Surgical Tech Age Requirements

How Old Do to Become a Surgical Technician?

Although the age requirements for surgical technicians may vary depending on the state, most certification and education pathways require a minimum of two years of training and a high school diploma or equivalent. While prospective surgical technicians may be able to enter the field strictly with an Associate’s degree, many employers may have additional educational requirements, such as a Bachelor’s degree or mandatory additional medical training before employment. Surgical technicians manage surgical equipment, hazardous fluids, and materials and require rigorous training to ensure safe medical practices under pressure. Consequently, most employers need surgical technicians to be at least 18 years old, with several years of additional training.

Becoming a Surgical Technician

The education prospective surgical technicians may need varies depending on their employer and state of employment. Most surgical technician programs and all employers will require candidates to have a high school diploma or equivalent. The pathway to employment will entail specialized training in an accredited surgical technology program, clinical training, and certification.


Clinical training, in addition to education, is held in high regard for prospective surgical technicians. Most surgical technology education programs include clinical components where students can acquire hands-on experience in real surgical settings. Future surgical technicians who are underage may earn clinical experience by volunteering in a more general hospital setting until they are of age.


Prior education in a program specific to surgical technology is an essential component of this career pathway. Prospective surgical technicians are advised to complete training programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Following education and depending on prospective locations of employment, future surgical technicians are additionally advised to seek certification by completing an exam offered by The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) or the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).

Job Description

A career as a surgical technician includes many responsibilities in and out of the operating room.

Duties of surgical technicians typically include:

  • Preparing Operating Rooms: 
    • Ensuring all necessary equipment and supplies are ready and sterile.
    • Certifying that the operating room is arranged to accommodate the surgical team’s needs.
    • Verifying the functionality of equipment such as surgical lights and monitors.
  • Assisting Surgical Teams:
    • Passing instruments, supplies, and sterile items to surgeons and nurses.
    • Anticipate the needs of the surgical team.
    • Maintain sterile practices by following aseptic techniques.
  • Patient Preparation:
    • Assist with patient positioning on the operating table.
    • Ensure patients are appropriately draped and prepared for the procedure to protect privacy and prevent contamination. 
  • Instrument Sterilization and Maintenance:
    • Clean, sterilize, and organize surgical instruments and equipment.
    • Perform routine maintenance checks on surgical instruments and report any issues.
    • Monitor and manage the inventory of surgical supplies and equipment.