend a accredited program.
This information was available at most healthcare facilities to TAKE THE TEST. I think you missed your opportunity, but I could be wrong.
AST has very strict guidelines. And, yes, they don't "recognize military. And yes, thank you for serving for your country.

But.........Did Military require Anatomy & Physiology, Micro, Pharmacology, Pathology? some anesthesia, and some legal.

Remember a lot of times one is on the wrong side of the fence, with or without the certification.

Personally, I feel, not only as a tech, but as a patient, the more education one has, the better off.

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JKMarlow in Richmond, Virginia

70 months ago

If you must know, YES the military did teach Anatomy & Physiology, Micro, Pharmacology, Pathology, some anesthesia, and some legal. And my school was also 2 years and also required some upgrade training. Just because my school was not accredited by AST, does not mean that it is not accredited. And yes, I did try to sit for AST a few years ago and NO they did not let me take their test. I understand the more education the better, but tell me, did you learn more in the classroom or in the OR actually doing the cases? I am very touchy on this subject considering someone that used to work in the facility told me that because I was not recognized by AST, made me a poor scrub tech, and she tried having everyone who had NCCT certification's extra hourly pay taken away. This person literally couldn't scrub her way out of a wet paper bag (mind you I am at a #1 Trauma center, she did not last). Anyone can study to take a test, anyone can pass that test; but keep in mind just because someone may have AST, doesnt mean that they are a better tech than someone who has NCCT. It is a very similar test, and it does NOT judge SKILL, it judges knowledge.

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asurgtech in Mission Viejo, California

70 months ago

NCCT IS recognized. There are many large organizations that accept certification from NCCT. Kaiser Permanente is one of them. This person is incorrect.

Kathy said: NCCT IS NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The are NOT RECOGNIZED. call or research on line ast.org or NBSTSA.org

You will find your piece of paper from ncctinc
is useless

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Kathy

70 months ago

It's not AST that gives the exam. It is the National Board of Surgical Tech and Surg Assist. It use to be LCC-ST Liason Council on Surg Tech. ANd that exam WAS OFFERED TO EVERYONE.
It is unfortunate the situation you are in. My only recommendation would to be start lobbying for a "clinical test"
You may be out the box, unless you do this, because with all due respect - everyone is heading in the same direction for certification. If it becomes state law (it allready is in some states) then what will you do?

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jtf in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

70 months ago

Host said: What is the best training for becoming a surgical technician? What types of ongoing training or certifications are necessary to be an effective surgical technician?

What do non-traditional career paths look like?

go to a tech school
most are from 1 yr to 2 yrs long
you don't need to spend an arm and a leg to get good training
some schools are offered to low income people only
your best training will come on the job
it would be wise to get certified
but it is not mandatory to be certified
i was trained by a hospital off the street
i have a degree already just not in the medical field
i have to wait 7 yrs before i can take the certification test
i am traveling right now making killer money for a guy trained off the street
it's a great career that never gets boring and offers traveling

to get good get into total joints, neuro and open heart
everything else is easy once you do it 5-10 times
orthopedics, neuro and open heart are what hospitals look for in exp. mostly
do as much call as possible the first 3-4 years
trauma knowledge is very important
know the synthes systems by the back of your hand

good luck and enjoy a great career

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Alba in Washington, District of Columbia

70 months ago

JKMarlow in Richmond, Virginia said: If you must know, YES the military did teach Anatomy & Physiology, Micro, Pharmacology, Pathology, some anesthesia, and some legal. And my school was also 2 years and also required some upgrade training. Just because my school was not accredited by AST, does not mean that it is not accredited. And yes, I did try to sit for AST a few years ago and NO they did not let me take their test. I understand the more education the better, but tell me, did you learn more in the classroom or in the OR actually doing the cases? I am very touchy on this subject considering someone that used to work in the facility told me that because I was not recognized by AST, made me a poor scrub tech, and she tried having everyone who had NCCT certification's extra hourly pay taken away. This person literally couldn't scrub her way out of a wet paper bag (mind you I am at a #1 Trauma center, she did not last). Anyone can study to take a test, anyone can pass that test; but keep in mind just because someone may have AST, doesnt mean that they are a better tech than someone who has NCCT. It is a very similar test, and it does NOT judge SKILL, it judges knowledge.

I'm a or tech and I'm getting ready to take the TSC but i'm having a hard time to get a Proctor in my area. Is there a center testing in Richmont Virginia where I can go and get this test?. Please reply!
Alba

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mmcvgilbert in Phoenix, Arizona

70 months ago

Have you called NCCT to find a location? They usually ask for your zip code to locate a testing center close to you. You can also call one of the technical colleges and ask if they test with NCCT. Hope that helps

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jkmarlow in Richmond, Virginia

70 months ago

i did not test in VA, my best advice would be to call NCCT or check the website...

