CSFA Examination

 

Eligibility & Fees

Establishing Eligibility to Test

The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) retains the sole authority to establish eligibility requirements and make all final decisions regarding eligibility.

Before testing, individuals must first establish eligibility by submitting the appropriate examination application form along with the correct fees. NBSTSA does not refund processing fees for ineligible candidates.

Once approved, NBSTSA provides candidates with an Authorization to Test number (ATT), and both the phone number and web address to contact the testing agency to schedule the test.

NBSTSA accepts all properly completed applications from qualified applicants regardless of the applicant’s age, sex, race, religion, marital status, disability or national origin.

For a list of Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) approved surgical assisting programs go to www.caahep.org or call 727-210-2350. 


Surgical First Assistant Eligibility Options:

Option 1

 

If you are . . .

Then you need the following documentation:

A current or previously certified CSFA.

CSFA Renewal Application with your current or previous certification number written in.

Click here for the CSFA Renewal Application

Option 2

 

If you are . . .

Then you need the following documentation:

A graduate of a surgical first assisting program which was CAAHEP (www.caahep.org) accredited during your enrollment.  The website only lists currently accredited programs.  Call us at 800-707-0057 to find out about previously accredited programs or programs currently undergoing the process to become accredited.

ONE of the following: notarized letter (on institutional letterhead) from the Program Director which states your name, date of graduation and type of degree awarded, copy of graduation certificate, or transcript.  Transcripts do not have to be official; however, NBSTSA reserves the right to request an official transcript.

Click here for the CSFA Application.

Option 3

 

If you are . . .

Then you need the following documentation:

An NBSTSA certified CST with a facility willing to sponsor surgical first assistant experience training as defined by the Case Experience Requirements (CST with Currency).

A notarized CSFA Pre-Authorization Form signed by the Director of Surgery for each sponsoring facility and evidence of malpractice coverage.  Once pre-authorization is granted and you complete all cases, you will need a case log documenting 150 surgical first assistant cases total and one notarized Experience Verification Form for each sponsoring facility (filled out by the Director of Surgery) that corresponds to the cases on your log and demonstrates operative case experience as defined by the Case Experience Requirements (CST with Currency).  Case logs should be typed and include your name, the date of the procedure, the type of procedure and your role on the cases.  The cases in your log should be grouped by specialty.  A writeable PDF case log is included in the link below.

Click here for All Forms for CST with Currency Candidates.

*Please note, rush processing not available on this option.

Option 4

 

If you are . . .

Then you need the following documentation:

A graduate of a military training program in surgical technology, whether it was before, during or after having CAAHEP accreditation, with 350 clinical cases as a surgical first assistant within four years prior to when the application is received.

A copy of your DD214 (must state location of base where program was completed) OR a copy of your graduation certificate from the surgical technology training program OR a smart transcript, a case log documenting 350 clinical cases in the surgical first assistant role and a notarized Experience Verification Form (must be completed by the Director of Surgery where clinical experience was earned) that corresponds to the cases on your log.  Case logs should be typed and include your name, the date of the procedure, the type of procedure and your role on the case.  The cases in your log should be in order by date.  A sample case log is included in the link below.

Click here for All Forms for Military Trained CSFA Candidates.

*Please note, rush processing not available on this option.

Option 5

 

If you are . . .

Then you need the following documentation:

A current Certified Surgical Assistant (CSA) through the National Surgical Assistant Association (NSAA) or Surgical Assistant – Certified (SA-C) through the American Board of Surgical Assistants (ABSA) who has completed cases as defined by the Case Experience Requirements (CSA/SA-C) within two years prior to when the application is received,  and 50 Continuing Education Credits earned within two years prior to when the application is received (must meet the criteria of the "AST Continuing Education Policies for the CST & CSFA").

A copy of your CSA or SA-C certification document, a Reporting Form for Submitting CE Credits (CSA or SA-C Candidates only), a case log documenting 140 surgical first assistant cases total that demonstrates operative case experience as defined by the Case Experience Requirements (CSA/SA-C) and a notarized Experience Verification Form (must be completed by the Director of Surgery where clinical experience was earned) that corresponds to the cases on your log.  Case logs should be typed and include your name, the date of the procedure, the type of procedure, and your role on the case.  The cases in your log should be grouped by specialty.  A writeable PDF case log is included in the link below.

