History of the NBSTSA

The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), formerly the LCC-ST was established in 1974 as the certifying agency for surgical technologists. NBSTSA is solely responsible for all decisions regarding certification; from determining eligibility to maintaining, denying, granting and renewing the designation. In 2005 the NBSTSA relocated its headquarters to Littleton, Colorado.

The NBSTSA is governed by a nine (9) member Board of Directors composed of:

  • Six Certified Surgical Technologists (CST’s), and Certified Surgical First Assistant (CST/CSFA),
  • One public member
  • One surgeon; as appointed by the American College of Surgeons (ACS)
  • One surgical technology educator.

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) reviews and grants accreditation to the NBSTSA for its administration of both the CST and CSFA certifications.

The purpose of NBSTSA is to determine, through examination, if an individual has acquired both theoretical and practical knowledge of surgical technology or surgical first assisting. In addition, through the acquisition of continuing education credits or by re-examination, CST’s certified after August 31, 1977 and all CST/CSFAs are required to stay up to date with changes in the medical field.

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Organizational Bylaws

Click here for the full Organizational Bylaws document

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Purpose of Certification

Certification as a Surgical Technologist or Surgical First Assistant demonstrates that the individual meets the national standard for knowledge that underlies surgical technologist and surgical first assistance practice. Certified individuals possess mastery of a broad range of skills related to surgical procedures, aseptic technique and patient care.

Because certification is voluntary, the choice to become certified exhibits pride in the profession, the desire to be recognized for mastery of scientific principles, as well as an ongoing commitment to quality patient care. Certification is a means for upward mobility, a condition for employment, a route to higher pay, and a source of recognition nationwide.

Approved candidates who take and pass the CST examination are authorized to use the initials CST as long as they maintain certification currency.

Approved candidates who take and pass the CSFA examination are authorized to use the initials CSFA as long as they maintain certification currency.

CST’s certified prior to September 1, 1977, may voluntarily comply with The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), formerly the LCC-ST ’s continuing education or re-examination requirements.

CST, CSFA, and CST/CSFA are federally registered trademarks and service marks owned by NBSTSA.

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NCCA Accreditation

NCCAThe National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) was created in 1987 to help ensure the health, welfare, and safety of the public through the accreditation of certification programs and organizations that assess professional competence. The NCCA evaluates certifying agencies on a comprehensive set of criteria, including appraising the appropriate certification requirements, assessing the occupation being certified, and weighing both the validity and reliability of the certifying agencies examinations. Certification programs that receive NCCA Accreditation demonstrate compliance with the NCCA’s Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, which were the first standards for professional certification programs developed by the industry. The NBSTSA has the only NCCA accredited examination programs for surgical technologists and surgical first assistants in the nation.

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