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Alba in Washington, District of Columbia

70 months ago

Thank you everyone for the information I did call the NCCT and they gave me more numbers and names of other schools near may ares where thet haven other proctors beacuse my problems is that I called these places and they never call back. Well, that means for me that i may have to travel to other states to get this. I had no idea that just studing for the test is not easy and trying to get a place to get the test is even harder. I let you know guys where finaly I'm going to take this test.
Thanks Alba

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teri in Cartersville, Georgia

69 months ago

i need to move to ohio to help take care of my mother, i have been a surg. tech for 18 years, the school i attended at the time was not accredited, and back then it was not a big deal to be certified, i have never had a problem getting work, but now the school i attended is now called something else, and they are accredited, but i cannot get any records that i was enrolled, what i am asking is does anyone know if you positively need to be certified in the state of ohio? and if so what would be my best bet? thanks

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mrsmmcv in Gilbert, Arizona

69 months ago

I don't know about the certification in Ohio butI would look at what the requirments are for the job you are applying for. Most will be specific but it doesn't hurt to ask the HR person. I sent them my NCCT certification and the response was that as long as I was certified that was enough. So there are still chances. The former school you were in must furnish you with a transcript even if they changed their name. You have to be persistant. I graduated nearly 20 years ago and went thru the same sitatution. So don't give up.

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Sherri in Germantown, Maryland

69 months ago

I am considering a career in Surg. Tech. to use w/my esthetics license. The school Im going to attend is certified by CAAHEP. They offer a "certificate" program & an "associates". My question is this: Can I take the national exam if I have only a certificate? How do potential employers view someone w/a cert. instead of an associates? Any info. would be great. Thanks

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Yolanda in Dover, Delaware

68 months ago

Host said: What is the best training for becoming a surgical technician? What types of ongoing training or certifications are necessary to be an effective surgical technician?

What do non-traditional career paths look like?

Go to an accredited school, I am almost with school for being a surgical technologist. A lot of people want you to be qualified and a lot of the employers don't.

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Yolanda in Dover, Delaware

68 months ago

I am almost done with my Surgical tech training.

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shellye in Columbus, Ohio

68 months ago

most of the hospitals here in ohio does not require you to be certified, some will even hire you and make you get your certification within six months of employment. what part of ohio

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Kathy in Livingston, Texas

68 months ago

I'm about to graduate with my LVN and am looking for a way to get a job in the OR. Is it still possible in this day and age to train on the job? I live and breathe OR and eventually want to first asst. NOT interested in circulating...REALLY want to scrub!
Any ideas?

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Yvette Davis in Chicago, Illinois

68 months ago

I am interested in networking with CST'S who have continued their training and are now CFA'S. I would like info on specialities choosen and employment options available to you now that you are and/or have been a CFA ? Can anyone help ?

Thanks.

Email me: yjd1844@yahoo.com with contact info.

Look forward to hearing from everyone

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shellye in Columbus, Ohio

68 months ago

ok i graduated from an accredited school of surgical technology, and want to be a clinical instructor, if i sit for the ncct exam will i still be able to teach? i have 8 years of clinial experience and one year as a surgical tech traveler. help me anyone

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mrsmmcv in Bend, Oregon

68 months ago

I don't understand why you don't just take the CST exam since you graduated from an accredited school?

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mrsmmcv in Bend, Oregon

68 months ago

I don't understand why you don't just take the CST exam since you graduated from an accredited school?

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shellye in Columbus, Ohio

68 months ago

OK, BECAUSE IT'S CHEAPER. THE AST COST $290 WHILE THE NCCT COST $190

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Yvette Davis in Chicago, Illinois

68 months ago

If you become a member of AST ($80/YR), THE EXAM ISN'T $290. HOPE THIS HELPS. JOIN AST AND BECOME A MEMBER. It's huge savings.

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shellye in Columbus, Ohio

68 months ago

thank you

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sara in Nora Springs, Iowa

68 months ago

I have been a tech or 21 years,certified thru the AST. I and a lot of coworkers, are fed up with the AST. We believe they would rather eat their young than help surgical technicians. A lot of my friends had CEU's turned in, from AORN sources, and were not accepted from AST. They had a lot of scrambling to do in a short amount of time to keep certification. I on the other hand, took my test every 6 years to keep certified. Now, they dont like people doing that, since they didnt get my money for membership, or my money for processing CEU's. So they upped the price to $500. I have studied the NCCT website, did lots of research, for myself and the hospital I work for, and I really believe the NCCT is the way to go. It is affiliated with the U.S. Division Of Labor. It is $73 a year, you are provided the CEU's by them, you can request paper, CD's or online, there would be no guessing on whether the CEU would be honored. The NCCT is not in it for the money like our ever-so-popular AST.

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Kathy

68 months ago

My employer PAYS REIMBURSEMENT TO TAKE THE TEST. Doesn't anyone elses?

AST holds "higher standards." I agree they charge too much for CEUs'

GO to NETCE.com You can sign up for a year and get all the CEU's you want.

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sara in Nora Springs, Iowa

68 months ago

Don't forget that I have been a tech for 21 years, certified thru the AST. I have to know... what are these "higher standards" ? Because if I do go thru the NCCT, I am wondering which "standard" I currently have that I wont be needing anymore. Thanks

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