Surgical Technology Standards and Guidelines Approval and Implementation2021-11-23T21:54:02-07:00

At their meeting on November 19, 2021, the Board of Directors of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) voted to approve proposed language to the Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in Surgical Technology. (See Approved ST Standards)

To provide programs additional time to review and implement the newly approved CAAHEP Surgical Technology Standards and Guidelines, the ARC/STSA Board of Directors has unanimously approved August 1, 2022, as the effective date for these Standards.

The ARC/STSA will present a series of webinars on the Surgical Technology Standards and Guidelines to assist programs with their implementation over the coming months. All training webinars will be posted at and announcements will be sent to each surgical technology program beginning in January.

For initial guidance regarding Standard I.A., the Sponsoring Institution and the Associate Degree implementation, please see below:

Guidance related to the implementation of Standard I.A.

  • For CAAHEP accredited surgical technology programs currently offering an Associate Degree only. No changes related to Standard I.A. implementation, the program has already established compliance with Standard I.A.
  • For CAAHEP accredited surgical technology programs currently offering both an Associate Degree and certificate/diploma track. The program may continue to enroll into the certificate/ diploma track up to July 31, 2022.
  • For CAAHEP accredited surgical technology programs that are certificate/diploma only (no Associate Degree award). The program may continue to enroll into the certificate/diploma track up to July 31, 2022. The ARC/STSA will require a progress report on the sponsoring institution’s progress towards compliance with Standard I.A. no later than July 1, 2022. This category of programs may apply for a two-year implementation extension beyond the August 1, 2022, date (for Associate Degree implementation only) between July 1 – July 31, 2022. The two-year extension would then begin on August 1, 2022.

ARC/STSA will provide additional details on the implementation of the Surgical Technology Standards and Guidelines over the coming months. Please contact the ARC/STSA at for guidance related to your specific implementation questions.

We’re Hiring for TWO Positions! Join the ARC/STSA Team – Apply Today!2021-10-22T12:57:26-06:00
Public Comment Period for ST Standards – Closed2021-09-16T08:42:10-06:00

As part of the national accreditation CAAHEP Standards development process, the ARC/STSA invites public comment on the proposed CAAHEP Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in Surgical Technology.

To provide comments, please download the linked annotated Standards and use the downloaded version as a reference to complete the linked survey to submit your feedback. After the closing of the comment period, an Open Hearing for each set of Standards will be conducted. If you would like to attend the Open Hearing, please register here.

Update of COVID19 Extensions & Postponements – June 1, 20212021-07-14T14:43:39-06:00

The following updates to previous extensions and postponements were approved at the March 2021 meeting of the ARC/STSA Board of Directors in consideration of the health and safety of surgical patients, students, educators, and volunteers during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

  • On-ground Accreditation Fundamentals for Educator (AFE) workshops have been discontinued through December 31, 2021. Virtual AFE workshops continue to be offered throughout 2021. To register or for more information, click here.
  • On-ground evaluations have been discontinued through December 31, 2021.
  • Virtual Site Visits for initial and continuing accreditation will be scheduled through December 31, 2021, for those programs that qualify. Programs that were due for continuing accreditation visits in 2020 and 2021 will be contacted with more details. On-ground site visits will be reinitiated once the ARC/STSA has determined that it is safe to conduct visits on campuses following the emergency period. See VSV policies for initial and continuing accreditation.
  • Submission of complete 2020 and 2021 Annual Report data has been postponed until the 2022 Annual Report submission.
  • Outcomes data must continue to be maintained on campus and will be required in combination with the 2022 Annual Report. A brief program status report confirming program contact information will be required this spring. Substantive changes must still be reported to the ARC/STSA within 30 days of the change; documentation supporting non-substantive changes should be maintained on campus for the 2022 Annual Report. More details coming soon on
  • Application process waived for emergency distance education delivery through December 31, 2021. No documentation is required at this time; however, distance education delivery continuing past December 31, 2021, may require submission of a distance education application and approval after this date. Track and maintain curriculum changes on your campus using the COVID-19 Plan of Action form.
  • Guidance provided in our April 23 COVID – 19 guidance document and FAQ sheet, regarding programs that graduate students with fewer clinical cases than required during the pandemic, has been extended until December 31, 2021. Please review the provided guidance in detail as the ARC/STSA has determined to uphold the required clinical case minimums as stated in the core curricula; and, simulation may not be substituted for clinical cases, as it cannot accurately replicate a surgical experience. It is important for sponsoring institutions to understand that this determination should only be considered by the program in the most extenuating of circumstances when the program has exhausted all other options to maintain compliance with currently established clinical case criteria. If, upon review of program documentation, the ARC/STSA establishes the program did not exercise due diligence in implementing this course of action, the program will be cited for non-compliance under Standard III.C. – Curriculum.

Thank you for your continued commitment to Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting education and for your dedication to your students, especially during these challenging times. Stay safe!

Board of Directors Call for Nominations – January 25, 20212021-01-25T16:57:31-07:00