How to Become a Surgical Tech in Washington

How to Become a Surgical Tech in Washington

Washington’s surgery rooms have several personnel ready to act at any time, especially during an emergency.

This type of personnel includes:

  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesia specialists
  • Surgical nurses
  • Surgical technicians

Their teamwork starts before and ends after the operation begins and ends.

There are a few other names for surgical technicians, such as operation room (OR for short) techs and scrub techs.

Surgical Technologist Job Description and Duties

A surgical technologist in Washington has to complete several tasks during their shift at work.

These 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

Of course, this is not a complete list of all the duties of such a medical professional.

Surgical Technologist Training and Education

Surgical techs in Washington must register with the Washington State Department of Health.

This doesn’t mean it’s that easy to get such a job, so let’s learn more about the process!

Universities and colleges also accept a GED instead of a high school diploma.

Your next step is to enroll in a training program designed for this occupation.

The enrollment requirements are slightly different between universities.

These are some of the common classes for surgical techs:

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

Bevill State Community College

The program offered has many classes, here are a few of them:

  • Sterile processing,
  • Infection control
  • Sterilization,
  • Instrumentation identification,
  • Safety

Candidates must meet some prerequisites to enroll:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Pass the Accuplacer placement exam
  • Meet the other requirements
  • Complete their military service, not mandatory though
  • Having previous medical-related experience, if possible
  • 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

The course has a total of 29 credits.

Calhoun Community College

At this college, the training program has a duration of around 2 years or 4 semesters.

Students will attend classroom, lab, and clinical instruction.

If you want to earn an AAS at this college, you’ll have to complete an additional 18 general education credit hours.

To be accepted into the program, you must:

  • Apply online
  • Attend a program information session
  • Complete a Manual Dexterity Exam

Bellingham Technical College

It offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree program that admits new students once a year during the fall semester.

This comprehensive program comprises 108 credit hours.

48 hours are dedicated to prerequisite general education courses.

The remaining hours cover program courses and clinical experiences across three semesters.

Admission to the program requires students to complete a Test of Essential Academic Skills exam.

Other admission prerequisites include:

  • Submitting an application
  • Passing a background check and a drug screen
  • Providing transcripts, high school diploma, or GED
  • At least 18 years old
  • Passing a physical exam
  • Current immunizations
  • Current medical insurance

Seattle Central College

This school also presents an AAS degree program in surgical technology that can be accomplished in 15 months.

Before entering the surgical technology program, students must complete prerequisite courses with a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

These courses include:

  • Math
  • Statistics
  • Medical Terminology
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology
  • General Psychology
  • Lifespan Psychology
  • English

Spokane Community College

Comprising 92 credit hours, this program typically spans two years but must be completed within three years.

To progress to the next semester, students are required to maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher in program-specific courses.

Students commence the program in the fall semester, with acceptance from a waitlist.

Other admission requirements include:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Passing a placement test in Math and English
  • Successful completion of prerequisite classes:
    • Biology,
    • Math,
    • Computer Information
  • Passing a background check
School Name Address
Seattle Central College  1701 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122
Bevill State Community College online
Bellingham Technical College 3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225
Calhoun Community College online
Spokane Community College 1810 N Greene St, Spokane, WA 99217

Becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist in Washington

Even though certification is not required legally, employers seek certified personnel for this position.

The main certifying body for this profession is the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

It provides the Certified Surgical Technologist/Certified First Assistant credential.

Testing centers can be found in a few cities across Washington.

The test has 200 questions, and to pass, a minimum of 119 must be answered correctly.

You can’t take the test without paying the associated fee:

  • $190 for Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) members
  • $290 for non-AST members

Your certification has to be renewed every 4 years, and there are 2 ways of doing this:

  • Retaking the certification exam (It requires re-paying the exam fee)
  • Completing continuing education classes (This requires 60 education credits during the renewal period)

Certification renewal also requires a renewal fee to be paid.

Registering with the State

For this process, candidates must:

  • Provide their social security number
  • Pass a background check
  • Pay the application fee – $70
  • List all states where they currently hold or held credentials
  • Answer personal data questions
  • Complete HIV/AIDS training

The registration has to be renewed yearly, but no continuing education classes are needed.

Surgical Technologist Salary

In Washington, an OR tech can earn about $55,200 per year.

This next table will show you the cities where these employees earn more compared to the rest of the state.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Renton $56,700
Redmond $56,700
Woodinville $56,600
Tracyton $55,600
Port Orchard $55,600
Suquamish $55,500
Tahuya $55,300
Steilacoom $55,300
Allyn $55,400
Wilkeson $55,100

Regional Salary in Washington

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Kennewick-Richland, WA100$56,370$27.1$65,840$49,360
Olympia-Tumwater, WA70$59,440$28.58$76,140$46,390
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA1,120$70,800$34.04$84,350$51,200
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA320$65,080$31.29$79,440$50,250
Yakima, WA70$56,010$26.93$64,050$46,610
* 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

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

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

Where Do Surgical Technologists from Washington 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 Washington 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

USA Surgical Tech Programs by State

Leave a Comment