Certification Renewal Is A Two Step Process
Certificate holders are welcome to renew their CST or CSFA credential by testing. Most renew with AST approved continuing education credits submitted to the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST).
Earning and submitting CE and renewal of certification is a two-step process, and both steps must be completed to avoid the expiration of your CST or CSFA credential:
Step One: Earn and Submit Continuing Education (CE) Credits to AST
- All CE must be earned through AST-approved sources.
- Go to the AST Continuing Education Resource Center to earn CE; or
- Go to the Continuing Education Policies for the CST and CSFA for other ways you can earn CE.
- CE not approved by AST will not be added to your CE credit record for your current certification cycle.
- CE earned after the expiration date of your certification also will not be added to your CE credit record for your current certification cycle.
- Go to the AST CE Reporting Form to submit CE.
- Additional fees apply to submit approved CE earned in any period of non-membership during your certification cycle.
- All CE must be earned within the dates of your certification cycle – not before or after.
- You must renew your certification before it expires, by submitting the certification and renewal application fee (forms on this page) to NBSTSA, which enables us to begin the process of approving your renewal.
- The NBSTSA will verify your CE credit total after receiving the renewal application and fee.
- The NBSTSA strongly encourages you to submit the required CE credits to AST 60 days in advance of your renewal date to avoid any delay in processing your new card and certificate.
- Additional CE credits earned over the required number are not "rolled over" to the next certification cycle.
CSFA Online Renewal Application Form - Down For Maintenance
Purpose and Importance of Renewal
Commitment to professional development, continuing education and ongoing credentialing is a hallmark of professional practice. The decision to renew a CST or CSFA credential is an important component in delivering the best care possible for the surgical patient. The credentialed surgical technologist or surgical first assistant is a valuable contributing member of the surgical team. The NBSTSA commends all Certified Surgical Technologists (CSTs) and Certified Surgical First Assistants (CSFAs) for their ongoing commitment to the renewal of their professional credentials.
- Rapid changes in the operative arena necessitate ongoing and frequent assessment of continuing competence of the surgical technologist and surgical first assistant.
- Similar to standards established in comparable medical/nursing/allied health professions, and in order to encourage certificants to acquire new surgical knowledge on a continual basis, the NBSTSA has determined that a two year re-certification cycle is appropriate in the assessment of continuing competence of the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) and Certified Surgical First Assistant (CSFA).
- All candidates successfully acquiring certification as a surgical technologist or surgical first assistant through the NBSTSA will be required to demonstrate continuing competence and credential renewal via a two year re-certification cycle.
- Continuing competence and credential renewal for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) or Certified Surgical First Assistant (CSFA) may be accomplished via submission of continuing education credits or by re-examination.
Two Year Cycle - Fast Facts
Two-year certification cycle began January 1, 2020 for new and renewing certificants.
New CSTs and CSFAs will be put on the two year cycle when certified.
Existing CSTs & CSFAs will be put on the 2-year cycle at their renewal date
Thirty (30) continuing education credits will be required for a CST to renew at the end of the 2-year cycle.
Thirty-eight (38) continuing education credits will be required for renewing CSFAs to renew at the end of the 2-year cycle.
The renewal fee for each certification will be $25
It's half the time, half the fees, and half the credits for a two-year cycle vs the old 4-year cycle.
Phase-In: How It Works
For those currently certified - you do not need to do anything until your renewal date except work on earning the 60 credits for the CST credential or 75 credits for the CSFA credential that are required for the 4-year cycle that you are currently in. Nothing will change for you until you reach your certification renewal date.
Any new or renewing CST or CSFA will be certified for two years and will be required to renew their certification every two years thereafter.
The NBSTSA requires certification renewal every two years. Some certificate holders are currently completing a 4 year cycle and will then be placed on a two year cycle. The date certification expires is printed clearly on your card and certificate.
Individuals can use the following methods to renew certification, either:
- Earn and submit required continuing education credits within the renewal cycle to AST and submit a renewal application to the NBSTSA.
- Retake and pass the national certifying examination through the NBSTSA.
Individuals renewing certification may submit a renewal application up to 6 months before their expiration date. Upon satisfying renewal requirements, the NBSTSA renews certification for the individual and issues a new certification card and certificate.
NBSTSA encourages you to complete the required continuing education credits, submit them to the Association of Surgical Technologists, and then file your renewal application with NBSTSA early. This helps insure continuous, uninterrupted certification.
