How to Become a Surgical Tech in Iowa

Iowa map

Surgery techs play an important role in surgical procedures.

They prepare the operating room, assist the surgeon during surgery, and clean the operating room after surgery.

If you are fascinated by the medical field and human anatomy, surgical technology may be the right path for you.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Surgical Tech in Iowa

Surgery techs in Iowa aren’t required to be licensed or certified. However, most employers do require you to be certified before working as a surgery technician.

Eligibility for Certification

The most common certification is CST, or Certified Surgical Technician.

It’s offered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, or NBSTSA.

To be eligible for certification, you’ll need to complete a surgery tech training program approved by the CAAHEP or ABHES.

You’ll need to send in proof that you’ve completed the program along with an application.

Members of the AST, Association of Surgical Techs, will pay $190 for the examination, and nonmembers will pay $290.

Payment should be included with your application.

Once your application is approved, you’ll get an email to schedule your exam.

CST Examination

The CST examination consists of 175 questions. 150 of these are graded.

To pass the exam, you’ll need to get 98 out of 150 questions correct.

You’ll have 4 hours to complete the exam.

You can take breaks during the exam, but the clock keeps running.

Be sure to leave yourself enough time ot complete the test.

If you pass the exam, you’ll be a CST.

You can use the credential CST after your name.

5 Surgical Tech Schools in Iowa

Eastern Iowa Community CollegeEastern Iowa Community College

Eastern Iowa Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology.

The program can be completed in one year, but you’ll need prerequisite courses as well.

The total process typically takes about 2 years.

You’ll need 20 hours of prerequisite courses, including Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2, Microbiology, and Medical Terminology.

Courses included in the Surgical Tech program include Composition, Surgical Technology 1 and 2, and Advanced Concepts in Surgical Technology.

You’ll participate in two clinicals during the program.

This allows you to get hands-on experience as a surgical tech.

Des Moines Area Community CollegeDes Moines Area Community College Logo

Des Moines Area Community College, or DMACC, offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology.

You’ll spend time learning in the classroom, as well as hands-on.

The program takes two years to complete.

The school has an impressive 100% placement rating, which means every graduate has a job after they complete the program.

Iowa Western Community CollegeIowa Western Community College

Iowa Western Community College, or IWCC, offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology.

You’ll participate in classroom instruction and hands-on lab learning.

You’ll also participate in clinical rotations.

During clinical, you’ll work as a member of the surgical team.

Acceptance into the program is competitive, with 24 students accepted each year.

You’ll also need to complete prerequisite courses.

This typically takes one to two semesters to complete if you have no previous college credit.

Courses include Human Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology, and Technical Math.

Western Iowa Tech Community CollegeWestern Iowa Tech Community College

Western Iowa Tech Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology.

They offer a few ways to qualify for admission into the surgical technology program.

You can qualify if you have an ACT score of 20 or higher.

If you’ve completed an Associate or higher degree from an accredited college, you qualify as well.

You can also qualify if you’ve taken BIO 168 and BIO 173, and passed with a grade of B or higher.

If you’ve completed high school with a GPA of 2.7 or higher, and completed one year of high school biology with a grade of B or higher.

The program requires 65 credits, and typically takes 4 semesters, or two years to complete.

Courses include Surgical Procedures, Surgical Technology Practice, Patient Care Concepts, Microbiology, and Introduction to Psychology.

You’ll also participate in clinical, where you will work as part of the surgical team.

Kirkwood Community CollegeKirkwood Community College

Kirkwood Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology.

The program typically takes four semesters, or 2 years to complete.

To be accepted into the surgical technology program, you’ll need to apply to the college.

Then, you’ll complete prerequisite courses.

These include Introduction to Surgical Technology, Basic Anatomy & Physiology or Human Anatomy & Physiology I and Human Anatomy & Physiology II.

You’ll also need Medical Terminology.

You’ll also need to complete placement testing.

Lecture courses will be provided online in a self paced format.

Labs will be held at the college.

Clinicals will be at local hospitals and surgery centers.

Surgical Technician Schools in Iowa – Summary Table

Top 5 Schools in Iowa

School NameAddress
Eastern Iowa Community College101 W 3rd St, Davenport, IA 52801, United States
Des Moines Area Community College1144 7th St, Des Moines, IA 50314, United States
Iowa Western Community College2700 College Rd, Council Bluffs, IA 51503, United States
Western Iowa Tech Community College4647 Stone Ave, Sioux City, IA 51106, United States
Kirkwood Community College6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404, United States


Surgical techs typically earn an average of $50,100.

Salaries typically range from $45,000 to $55,300.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Surgical Technologists in Iowa

City NameSalary
Des Moines$50,700
Cedar Rapids$50,100
Sioux City$46,500
Iowa City$49,600
Council Bluffs$49,700
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Iowa

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Cedar Rapids, IA100$51,910$24.96$60,440$37,090
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL110$50,120$24.09$59,960$36,260
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA170$58,250$28.01$117,880$41,600
Dubuque, IA40$54,860$26.37$68,980$47,960
Iowa City, IA100$52,390$25.19$63,320$47,470
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD80$51,720$24.87$61,330$38,350
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA30$46,590$22.4$61,450$33,180
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Surgical Technologists, OCC Code 29-2055, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to become a surgical tech in Iowa?

Becoming a surgical tech in Iowa does require some effort and skill.

While certification isn’t required, most employers prefer to hire surgical techs with certification.

To earn a certification, you’ll typically need an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology, and pass the certification exam.

What skills do I need to be a surgical tech in Iowa?

To become a surgical tech in Iowa, you’ll need manual dexterity and attention to detail.

You’ll also need to be comfortable with blood, body fluids, and trauma.

Are surgical techs in demand in Iowa?

Surgical techs are currently in demand in Iowa, which makes it a good career choice.

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