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Equip yourself for an exhilarating profession within the rapidly expanding healthcare industry through College of Western Idaho's (CWI) Surgical First Assistant program. This program can help enrich your skill set and broaden your professional scope as a Surgical Technologist to prepare you to carry a more advanced role, having greater involvement in surgical procedures, ensuring optimal results for patients. 

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 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, fall. Students will enjoy the advantage of in-person skills labs led by experienced Certified Surgical First Assistant instructors during the first semester (spring), prior to beginning clinical rotations.

In addition to surgical skills, 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.

Certified Surgical Technologists who are presently certified by the NBSTSA can enrich their skill set and broaden their professional scope by taking this Surgical First Assistant program.

The hybrid program format permits students to fulfill their didactic coursework online learning.

The Surgical First Assistant program at CWI is a competitive entry program, accepting 18 students per year. It is recommended you work with your advisor in preparation for entry into this program.

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Want to learn more about this program and other healthcare programs at CWI? Join a Healthcare Information Session to learn about the programs, what you can do to prepare for the programs, meet advisors and instructors, and ask questions.

View Upcoming Sessions

Pencil Application IconApplication Process and Requirements

Applications for the 2024 Spring start will be open on Oct. 1, 2023 and are due by Dec. 1, 2023.

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants will be notified of the status of their application via their CWI student email. 

Application Process

  1. Complete CWI Associate Degree or Technical Certificate application and be accepted to CWI.
  2. Verify your coursework by:
  3. Complete the Surgical First Assistant Program Application and submit by the due date.

Surgical First Assistant Program Application

For help or questions regarding the Surgical First Assistant Program Application, please contact:

Rob Blackston
Program Director, Surgical First Assistant Program

Mona Bourbonnais

NOTE: The program is seeking initial CAAHEP accreditation which will allow graduates to sit for the Certified Surgical First Assistant exam through the NBSTSA.

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College of Western Idaho is committed to maintaining a Respectful Community by providing equal opportunity for all individuals and does not discriminate in services, benefits, or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, veteran status, age, or any other legally protected status.  More on Title IX

News and Blogs

Surgical Technologist students working with instructor

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