How to Become a Surgical Tech in South Carolina

How to Become a Surgical Tech in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the surgical operating room is staffed with a dedicated team of medical professionals who are always prepared to respond promptly, especially in emergencies.

These essential personnel include:

  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesia specialists
  • Surgical nurses
  • Surgical technicians

Their collaboration begins well before the surgical procedure commences and continues until the surgery is completed.

These professionals are also known by alternate titles, such as operating room (OR) techs and scrub techs.

Surgical Technologist Job Description and Responsibilities

Surgical technologists shoulder a multitude of responsibilities during their shifts, including:

  • 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 the list above represents only a portion of the duties associated with this medical profession.

Training and Education for Surgical Technologists in South Carolina

Surgical technologists in South Carolina do not fall under the jurisdiction of a specific governing institution but are typically regulated by their employing institutions.

However, embarking on a career in this field is not without its challenges.

Here’s an overview of the educational and training process:

  • High School Graduation or GED
    • The journey to becoming a surgical technologist in South Carolina typically begins with a high school diploma or GED.
  • Enrollment in a Training Program
    • Aspiring surgical technologists should enroll in a specialized training program tailored to this profession.
    • These programs typically combine classroom education with clinical training.
  • Program Requirements
    • While different institutions may have slightly varying requirements, common course subjects include:
      • Microbiology,
      • Pathophysiology,
      • Pharmacology,
      • Anatomy,
      • Physiology,
      • Medical terminology

Certification in CPR, BLS, or AED may also be necessary.

Several institutions in South Carolina offer such training programs.

Prospective students may need to meet specific prerequisites, such as:

  • Passing placement exams
  • Fulfilling health insurance requirements
  • Meeting considering factors like prior medical-related experience and military service.

Finishing a minimum number of clinical cases, including those in general surgery and first scrub roles, is required.

Standardized test scores, such as the ACT or Accuplacer, may be part of the admission criteria.

The training program typically consists of a set number of course credits that students must complete.

Miller-Motte Technical College

At Miller-Motte Technical College students can pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology.

The program can be accomplished in a mere 18 months.

This program emphasizes hands-on training to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge required to attain their CST certification through the NBSTSA.

Additionally, the school offers a CampusFlex Track program, allowing students to attend classes on campus in a traditional group setting while also completing some coursework online.

Midlands Technical College

To be accepted into the program, students must show good grades in the following subjects:

  • Algebra,
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biology

Once accepted, students must buy with their own money the protective gear and other tools needed.

Midlands Technical College provides an option for students looking to expedite their certification process.

They offer a surgical technology diploma program that can be finished in as little as 12 months.

This diploma program holds certification from CAAHEP, ensuring that upon completion, students are eligible to take the Certified Surgical Technologist Exam.

Piedmont Technical College

Piedmont Technical College in Greenwood offers an accredited diploma program.

It features a hands-on surgery lab and three semesters of clinical experience, ensuring students acquire vital surgical skills.

Upon completing this year-long program, students become eligible to sit for the NBSTSA exam.

School Name Address
Miller-Motte Technical College 6397 Lee Highway, Suite 100, Chattanooga, TN 37421
Midlands Technical College 316 S Beltline Blvd, Columbia, SC 29205
Piedmont Technical College 620 N. Emerald Rd. | P.O. Box 1467 Greenwood, SC 29648

Certification for Surgical Technologists in South Carolina

While certification is not legally required, many employers in South Carolina prefer to hire certified surgical technologists.

Several certifying bodies provide relevant certifications, including:

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

Among these, the NBSTSA certification is highly regarded and nationally recognized.

The certification exam typically consists of 200 questions, with a passing requirement of answering a minimum of 119 questions correctly.

To take the exam, an associated fee must be paid, with different fees for members and non-members of the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST).

Certification renewal is required every four years.

This can be achieved in two ways:

  • By retaking the certification exam -with paying the associated fees
  • By completing continuing education credits (60 during the renewal period) along with a renewal fee payment.

Surgical Technologist Salary in South Carolina

While the role of a surgical technologist may not be the most glamorous, it’s important to consider the potential income associated with this profession.

In South Carolina, an OR tech can earn an average annual salary of approximately $48,600.

The following table illustrates the cities within South Carolina where surgical technologists earn higher salaries compared to the rest of the state.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
York $50,600
Van Wyck $50,600
Blacksburg $49,600
Blackstock $49,300
Charleston $48,900
Goose Creek $48,800
Awendaw $48,500
Abbeville $48,300
Salem $48,300
Clearwater $48,100

Regional Salary in South Carolina

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Charleston-North Charleston, SC330$47,780$22.97$59,240$31,390
Columbia, SC400$52,530$25.26$61,970$47,390
Florence, SC160$49,150$23.63$57,740$40,150
Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC390$53,270$25.61$65,750$41,330
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC60$52,020$25.01$56,820$46,690
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC130$48,640$23.39$57,250$41,370
Spartanburg, SC240$52,350$25.17$58,600$46,460
Sumter, SC50$47,520$22.84$56,340$37,890
* 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

Where Do Surgical Technologists from South Carolina 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

Can a Surgical Tech From South Carolina Choose a Specialty?


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

Here are the most common surgery niches:

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

What Skills Do I Need To Work As A Surgical Tech in South Carolina?

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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