Applications for CWI’s Surgical First Assistant Now Open

Published: October 11, 2023

Applications for the inaugural Surgical First Assistant class at College of Western Idaho (CWI) are now open! Don't miss this exciting opportunity to launch your career in the field of surgery.

Elevate your career in the fast-growing healthcare industry with CWI's Surgical First Assistant program. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the need for Surgical Assistants and Technologists will grow five percent over the next decade, which is faster than average. About 8,600 job openings nationally for the occupations are projected on average each year.

Join our elite program, which is one of only thirteen in the United States and one of just three in the Western region.

Surgical First classes at CWI can help enrich your skill set and broaden your professional scope as a Surgical Technologist to prepare you to carry a more advanced role, have greater involvement in surgical procedures, and ensure optimal patient results.

Earn an advanced credential as a Surgical First Assistant with proficiency in:

  • surgical field visualization
  • tissue handling
  • patient positioning
  • trocar insertion
  • injection of local anesthetics
  • placement and securing of wound drains
  • and more!

Surgical First Assistant's level of involvement in the surgical procedure and their scope of practice increases compared to a Surgical Technologist. In the Surgical First Assistant program, students will acquire the skills to arrange surgical instruments, administer and distribute medications, deliver hands-on patient care, uphold sterility, and configure surgical equipment in an operating room setting. In addition to those skills, they will also gain a great understanding of the application of sterile and aseptic techniques, human anatomy, surgical procedures, and more.

The Surgical First Assistant program covers three semesters: spring, summer, and fall. Students will enjoy the advantage of in-person skills labs led by experienced Certified Surgical First Assistant instructors during the first semester, prior to beginning clinical rotations. The hybrid program format permits students to fulfill their didactic coursework online learning.

Applications for the 2024 Spring will be accepted through Friday, Dec. 1. For more information on the application process and requirements, please visit CWI’s Surgical First Assistant program page.

NOTE: The Surgical First Assistant program at the College of Western Idaho has a site visit scheduled for pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( This step in the process is neither a status of accreditation nor a guarantee that accreditation will be granted.

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