In an operating room, there's no room for mistakes. All team members have important jobs that must be done precisely. A surgical technologist makes sure the correct instruments, supplies and equipment are ready, available and sterile. Tyler Junior College in Texas offers two programs in surgical technology: a certificate and an associate degree. Because this profession comes with a high level of responsibility, TJC has strict requirements for accepting students into the programs.

General Requirements

Each prospective student must send in school transcripts and an application to the TJC Nursing and Health Sciences Department. Students need at least a C in any prerequisite classes and a minimum college grade point average of 2.5. In addition, most students take the Texas Higher Education Assessment, an Internet-based test of reading, writing and math. However, applicants may take the THEA quick test or the Accuplacer if deadlines are an issue. The quick test is print-based, covers the same material as the THEA and is offered in more locations.The Accuplacer is a computerized exam of high school level knowledge, and results are available immediately. This is the test recommended for students applying from out-of-state.

Certificate of Proficiency

The surgical technology certificate program is nine months long and focuses on professional studies. Prospective students must complete several prerequisite courses before applying to the program, including two classes in medical terminology and one in anatomy and physiology. The medical terminology classes teach prefixes, suffixes and root words of medical terms, as well as words used in diagnostics and surgery, and the anatomy and physiology class covers the structure and function of body tissues and systems. In addition, a microbiology course must be taken either before or during the program.

Associate Degree

The Associate of Applied Science degree is a two-year program. For the associate degree, Tyler Junior College requires several general education classes in addition to the professional courses needed for the certificate. Students have some flexibility here, as the classes may be completed either before or during the AAS program. However, finishing courses before applying gives students an advantage during the selection process. Besides the four required certificate classes, AAS students must take an advanced anatomy and physiology course, general psychology, introductory sociology and human growth and development. Students also take electives in computer science, speech and humanities or fine arts.

Other Considerations

After the exam results, transcripts and prerequisite courses have been submitted and processed, the admissions committee looks at students’ additional qualifications. Applicants earn points in several categories, such as level of prior education, previous health care employment, GPA and location of residency. The 16 students who are awarded the most points are accepted into the program for the upcoming fall semester.

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