From Ronald Kruzel, CST, CAE, MA,  ARC/STSA Executive Director

At the March 2019 meeting of the ARC/STSA, the Board of Directors approved the following language related to Standard I. A. – Sponsorship of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in Surgical Technology.

Standards language below appears in regular typeface; Guidelines language below appears in italic typeface.

I.  Sponsorship
A. Sponsoring Institution
A sponsoring institution must be at least one of the following:

  1. A post-secondary academic institution accredited by an institutional accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and authorized under applicable law or other acceptable authority to provide a post-secondary program.
  2. A foreign post-secondary academic institution acceptable to CAAHEP, which is authorized under applicable law or other acceptable authority to provide a post-secondary program.
  3. A hospital or medical center that is institutionally accredited and authorized under applicable law or other acceptable authority to provide healthcare.
  4. A branch of the United States Armed Forces.

All graduates must complete the program with a minimum of an Associate Degree on or after August 1, 2021.

Students possessing an Associate Degree or higher who are accepted into the program meet the intent of the Standard.

Programs in non-degree granting institutions may form articulation agreements to provide the Associate Degree to program graduates.

Accredited surgical technology programs yet to implement the Associate Degree may request a one-time extension of up to two years from August 1, 2021, for implementation.

While approved by the ARC/STSA Board of Directors, the proposed language now goes to the ARC/STSA sponsoring organizations, the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) for review. Both organizations have worked closely with the ARC/STSA over the past year to develop the proposed language and have reiterated their support of the transition to the Associate Degree. This is the first of many steps in the CAAHEP process for Standards adoption and revision.

ARC/STSA encourages all ARC/STSA communities of interest to review CAAHEP Policy 400 Standards Adoption and Revision in the most recent edition of the CAAHEP Policy and Procedures Manual, found on the CAAHEP website. You can find Policy 400 on pages 27-31, linked here.

The CAAHEP process related to changes in the Standards and Guidelines will provide many opportunities for the accredited program community to provide comment. I have spoken with many program directors, deans, campus presidents and corporate officers over the past year, both those in support of the Associate Degree and those concerned with challenges in implementation. ARC/STSA, along with our sponsoring organizations, is fully committed to working with all institutions in moving forward with the transition.

As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me personally by email at

With best regards,

Be sure to read these other articles from the latest ARC/STSA eNewsletter: