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*School of Health Sciences*

Library and Learning Services information hub for all things School of Health Sciences.

Information from the Department Chair of the Medical Administrative Assistant Program

Welcome to the Surgical Technologist program!  Upon completion of this program, you will achieve an associate’s degree that prepares you to work under the supervision of physicians and surgical nurses to maintain, monitor, and enforce the sterile field and adherence to aseptic technique by preoperative, surgical team, and postoperative personnel. Your instruction will include instrument and equipment sterilization and handling, surgical supplies management, wound exposure and closure, surgical computer and robot operation and  monitoring, and maintenance of hemostasis, and patient and team scrubbing.

Your work setting could vary with employment primarily in hospitals, physician offices, outpatient surgery centers and dental offices. You will function as a part of a surgical team, so your knowledge, professionalism, and focused patient skills will be vital to maintaining a superior patient experience. 

Our program prepares you to be able to step into this role, in any setting, with the knowledge and confidence needed to be a valued employee. 

The Surgical Technologist program is classified as an associate’s degree.  There are different degrees available at Rasmussen College depending on the program you are enrolled in.  The type of degrees offered are certificate, diploma, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees, each of which requires a different total degree credits needed to achieve that particular degree.  The ST program requires 92 credits to graduate with an associate’s degree.  There is a national certification that is needed to practice as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).   

The Surgical Technologist (ST) program is a residential program for core courses, meaning that both lecture and lab will be held residentially on campus and Clinical Practicum experience at clinical facilities.  ST students will be required to attend two quarters 500 hours of clinical experience at a clinical surgical facility. The ST program can be completed in 7 quarters with each quarter being 11 weeks long, meaning a student could complete this program in about 20 months (between each quarter there is a 2-week break).  Each core course is 11 weeks long (the length of a quarter). Some general education courses in this program are 5.5 weeks long, or half a quarter.  It is a bit strange to students at first, especially the half-week aspect, but research demonstrates higher student success in this model.

Students, if you have any questions or concerns about your courses or course schedule, please reach out to your campus Student advisor, ST Program Coordinator or your Department Chair, Tammy Renner.

Each quarter is 11 weeks long and are divided into term 1 (T1) and term 2 (T2).  T1 refers to the first 5.5 weeks of the course, and T2 refers to the last 5.5 weeks of the quarter (for a total of 11 weeks).  In one 11-week quarter of courses, a student can take a course during T1 and a course during T2 for a total of 2 courses taken in that quarter.  

Watch this video to see how T1 and T2 setup works within a calendar quarter.

So how do you prepare yourself?  Time management is going to be your key to success.  Make sure you check out the Time Management tab to make sure you are set on your time management skills before the quarter starts and are ready to tackle these 5.5-week courses.  Also, understanding how to make tutor appointments is great to know as well.  You can even meet with a tutor for time management tips.


Time management is an important life skill and is essential for you to be successful in your courses and program.  Take the time prior to classes starting to put together a time management calendar.  This is where you map out and assign/budget your time during each week for academics, work, family, and personal time.  Creating this calendar will provide you with the pathway to success and allow you to balance college with other aspects of your life.  Rasmussen College has two excellent resources to help you learn how to manage your time efficiently: 

1) Within the Student Success Guide, there is a section entitled Managing Your Time--Getting It All Done with tips and downloads to help you organize your time, including time management calendars to help budget your time.  Here is a quick link: (scroll down to the bottom box and click on Handouts).  Please also visit our Time Management Tips from Students box in the Study Skills section of the Health Sciences Guide.

2) You can make an appointment with a tutor that is trained in time management skills, and they can work with you to help you create a time management calendar.  It's a great idea to schedule even before the term starts to ensure you have a plan that starts you on the right track.  

Use this link to learn how to make an appointment with a tutor (you need to be able to log into the student portal):   Appointments for time management help can be found under Success Skills.  Remember, you can make an appointment with a tutor for coursework assistance as well.  See the Tutor Appointments tab for more information.


Asking for help seems simple enough to do, but yet so many students fail to do it, many being scared to ask or some waiting too long.  Be proactive--ask for help as soon as you need it!  Every single employee at Rasmussen College is committed and dedicated to your success and is here to help.  Sometimes we can’t tell if you need help or have a question, so you have to be proactive about asking questions.  You can call or email your instructor, your student advisor, your program manager, or your department chair with questions and/or concerns.  The sooner the better--don’t let your questions or concerns fester and become bigger problems.

Another person you can ask for help with is a tutor.  You can schedule an appointment with a tutor for help over the phone, online, or even in person (where it is offered).  You can get help with specific courses (such as Medical Terminology or Structure and Function), with writing a paper in APA formatting, with managing your time more efficiently, or even with improving your study skills.  The college has tutors that are trained in your specific need of help.  Click here for more information on our Health Sciences tutors or here for step-by-step instructions on scheduling a tutoring appointment.  


Students will most likely have Medical Terminology and Structure & Function in their first quarter.  Both of these courses contain a technology aspect where students will have to do voice and/or video recordings to submit as a part of their assignments.  This can be intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple.  When students are required to use various technology within their courses, there's always detailed instruction, and if students have questions or concerns about any technology issues, there are numerous resources to help, including your instructor, student advisors, tutors, the Health Sciences Guide, and the Personal Support Center, available free of charge 24/7 at 1-866-693-2211.          

The ability to use technology is a valuable skill you can transfer to many situations.  We call this digital fluency.  No matter what professional field a student is pursing or even employed in, having the confidence and ability to use technology (including learning new technology/software) is a vital component to being a valued and successful employee.  As students continue through their programmatic courses, they will gain this confidence, knowledge, and ability to become digitally fluent.