However, It is important to note that the certification cycle does not change based on the date paperwork is submitted. For example, an individual with a July renewal date that submits the paperwork in February for the July renewal date will receive a renewed certification card and certificate with a July date. In that case, continuing education credits earned between January and May would count on the old certification cycle, not the new cycle. There is no rollover of continuing education credits from one cycle to another.
Renewal By Continuing Education Credits
- CST’s that are completing a 4-year cycle must earn 60 credits in order to renew their credential. CST’s completing a 2-year cycle must earn 30 credits to renew their credential. Upon renewal of the credential all individuals will be placed on a 2-year 30 credit cycle.
CSFA’s that are completing a 4-year cycle must earn 75 credits in order to renew their credential. CFA’s completing a 2-year cycle must earn 38 credits to renew their credential. Upon renewal of the credential all individuals will be placed on a 2-year 38 credit cycle.
- The continuing education requirements on the 2-year cycle will include a small number of advanced level continuing education credits. More information on these advanced credits is available on the AST Web Site.
Individuals who hold both credentials (CST/CSFAs) must earn 38 credits within their renewal cycle to renew both credentials. Only a CSFA Renewal Application must be submitted to renew both.
Information about acceptable continuing education credits is available a the Association of Surgical Technologists web site.
The responsibility is yours to mail your renewal application in a timely manner, especially if you are required by your employer and/or state law to be certified. Renewal is not instant and is not effective the moment you turn in the application to renew. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for the NBSTSA to process your application and mail your new certificate and card.
You may choose to add rush processing for your application for an additional $50 charge. Rush processing is a guaranteed 3 to 5 business days in the office before we mail your new documents. If you pay the total fee by credit/debit Visa or MasterCard or a money order, your documents will be mailed immediately. If you pay the total fee by check, your documents will be held for mailing for 10 business days until your check has officially cleared through our bank.
You may elect rush processing for your application; however, NBSTSA will not honor requests to e-mail or fax notification to employers that an application was received for processing. We cannot give information to a 3rd party regarding unprocessed applications. If you need to prove to an employer that you submitted your application and have the required credits on file, you may call the NBSTSA on speakerphone so your employer can hear us confirm receipt of your application. As soon as your renewal has been processed in the database, it can be verified under the Verify Credentials section of this website or your employer can call us at 800-707-0057.
Renewal By Examination
Fees for Renewal by Examination
- $299 Current AST/ASA Members
- $399 Non-members
Individuals renewing their credential beyond the expiration date (late renewal) may do so by one of the following methods:
- Retake and pass the national certifying examination and pay all appropriate fees.
- Submit required credits that were earned prior to expiration of certification and pay the late fee (see our policy for late renewal). All credits must have been earned during your certification cycle, prior to your certification expiration date.
- Note: The late renewal policy has temporarily be extended from 90 days to 180 days, for certification dates that expire through June 30, 2021, and the $75 late fee will not be charged during that time.
IMPORTANT: Note that if continuing education credit requirements were not met (meaning that the correct amount of hours were not earned within the renewal cycle), the policy does not apply and the certification examination would have to be taken for renewal.
Pre-1977 CST Certifications
The NBSTSA started utilizing certification cycle dates on September 1, 1977, meaning anyone who was certified prior to that date is considered "certified for life" and is considered "noncurrent". Those certified before September 1, 1977 have the option to become "current" if they wish. To become "current", pre-1977 CST certified candidates must either pass the current CST examination or earn 60 continuing education credits. The continuing education credits must be earned within four years prior to when the application is received. All first-time currency earners must submit the Initial Application for Currency Pre-1977 Certification. A new certificate and card are issued when currency is earned. Maintaining currency is voluntary. To maintain currency, a renewal application must be completed before the current cycle expires. The cycle period is every 4 years. If earning credits, the credits must meet the criteria of the "AST Continuing Education Policies for the CST & CSFA" and be submitted to AST for processing. Best practice is to become an AST member prior to earning credits to avoid a processing fee. When currency lapses, the individual returns to "certified for life but not current" status. If there is a lapse in currency, the pre-1977 certified candidate must earn currency by taking and passing the examination. Pre-1977 CSTs who wish to sit for the CSFA Exam using the CST with Currency Experience Verification pathway must earn currency first.