Surgical First Assist

Surgical first assist student

Program Description

If you are a Certified Surgical Technologist and have at least three years experience and want to explore career options in the field, the Surgical First Assist program is right for you. You must hold a current NBSTSA certification in Surgical Technology in order to enroll. Your role on the surgical team is to help the surgeon carry out a safe operation with optimal results for the patient.

The program is online with five afternoons of in-person lab the first week of Spring Semester. You are required to travel to the Lincoln campus to complete the lab portion. Clinicals will be completed at a pre-approved clinical site in your area to achieve a specific number of completed surgical procedures requirement. At the end of the program, you will earn a Certificate in Surgical First Assist, and sit for your national certification exam before graduation.

If you would like more information about the program and its policies, please review the Surgical First Assist Program Student Handbook (PDF)

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Awards Offered: Certificate
Locations: Lincoln, Online
Formats: In-Person / Online
Start: Spring
Schedule: Full-Time
Estimated Total Cost
$2,767 Certificate

START HERE: Please follow the steps on the Get Started Checklist (PDF) to complete the program application process.

Admissions Resources:

Learn more about the Surgical First Assisting profession by completing this Professional Awareness Activity (PDF).

You're a Good Fit

Our Surgical First Assist program expands career opportunities for certified surgical technologists. The Surgical First Assistant is a highly skilled professional, trained and educated to function as a valuable and integral part of the surgical team. You will be a successful Surgical First Assistant if you:

  • are able to execute the responsibilities of the program regarding attendance, assignments and record keeping
  • possess the ability to multitask efficiently
  • have the endurance to stand an entire shift if needed
  • are able to work efficiently with your hands
  • are detail oriented and able to work on a team
  • are able to communicate effectively (both verbal and written)
  • understand problem sensitivity (ability to tell when something is wrong or likely to go wrong)
  • have a strong commitment to patient safety
  • must be able to make decisions based on the use of logic and analytical skills


A Surgical First Assistant provides aid in exposure, hemostasis and other technical functions to help the surgeon carry out a safe operation with optimal results for the patient. Employment of Surgical First Assistants is projected to grow 31.2% from 2017-2027 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Recent graduates reported an average salary of $62,192. Career options include:

  • Certified Surgical First Assistant in a hospital, surgery center, doctor's office or labor and delivery
  • Private Certified Surgical First Assistant
  • Certified Surgical First Assistant Clinical Preceptor, Clinical Instructor or Program Director


CAAHEP logoThe Surgical First Assist program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of the Accrediting Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.

Surgical First Assist Program Outcomes (PDF)

State Licensure or Certification Requirements

The Surgical First Assist program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Students completing this program will sit for the National Surgical First Assist Certification exam. This is a national certification and is accepted in all 50 states. Privileges may vary by state, depending on each state’s laws and guidelines. Nebraska State License required to practice in Nebraska.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement Institution

Southeast Community College is a State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement Institution (NC-SARA) institution. As such, SCC is unable to offer online or distance courses to students in the following areas at this time: American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

For more information about the post-graduation achievements of SCC Graduates as well as average starting salaries, refer to the annual Graduate Report.

For information about the methodologies used to gather the post-graduation student achievement data contained in the annual Graduate Report, refer to the Institutional Research page or contact