The primary responsibility of a surgical technician is offering aid during surgical operations. They will generally help by helping doctors during surgeries, prepping operating rooms, and assembling the required equipment. Their specific duties might involve readying patients for surgery, passing instruments to surgeons during operations, preparing operating rooms for surgery, counting supplies, stocking and sterilizing surgery supplies and equipment, and maintaining a sterile environment.

Iowa Surgical Technologist Schools

Those interested in becoming a surgical technologist should consider earning an associate degree or a postsecondary certification. You'll want to research the following surgical technician schools in Iowa to find a program that's the right fit for you.

  • Des Moines Area Community College: Ranked one of the fastest-growing educational institutions in America by Community College Week, Des Moines Area Community College offers 153 different programs and short-term certificates to help students qualify for many job opportunities in Central Iowa.

  • Eastern Iowa Community College District: With Clinton Muscatine, and Scott Community Colleges included in the Eastern Iowa Community College District, this educational grouping boasts fall enrollments of more than 8,000 students as well as more than 30,000 students yearly.

  • Iowa Lakes Community College: Offering over 100 different academic programs to choose from and a wealth of online course options, Iowa Lakes Community College is a 2-year public institution with a student population of over 2,300 and a 15 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio.

  • Iowa Western Community College: Founded in 1967, Iowa Western Community College offers 84 different programs in both vocational and technical areas as well as in liberal arts. It boasts small class sizes and a student population of over 6,400.

  • Kirkwood Community College: With a sprawling 885-acre campus that includes 27 buildings, a 400-acre working farm, and a 1.5-acre vineyard and winery, Kirkwood Community college offers 115 degrees, diplomas and certificates to over 20,000 students annually.

  • Mercy College of Health Sciences: This school has a 115-year history of educating health science professionals, and remains focused on delivering education to young professionals looking to move into a healthcare related career.

  • Western Iowa Tech Community College: Organized in 1966, Western Iowa Tech aims to provide quality education and to economically enhance the communities it serves. It offers small class sizes as well as a student body of over 6,000.

What to Expect from Iowa Surgical Tech Programs

Most surgical tech schools in Iowa will likely include a combination of technical knowledge coursework, general skillset building, and may also entail a set amount of in-field education. Programs can take anywhere from several months to 2 years to complete. Although coursework may vary from program to program, some of the general skillsets covered may include:

  • Stress-management skills
  • Physical stamina
  • Integrity
  • Being detail oriented
  • Dexterity

With regards to technical knowledge coursework, surgical technology education will likely include courses in pharmacology, biology, anatomy, medical terminology, and other topics. Specific training emphases may include ways to sterilize equipment, setting up technical or robotic equipment, ensuring the care and safety of patients, as well as preventing and controlling infections should they occur.

Iowa Surgical Technician Certification

Official certification for a surgical technician is not required in the state of Iowa but is mandatory in the states of Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Certain employers, however, might look favorably on candidates that possess any additional certification over those that don't, as it may show a superior understanding of the different job duties involved in this career.

Nationally, surgical technologists have several options for earning recognized certification. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting provides the "Certified Surgical Technologist (CST)" certification and involves finishing an accredited program in addition to passing an exam.

Surgical techs can also obtain certification from the National Center for Competency Testing which offers the title of "Tech in Surgery - Certified (NCCT)". This certification path may be ideal for some students in that it does not strictly require completing an accredited formal education program. Applicants can qualify through military training, work experience, as well as other paths.

Certification does, however, require testing crucial skills in addition to passing an exam. And these certifications both require continuing education in order to maintain certification over time.

It is also worth noting that some jobs will require technicians to be certified in CPR or basic life support, or even both.

Resources for Surgical Technicians in Iowa

Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Surgical Technologists

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Surgical Technologists relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Metro Area
Annual Median Salary
Des Moines-West Des Moines120$44,180
Cedar Rapids80$40,500
Waterloo-Cedar Falls50$38,130


  1. Surgical Technologists, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed October 19, 2016

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