Surgical First Assistant

Advanced Surgical Training to Enhance Your Expertise and Career

Surgical First Assistant student in an operating room

Program Overview

Are you a Surgical Technologist looking to advance your career and play a more vital role in surgical procedures? The Surgical First Assistant program at College of Western Idaho (CWI) is tailored for professionals like you. This program offers an opportunity to enhance your existing skills and learn new ones necessary to assist surgeons more effectively during operations. Focusing on patient safety and surgical efficiency, you will deepen your understanding of surgical procedures, instrumentation, and patient care, becoming an indispensable part of the surgical team.

This program blends comprehensive theoretical instruction with hands-on clinical experiences. You will be mentored by seasoned healthcare professionals and engage in real-world surgical settings, preparing you to confidently support surgeons and healthcare staff and contribute to successful patient outcomes.

Degree or Certificate Type

Specialized Certificate

Time to Complete

1 year

Primary Location

Close up of gloved hands and tools during a surgery

Learning Opportunities

  • Surgical Skills: Develop the technical skills needed to assist in a variety of surgical procedures.
  • Clinical Proficiency: Gain hands-on experience in clinical settings, applying your knowledge in the operating room.
  • Instrumentation Expertise: Learn about surgical instruments and their proper use during procedures.
  • Patient Care Focus: Understand the importance of patient care before, during, and after surgery.
  • Professional Readiness: Prepare for a challenging and rewarding career as a Surgical First Assistant.

Area of Study

Degrees & Certificates

Surgical First Assistant – Specialized Certificate

Surgical First Assistant in an operating room

Career Opportunities

  • Postsecondary Teachers


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Surgical Technologists

    Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeons’ assistants, hold retractors, cut sutures, and help count sponges, needles, supplies, and instruments.


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

Load more

*Data sourced from Lightcast™ (2023), a global leader in labor market analytics, and limited to the state of Idaho. Contact CWI Institutional Research for questions regarding this data.


Admission into the Surgical First Assistant program is competitive and requires a supplemental application process.


  • Review the Surgical First Assistant Application Steps to which includes details on:
    • qualifications
    • admission to CWI
    • verifying certifications and employment
    • professional references
    • unofficial transcripts
    • applying to the program
    • next steps


  • Complete each step of the application process as indicated.

Step 3

  • Submit the program application and necessary documentation by the deadline.

Spring 2025 Application Period

  • Applications open in October. 

Academic Calendar New Student Checklist


Applications are now being accepted for College of Western Idaho’s Health Science programs.

Read more about Health Programs 2024 Application Deadlines

Applications for the inaugural Surgical First Assistant class at College of Western Idaho are now open!

Read more about Applications for CWI’s Surgical First Assistant Now Open
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