How to Become a Surgical Tech in Iowa

How to Become a Surgical Tech in Iowa

In the heart of Iowa, the surgical room stands prepared with a dedicated team of healthcare professionals, always ready to act swiftly, particularly in critical situations.

This specialized team encompasses:

  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesia specialist
  • Surgical nurse
  • Surgical technician

Their collaboration extends from the preparatory phase before the surgery commences and continues until the surgery concludes.

To note, surgical techs are also known by alternative titles such as operation room (OR) techs and scrub techs.

Surgical Technologist Job Description and Responsibilities

Surgical technologists undertake a range of crucial responsibilities during their shifts, which include:

  • Preparing patients for surgery
  • Transporting patients to and from the OR
  • Preparing the OR with surgical equipment and supplies
  • Monitoring the instrument count throughout surgery
  • Handing the surgeon medical instruments
  • Closing wounds and bandaging patients

It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of the responsibilities inherent to this profession.

Surgical Technologist Training and Education in Iowa

Aspiring surgical technologists in Iowa initiate their journey by graduating from high school, and an equivalent General Education Development (GED) certification is also considered valid.

Following this, enrollees must join a specialized training program designed to equip them with both educational knowledge and hands-on clinical experience.

Multiple institutions in Iowa provide this essential training, each having distinct prerequisites and core courses:

  • Microbiology,
  • Pathophysiology,
  • Pharmacology,
  • Anatomy,
  • Physiology,
  • Medical terminology.
  • CPR and/or BLS and/or AED

Bevill State Community College

This college’s program encompasses topics such as sterile processing, infection control, sterilization, instrumentation identification, and safety.

Prospective students must meet specific requirements, including:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Pass the Accuplacer placement exam
  • Have health insurance
  • Completing at least 120 clinical cases
  • Complete at least 30 cases in General Surgery, with 20 of them in the first scrub role

Additional prerequisites include a minimum score of 16 on the ACT, a Writing score of 4 on Accuplacer or ENG 101, or a minimum score of 200 in Math – Elementary Algebra on Accuplacer or MTH 116.

Iowa Lakes Community College

This school provides comprehensive educational opportunities in surgical technology, offering a choice between a diploma and an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree program.

The duration of the programs varies, with the diploma typically taking one year to complete and the AAS degree requiring two years.

The cost of tuition averages around $5,300 per year, and the college boasts campuses in Algona, Emmetsburg, Estherville, Spencer, and Spirit Lake.

Iowa Western Community College

This school presents an AAS degree program in surgical technology, offering the flexibility of part-time or full-time enrollment.

The program spans four semesters and includes one summer session, all conveniently located in Council Bluffs.

As for tuition, the current cost is approximately $5,216 per year.

Kirkwood Community College

This college extends a one-year diploma program in surgical technology, meticulously structured to be completed within three semesters.

The estimated annual tuition is approximately $5,000, with the campus centrally located in Cedar Rapids.

School Name Address
Bevill State Community College online
Iowa Lakes Community College 3200 College Dr, Emmetsburg, IA 50536
Iowa Western Community College 2700 College Rd, Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Kirkwood Community College 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404,

Certification in Iowa

In Iowa, certification is not legally required; however, certified surgical technologists are highly sought after by employers.

Reputable certifying bodies in the field include:

  • National Surgical Assistant Association (NSAA)
    • Provides the Certified Surgical Assistant (CSA) qualification
  • National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA)
    • Provides the Certified Surgical Technologist/Certified First Assistant credential
  • National Center for Competency Training (NCCT)
    • Provides the Tech in Surgery Certification

Of these, the NBSTSA certification stands as the most reputable with broad national recognition.

Test centers for this certification can be found in various cities throughout Iowa.

To pass the NBSTSA exam, candidates must correctly answer a minimum of 119 out of 200 questions.

An associated fee is applicable for the certification exam, with a fee of $190 for members of the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) and $290 for non-AST members.

Certified surgical technologists are required to renew their certification every four years.

This can be achieved either by retaking the certification exam, which necessitates re-payment of the exam fee.

By completing continuing education courses, entailing 60 education credits during the renewal period, you only pay the renewal fee.

Surgical Technologist Salaries in Iowa

While the role of a surgical technologist may not be the most glamorous, it offers a rewarding career path.

In Iowa, surgical technologists can earn an average annual income of approximately $49,200.

It is important to note that salaries may vary across different cities within the state.

For detailed information regarding the varying salaries in different cities, refer to the table provided.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Toeterville $51,100
Altoona $49,700
Adel $49,300
Barnum $49,200
Decatur $49,200
Davenport $48,800
Birmingham $48,300
Baldwin $48,200
West Point $48,000
Sioux City $44,700

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Cedar Rapids, IA100$51,910$24.96$60,440$37,090
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL110$50,120$24.09$59,960$36,260
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA170$58,250$28.01$117,880$41,600
Dubuque, IA40$54,860$26.37$68,980$47,960
Iowa City, IA100$52,390$25.19$63,320$47,470
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD80$51,720$24.87$61,330$38,350
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA30$46,590$22.4$61,450$33,180
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Surgical Technologists, OCC Code 29-2055, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Surgical Tech From Iowa Choose a Specialty?


Just like surgeons can choose to operate on a specific body part, so can these techs.

Here are the most commonly chosen surgery niches:

  • General surgery,
  • Ob/gyn,
  • Urology,
  • Plastics,
  • Neurology

Where Do Surgical Technologists from Iowa Find Work?

These technologists usually work in a hospital’s surgery wing.

Furthermore, these other places also hire such specialists:

  • Children’s hospitals
  • Cosmetic surgery centers
  • Specialty clinics for surgical procedures

What Sills Do I Need To Work As A Surgical Tech in Iowa?

Here are the most important skills this profession requires:

  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Detail-oriented
  • Take direction
  • Understanding medical terms
  • Understanding medical methodology
  • Good communication skills

USA Surgical Tech Programs by State

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