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What are the admission guidelines for the program?
Applicants must meet the general admission requirements for the college. Cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be ≥ 2.50 by the end of Spring 2024 based on at least 12 credit hours of college credit or if less than 12 credit hours of college-high school GPA. If your GPA is not above a 2.50, you are encouraged to seek advising from one of the Health Profession Advisors about how this will impact your eligibility and how to improve your GPA as early in the process as possible.
The following college level prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher by the end of the Summer 2024 semester:
- SDV 101 (Orientation to Health Professions – 2 cr.)
- BIO 141 (Human Anatomy & Physiology I – 4 cr. with lab)
- HLT 141-Medical Terminology-one credit
BIO 141 must be taken within the 5 years prior to the fall semester you are applying for. BIO 231 and BIO 232 with lab is an acceptable equivalent. Please note: the prerequisite for BIO 141 at VWCC is a recent college level Biology, (BIO 101 or NAS 2) successfully completed within the last three years. There are also math requirement(s) for BIO 101/NAS 2 at VWCC.
What if I graduated high school from a foreign country and cannot obtain my official transcripts?
Please complete this form and return to HPAAO.
Is admission to the program very competitive?
Approximately twenty (20) students will be admitted yearly to the Surgical Technology class. The criteria that will be evaluated include: (1) academic record and GPA.
Is the Surgical Technology program at VWCC accredited?
The Surgical Technology program at VWCC has a site visit scheduled for pursing accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org). This step in the process is neither a status of accreditation nor a guarantee that accreditation will be granted. If approval is granted, we will post that information to the Surgical Technology website.
Who makes the admission decisions? When are the results given to the applicants?
A Surgical Technology Admissions Committee, which meets near mid-June, makes the admission decisions. Decisions are mailed to the applicants as soon as possible, usually in mid-June.
Is there a waiting list? Can the program be taken on a part-time basis? Is there a night-time program available?
There is not a waiting list. All applicants who meet the deadline (June 1) and are minimally qualified are considered for the program. The core SUR courses are 9-11 credits per semester (summer semester will be 7 credits), and you will need to take the required co-requisites (if not completed prior to) to successfully complete the plan of study. Any SUR prefix lecture and lab courses are held during daytime hours only. You should expect clinical experience to be 9-hour days, and can vary depending on clinical site requirements. The SUR courses must be completed in sequence according to the plan of study. Please note that all science courses (BIO 141 & BIO 142) must be successfully completed with a final grade of ‘C’ or higher in order to take the SUR 230 clinical course. Due to the rigorous coursework and clinical preparation required throughout the program, students are recommended to limit work hours, or implement an alternative work schedule that will accommodate your school schedule.
Why is the surgical technology program considered difficult?
The curriculum is designed to prepare selected students to become part of the operating room team under the direct supervision of a Surgical Technologist. Students are taught the basic hands on skills in the lab course, and then apply those skills in the clinical setting while scrubbing in on surgical procedures in a variety of surgical settings and specialties needed to satisfy graduation requirements set forth by ARC-STSA. Students are expected to be able to function in a wide variety of specialties, therefore, coursework is designed to cover a multitude of topics necessary to be prepared for the clinical rotation. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be considered entry level Surgical Technologists and are required to take the National Exam for the Certified Surgical Technologist which is administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). A passing score on the examination is required to obtain the credentials of Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). Registration with the Virginia Board of Medicine is required to practice as a Surgical Technologist in the state of Virginia.
To assist students in preparation for successfully completing their clinical rotations and their licensing examination, the program uses a seven-point grading scales, and all courses must be passed with a grade of “C” or above to ensure continued enrollment. Students must demonstrate a mastery of both academic and hands-on course material in order to progress through the program. Continuance in the program is based upon academic criteria and adherence to attendance and other program policies covered at orientation. Satisfactory progress and graduation is necessary for eligibility to take licensure examinations.
If I am accepted into the program, what is the tentative schedule for fall?
Students should expect to be in lab and/or lecture all 5 days in the first semester. Students have scheduled lecture courses on Monday’s from 9 a.m. – 2:50 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break in between; ST labs on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday from 9-11:50 a.m. or 12 – 2:50 p.m.; and a lecture on Fridays from 9 – 10:50 a.m. The first semester is the most cumbersome due to some students also needing BIO 142 to satisfy the requirements of Anatomy & Physiology II, as well as the scheduled Surgical Technology courses.
