By Ron Kruzel, MA, CAE, CST, ARC/STSA Executive Director

“Summer breeze makes me feel fine, blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind…”

—Seals and Crofts, “1972”

With summer coming to a close, I hope that you all were able to take some well-deserved time off to relax and recharge. This year is rushing by at a frantic pace, and there is much to update you on from the world of accreditation.

Pandemic Update: ARC/STSA is continuing to monitor and assess the pandemic as it relates to our accredited programs. As things slowly opened up in the late spring, we were encouraged as we all continued to look to a return to normalcy. As we move into late summer, the Delta variant has raised some concerns about the continued spread of the virus, threatening the progress made. Looking to the fall, ARC/STSA will share a pandemic update, outlining changes that may be coming related to the accreditation pandemic response. Be assured that your safety, and that of your students and your community partners, is paramount in our minds.

Standards and Guidelines: The Surgical Technology Standards have moved through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) Standards Committee and ARC/STSA sponsoring organizations. The CAAHEP public comment period is now open through September 12, and the open hearing will take place Tuesday, September 28 at 11 a.m. MT. Anticipated implementation of the new Standards is January 1, 2022, with the two-year extension for associate degree implementation available for programs upon request.

The Surgical Technology Standards timeline of events.

Earlier this summer, ARC/STSA convened a task force of surgical technology educators, site evaluators and board members to review and revise the Surgical Technology Standards Interpretive Guide (ST-SIG). The task force will redevelop this document into a new “best practices” guide available to our programs with implementation of the new Standards by January 1, 2022, as well. It will share best practices in the development of didactic, lab and clinical curricula, and focus on specific practices related to compliance.

Recently proposed policy changes within CAAHEP have delayed the Standards review process for our Surgical Assisting Standards and Guidelines. ARC/STSA will communicate with our surgical assisting programs on possible implementation of these policy changes, and what impact the changes may have on our accredited programs.

Core Curriculum News: The ARC/STSA looks forward to the publication of the “Core Curriculum for Surgical Technology, Seventh Edition” (or “CCST 7e”) in September. We are delighted to collaborate with the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) on this thorough redraft of the curriculum document. As with previous releases, ARC/STSA will allow programs a two-year implementation period for the new curriculum.

On August 1, 2020, the ARC/STSA notified our accredited surgical assisting programs of the implementation of the “Core Curriculum for Surgical Assisting, Fourth Edition” (or “CCSA 4e”). As with the “CCST 7e,” surgical assisting programs have a two-year implementation period for the “CCSA 4e.” After August 1, 2022, surgical assisting programs must have fully implemented the “CCSA 4e.”

Accreditation Management System in Progress: Work began in July on new accreditation management software for the ARC/STSA! This software will greatly improve accreditation services to our programs, enhance data processing and provide easier access to ARC/STSA accreditation processes. We are excited to collaborate with Heuristic Solutions on the implementation of this program enhancement. Keep an eye out for updates as we progress through the remainder of 2021.

As always, please reach out to me at any time at I am happy to set up a time to talk, answer your questions or discuss your challenges.

Take some time to enjoy the jasmine in the air and, most importantly, take care of yourself. You are VIPs and critical to your students, colleagues and all of us here at the ARC/STSA.