The Surgical First Assistant program educates and trains students to safely and expeditiously assist in surgical operations. Students will gain experience with surgical procedure exposure, hemostasis, closure and other intraoperative surgical functions that help a surgeon carry out a safe surgical procedure.
In addition to intraoperative duties, the program provides students with knowledge and skills to perform preoperative and postoperative functions to better facilitate proper patient care under the direction and supervision of a surgeon in accordance with hospital policies, laws and regulations.
Surgical first assistant classes are offered in an online format. Students will be expected to attend clinicals in order to complete the 140 case requirement. Students are responsible for securing their own clinical site.
The program provides advancement opportunities for certified surgical technologists and registered nurses through a variety of instructional methods including online, laboratory and clinical experience and is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Following completion of the certificate requirements, students must apply and sit for the national CAAHEP certification examination.
First Step to Register - Attend an Advising Session
Determine Your Path
Surgical assistants help improve operating room efficiency, physician satisfaction, patient outcomes and care.
Advance your career by earning a Surgical First Assistant certificate. At COD, you'll discover:
- Small class sizes that ensure students receive personalized attention.
- Dedicated instructors with years of professional experience.
- Instruction utilizing state-of-the-art equipment.
- Flexible online courses.
- Affordable programs without creating overwhelming debt or draining a savings account.
Surgical First Assistant
The Surgical First Assistant certificate program provides students with career ladder advancement opportunities using a variety of instructional methods.
The Surgical First Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Outcomes Assessment Exam Results
Certified Surgical First Assistant (CSFA) exam given by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) results:
Class Success Rate by Year - 2022 (as of Aug. 2022)
Retention rate: 16 enrolled, 2 dropped/incomplete: 14/16, 87.5%
CSFA Participation in Certification Exam: = 13/14, 92%
CSFA Pass Rate in Certification Exam: 13/13, 100%
Graduate Placement (in field, continuing education) = 14/14, 100%
Return rate: Sent August 2022
Satisfaction rate: N/A
Return rate: 14/14, 100%
Satisfaction rate: 14/14, 100%
Retention rate: 12 enrolled, 1 dropped/incomplete= 91%
CSFA Participation in Certification Exam: 11/11 = 100%
CSFA Pass Rate in Certification Exam : 8/11= 72%
Graduate Placement (in field, continuing education) = 11/11 = 100%
Return rate: 8/11 = 72%
Satisfaction rate: 8/8 = 100%
Return rate: 11/11 = 100%
Satisfaction rate: 11/11 = 100%
Retention rate: 10 enrolled, 1 dropped/incomplete= 90%
CSFA Participation in Certification Exam: 8/9 = 88%
CSFA Pass Rate in Certification Exam (first time): 6/8 = 75%
Graduate Placement (in field, continuing education) = 9/9 = 100%
Return rate: 8/9 = 88%
Satisfaction rate: 8/8 = 100%
Return rate: 9/9 = 100%
Satisfaction rate: 9/9 = 100%
Retention rate: 9 enrolled, 1 dropped/incomplete: 8/9 = 88%
CSFA Participation in Certification Exam: 7/8 = 87.5%
CSFA Pass Rate in Certification Exam (first time): 7/7 = 100%
Graduate Placement (in field, continuing education) = 8/8 = 100%
Employer surveys: Return rate: 6/8 = 75%
Satisfaction rate: 6/6 = 100%
Graduate surveys: Return rate: 8/8 = 100%
Satisfaction rate: 8/8 = 100%
"COD helped me by having the most supportive professors and preceptors. To this day, I can call on (Professor) Ranzie (Wilson) or any of the other instructors at any time for advice or guidance." - Shavon HarshawShavon's COD Story
"College of DuPage helped me to reach goals I didn’t even know I could reach." - Umar TirmiziUmar's COD Story
"COD is an affordable option to develop a good career and allows flexibility to explore or pursue other careers." - Angelina CilellaAngelina's COD Story
Get Started Today
The first step to getting started in the Surgical First Assistant program is to read the Surgical First Assistant Registration Packet. The packet contains an admission checklist that you will need to follow in order to be eligible for registration.
Academic and Career Pathways give you a roadmap to achieving your career goals. Follow a pathway based on your degree that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.
Surgical First Assistant Program graduates will:
- Prepare competent entry-level surgical assistants in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.
- Provide a safe and caring environment, in which working as a part of the surgical team can provide a positive outcome for the patient.
- Provide the student with the information and skills necessary to demonstrate the ability to apply advance knowledge of normal and pathological surgical anatomy and physiology.
- Stimulate the ability to demonstrate effective communication about the surgeon's preferences and specific patient's need to the surgical team such as suture needs, specialty supplies and instrumentation, and equipment.
- Develop an understanding of and demonstrate the ability to provide preoperative skills such as assessing patient information, history, preoperative tests (EKG, EEG, EMG, lab values, diagnostic imaging), safety measures, biopsy results, positioning and draping.
- Develop a comprehension of, in order to display, the ability to provide intraoperative skills such as visualization, trocar insertion, injection of local anesthetics, hemostasis, tissue handling, placement and securing of wound drains, and closure of body planes.
- Acquire the knowledge necessary to demonstrate the ability to provide postoperative skills in patient care such as dressing application, patient transfer and transport, transfer of care, and monitoring for immediate complications.
- Learn the responsibilities of a team member and to apply the roles of a surgical assistant.
- Provide an environment that encourages individual motivation and growth.
- Stimulate technical and critical thinking and provide students with problem solving skills. To provide patient care applying knowledge to practice by incorporating this technical and critical thinking along with clinical reasoning.
- Recognize and to stimulate leadership qualities and abilities promoting professionalism in the field of surgical assisting.