Are there additional costs beyond tuition and books?
Yes, there will be additional costs for items such as a Trajecsys Clinical Tracking , clothing to meet classroom and clinical dress code, health requirements (physical examination and immunizations), background checks, drug screens, CPR certification, completion of a review course, and licensing fees. Full information on program costs can be found on this website.
What would the impact be on program completion, for a person who does not have the COVID-19 vaccination?
Virginia Western Community College faculty and students must comply with the policies required by clinical facilities with which we have legal agreements. If a student refuses to comply with a clinical facility immunization and vaccination requirement, Virginia Western Community College will attempt, but cannot guarantee, to assign a student to an alternative clinical facility. A student will be placed in an alternative location only if it meets the educational objectives of Virginia Western Community College and program requirements for clinical placement. Faculty also must be available to appropriately supervise students at the clinical facility. Refusal to comply with a clinical facility immunization and vaccination requirement by a student in our health programs may impede your progress in the program or your ability to remain in the program.
What about marijuana use and the required drug screen?
It is the student’s responsibility to “clear” their urine drug screen. A drug screen that has “positive” findings will not allow a student to obtain clinical placement and will result in removal from the program. Marijuana may be legalized under state law for clinical partners associated with the surgical technology program. However, the presence of marijuana metabolites in urine will result in a “positive” drug screen finding that prevents a student from obtaining clinical placement and resulting in removal from the program.
What is the policy regarding non-discrimination?
Applicants for admission to the Surgical Technology program are considered for class positions based on their ability to meet program admission standards, without regard to race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, or other non-merit factors.
Is there a waiting list? What process do I follow if I want to apply for a future year?
There is not a waiting list. All applicants who meet the deadline who are minimally qualified and complete the application process will be considered for the program each year. Applicants that wish to begin preparing for possible future consideration can submit the Surgical Technology application form with a note attached informing us of your future goal. You will still have to provide official transcripts with the application if you desire advising from the advisor so proper courses can be suggested. If you are planning to take classes to meet prerequisite requirements or completing support courses prior to entry, you will benefit from advising and receive updates on changes to the curriculum (if any).
What is the job skill option in the CSC: Introduction to Surgical Technology?
It allows applicants who may not be accepted into the AAS Surgical Technology program, to academically prepare students to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification exam, if the EMS 111/120 course sequence is completed. Also, if you have a healthcare licensure/certification (such as CCMA, CNA, Phlebotomist, etc,) if you submit a copy of your current license to the Health Professions Advising and Applications Office, we can complete paperwork on your behalf to determine if Credit for Prior Learning can be awarded for one of the options under the job skill portion of the CSC: Introduction to Surgical Technology.
Why are some support classes within the AAS Surgical Technology not covered by financial aid in the CSC: Introduction to Surgical Technology?
The CSC: Introduction to Surgical Technology consist of specific coursework that is designed to allow applicants to the Surgical Technology program to complete some of the courses required within the AAS and to also offer a job skill option to applicants in case of non-admittance to the program. Not all prerequisite and support classes are included in the CSC. The BIO 142 is not included in the CSC and the PHI 220 OR the PSY 230 is included, but not both. If you are using FA to cover the cost of classes, FA will not cover the cost of all BIO 142 and only one of PSY 230 or PHI 220, but not both. It will cover one of the courses, if FA eligible. If you wish to complete these courses prior to entry, you need to plan to pay for those courses out of pocket. If you are accepted into the AAS Surgical Technology program, at that time, FA will then cover those courses. The plan change for accepted students, to be placed into the AAS program from the CSC, typically occurs in late May or early June for the accepted students and is effective for fall semester.
Do I have to pass a licensing test to work as a Surgical Technologist?
Yes! In order to work in the state of Virginia, all Surgical Technologists must pass the National Certification Examination after graduating from a nationally accredited Surgical Technology Program. As of July 21, 2021, the state of Virginia also requires that anyone practicing as a Surgical Technologist must register with the Virginia Board of Medicine. Requirements for certification vary from state to state.