Click here for All Forms for CSA or SA-C Candidates

*Please note, rush processing not available on this option.

Testing Fees

First Time Test Takers

Processing Fee
Exam Fee (AST Members)
Exam Fee (Non Members)
Total Fee
$60
$130
$230
$190/$290

Students

Processing Fee
Exam Fee (AST Members)
Exam Fee (Non Members)
Total Fee
$60
$100
$200
$160/$260

Current or Previous Certified Surgical First Assistant Renewing Certification By Examination

Processing Fee
Exam Fee (AST Members)
Exam Fee (Non Members)
Total Fee
$60
$339
$439
$399/$499

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CSFA Examination Preparation & Content Outline 

The National Certifying Examination for Surgical Technologists and Surgical First Assistants covers the knowledge and skills common to competent entry-level Surgical Technologists and Surgical First Assistants in varied settings and geographical locations. NBSTSA committee members designed the examinations to assess the skills that comprise the core body of knowledge for all surgical technologists and surgical first assistants. The CST and CSFA examinations examine practical knowledge, and one night of studying will not lead to passing grades.

The following steps can help you prepare:

  • Read through the Examination Content Area Outline. (Effective August 1, 2012) All the areas listed may appear on the examination. Mark those areas with which you are not familiar or comfortable. Study those areas, or possibly attend a class or seminar. Remember the CSFA and CST examination is a broad knowledge based examination that does not test in one specific subject area or surgical specialty.

  • Read through the reference list (found in the candidate handbook). These references are the primary sources of information used when the examination questions were developed. Use these references to review and refresh your knowledge, particularly in the areas you identified as unfamiliar when you reviewed the Examination Content Area Outline. (Effective August 1, 2012)

  • Call and schedule an appointment as soon as you are ready to test to increase the chances of getting the time and date you want. Saturday appointments fill quickly.
  • Know the location of the test center, including parking areas, as well as the actual location of the test room. If necessary, call the test center facility to get directions.
  • You will need your identification for admission to the test. Prepare them the night before so there are no surprises the day of the examination.

 

CSFA Examination Content Outline (Effective August 1, 2012)

The CSFA Examination Content Outline can be found on pages 10-12 of the Candidate Handbook.

Effective February 1, 2010 candidates must correctly answer 112 questions to pass the CSFA examination.

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CSFA Examination Study Evaluation

Click here to fill out the CSFA Examination Study Evaluation to help give you an idea of what topics to focus your study time on.

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Reference Materials

Click here to review the current Certified Surgical First Assistant Reference textbook list.

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How to Apply

The 2014 CSFA applications are now available for download.

Click here if you are eligible by graduation.

Click here if you are eligible by CST with Experience Verification.

Click here if you are eligible by Military Surgical Technology Training.

Click here if you are eligible by CSA or SA-C with CE Credits.

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CSFA Practice Examinations

Take the Practice Examination, available through the NBSTSA. The cost to take the Practice Examination is $40.00.  These examinations are computer based simulations of the actual CSFA examinations. Candidates will receive an analysis of individual questions and performance.

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Examination Development – CSFA Examination

The Examination Review Committee for the Certified Surgical First Assistant examination (CSFA-ERC) has the responsibility within NBSTSA for examination design and development of the national certifying examination for surgical first assistants.

The CSFA-ERC is responsible for reviewing, editing, referencing and categorizing examination questions in accordance with Examination Content Outlines. CSFA-ERC members also participate in the Job Analysis survey.

The CSFA-ERC evaluates the examination for quality and continuity and as well as reviews statistical data on question performance. This assures the relevancy, currency and accuracy of the content of the CSFA examination. Professional psychometricians from Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) assist the CSFA-ERC in this process.

The CSFA-ERC is composed of members representing the major geographical areas of the country, to prevent regional bias on the examination. The committee consists of eight (8) professionals with the following qualifications:

  • Six (6) practicing Certified Surgical First Assistants (CSFA);
  • One (1) surgical first assistant educator from a NBSTSA recognized program;
  • One (1) Board Certified Surgeon.

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