Isothermal Community College

Advising and Success Center

Diploma in Surgical Technology

The Surgical Technology curriculum prepares individuals to assist in the care of the surgical patient in the operating room and to function as a member of the surgical team. Students will apply theoretical knowledge to the care of patients undergoing surgery and develop skills necessary to prepare supplies, equipment, and instruments; maintaining aseptic conditions; prepare patients for surgery; and assist surgeons during operations.

What is the first step to becoming a Surgical Technologist?

Becoming a Surgical Technologist is a highly demanding, stressful, yet rewarding profession. One must possess a strong ability to multi-task. Someone interested in a career in surgical technology should first research professions, talk to fellow Surgical Technologists, and investigate the textbooks in the library to gain a full understanding of the profession. Surgical Technology is a technical science and being able to think on your feet is very important attribute. The Surgical Technology program is a competitive admissions program. It is recommended that students take as many prerequisite courses as possible prior to acceptance into the actual Surgical Technology program making the likelihood of success in the program stronger. While it is not a requirement to complete all course work prior to acceptance, it is a huge help.  See the admissions packet and information below for admissions steps.  

What fields or jobs are available for Surgical Technology majors?

  • Central Sterile Processing Management
  • Education
  • Labor and Delivery
  • Medical Sales
  • Operating Room management
  • Physicians' Offices
  • Specialty Hospitals
  • Private Scrub (Surgeon's personal attendant)
  • Surgical Equipment Companies

Who employs Surgical Technology Majors?

  • Ambulatory surgical centers
  • Hospital operating and delivery rooms
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Physicians's offices (outpatient surgery)
  • Sterilization Companies
  • Surgical Manufacturing Companies

How can I know if a Surgical Technology diploma is right for me?

Make an appointment to visit the Advising and Success Center. An advisor or counselor will meet with you to help you assess your interest and abilities in an effort to discover a career path that is right for you. 

Other resources:


Isothermal Community College, McDowell Technical Community College, and Cleveland Community College together as Foothills Surgical Technology Consortium, offer a one-year diploma program in Surgical Technology. The Surgical Technology curriculum prepares individuals to assist in the care of the surgical client in the operating room and to function as a member of the surgical team. Graduates of this program will be eligible to apply to take the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting Certification Examination for Surgical Technology.

Prospective Surgical Technology applicants residing in Rutherford/Polk, McDowell, and Cleveland counties must apply to the college serving their county. Other applicants may apply to the college of their convenience. Priority will be given to service area applicants first, then other North Carolina residents, then out of state residents.

Interested students should attend a Nursing & Surgical Technology Information Session. Meeting schedules are available in the Advising Center or on the College website under Health Sciences.

All Surgical Technology Students are listed under the admissions code of A55280, which is General Occupational Technology Degree, until acceptance into the Surgical Technology program (D45740). 

Students should be aware that the surgical technology courses will only be offered on the Cleveland Community College campus.  Students are encouraged to take their related coursework at Isothermal Community College. 


  1. Complete and submit an online application for admission to Isothermal Community College declaring Surgical Technology (A55280) as the major. Current and returning students may complete a Change of Major form in admissions to declare Surgical Technology (A55280) as a major.
  2. Submit an official high school transcript or GED scores.
  3. Submit official transcript(s) from all colleges attended.  Courses with a grade of “C” or better will be considered for transfer.
  4. Complete the college placement test (exemptions are possible with SAT/ACT scores or college level English/Math courses). Must have approval through the Admissions Office. There is no charge for the test.

1. Prospective applicants complete all developmental courses required as a result of placement testing with a grade of“C” or better. Required courses (unless exempt) include:

MAT 060 or DMA 010 & 020 & 030 Satisfactory completion or exemption
ENG 095 or DRE 098 Satisfactory completion or exemption

All developmental coursework must  be completed before the published deadline date.

2. The applicant must have a cumulative 2.0 GPA in most recent high school/college/GED course work. A grade of “C” or higher must be maintained in all curriculum courses taken before or after program acceptance to avoid forfeiting your space in the program.  Students must earn a “C” or higher in BIO 163 (Basic A & P) or BIO 168 & 169.

3.  Prospective applicants must review Surgical Technology textbooks and video, and then sign the Surgical Technology textbook/video review page. The review page must be returned to the Health Sciences Advisor in the Advising Center before the publicized deadline date.

The applicant is responsible for ensuring requirements 1-3 have been met and all materials have been received by the annual publicized deadline date.  All admission criteria must be met to be eligible to take the PSB-Health Occupations Aptitude Exam. Completion of requirements does not guarantee admission.

4.  Eligible applicants will be notified by either letter or email to report for the PSB- Health Occupations Aptitude Exam by the Health Sciences Advisor.  There will be a charge for the exam of $20.00. The PSB website is

5.  Notifications of acceptances will be sent either by email or mailed letter by the Health Sciences Advisor. Ten (10) students will be accepted into the Surgical Technology program every Fall.

Final admission will be based on:

  1. Review of the applicant’s academic record.
  2. PSB-Health Occupations Aptitude test results.
  3. Overall total points of the selection rubric.
  4. Documentation of physical and emotional health that would provide evidence indicative of the applicant’s ability to provide safe care to the public.
  5. Completion of required immunizations.
  6. Completion of CPR Basic Life Support certification, American Heart Association.
  7. Any offer of acceptance is considered “provisional” until all required materials above are completed and received by the required time.  Accepted students will receive more information at the required New Student Orientation session.  

Students should be aware that upon admission to a program with a clinical component criminal background checks and or drug testing are required by the clinical facilities used for clinical sites. Criminal background checks are handled through a designated third party vendor. Isothermal Community College is an open door college and will not refuse admission to anyone based on a criminal record. However, the clinical site reserves the right to refuse someone with a criminal record, positive drug test, and/or visible tattoo the use of its facility. If a student does not complete the clinical portion, he or she will not be able to successfully complete the Surgical Technology program.