Association of Surgical Technologists

Maine State Assembly

Association of Surgical Technologists
Association of Surgical Technologists

Certification FAQ

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about certification. For additional information regarding the renewal application when renewing by CE credits or recertification by exam, visit the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) website.

A friendly reminder to keep an eye on your certification renewal date. Once your credential has expired, the window to earn qualifying CE credits is gone and the only option then is to re-take the exam through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) who administers the national certification exams and issues the certification for CSTs and CSFAs.

AST encourages you to have your fulfillment of approved CE credits on file with AST at
least six (6) months before your certification expiration date.

  • Certified Surgical Technologist A® (CST) must earn 60 CE credits before the four-year cycle expires to renew the credential.
  • Certified Surgical First Assistant® (CSFA) must earn 75 CE credits before the four-year cycle expires to renew the credential.

Who is in charge of certification?
The certifying agency for surgical technologists and surgical assistants is the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). It is solely responsible for all decisions regarding certification.

Why do you charge a renewal fee when I am an AST member?
The NBSTSA charges a fee for recertification of your credential. AST and NBSTSA are two separate organizations. AST processes the Continuing Education Credits for individuals recertifying by credits and the NBSTSA does the actual recertification and issues the certification card and certificate.

Why are you charging me a late fee?
AST never charges late fees. The NBSTSA has late fee requirements if your renewal application was received after your certification expiration date.

Why do you require a photo?
The NBSTSA requires a photo with the renewal application for recertification. The NBSTSA
issues your new certification card with your photo. AST does not require a photo.

How can I schedule a time to take the recertification exam?
Once you receive your Authorization to Test (ATT) letter, you may contact Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) to schedule a time. Complete information is available at www.nbstsa.org.

If my certificate has the wrong name on it, what do I do?
Call NBSTSA at 800-707-0057, option 1, or www.nbstsa.org.

My certification has lapsed. Do I have to retake the exam?
Yes, unless one of the situations under Certification Expired Continuing Education Credits — by AST

How many credits do I need to renew my certification?
As of January 1, 2009 per the NBSTSA all certified individuals are on the four year certification cycle. Four-Year Certification Cycle — CSTs Certified Surgical Technologist® (CST) must earn 60 CE credits before the four-year cycle expires to renew the credential. Four-Year Certification Cycle — CSFAs Certified Surgical First Assistant® (CSFA) must earn 75 CE credits before the four-year cycle expires to renew the credential.

Why should I be an AST member when earning CE Credits?
Avoid the $400 nonmember processing fee!

How much does it cost to have AST maintain a record of the CE credits I’ve earned?
There is no charge for AST members for CE credit retention. It is part of the annual $80 membership benefits. Nonmembers: $400 AST nonmember fee.

How can I find out how many continuing education credits I have on file with AST?
Every time CE credits are submitted for processing, a CE credit letter is mailed for your records. As an AST member, you can check your CE credits online by using your login information at www.ast.org. Each January, AST mails an annual CE credit letter to all certified members with the total of continuing education credits that have been earned in your current certification cycle.

How much does it cost to submit all of my CE credits to AST?
Members: can submit their CE credits as often as they wish at no additional cost. Submission of CE credits is included in the $80 annual membership. Nonmembers: are subject to the $400 AST nonmember fee.

Can CE credits be earned by attending employer in-services?
Yes

Do I need to submit documentation from my local state assembly meetings and AST approved commercial programs? Don’t they automatically send this to AST?
No organizations or companies automatically send AST documentation. It is the responsibility of the CST or CSFA to submit proof of CE credits earned.

What categories do my CE credits go under?
There is no need to categorize your CE credits. Per the NBSTSA, categories 1, 2, and 3 have been eliminated.

How do I know that AST has accepted the CE credits I submitted?
After the credits are processed, AST mails a CE credit letter to you with the number of credits that were accepted. The letter is proof that AST processed your credits. Also, as an AST member you can check your CE credits online by using your login information at www.ast.org.

How long does it take AST to process CE credits?
CE credits are processed within 10 business days from the day they are received. AST encourages you to have your fulfillment of approved CE credits on file with AST at least six (6) months before your certification expiration date. Once your credential has expired, the window to earn qualifying CE credits is gone and the only option then is to re-take the exam through the NBSTSA

What happens to my CE credits that AST has recorded if I don’t renew my membership?
If AST membership lapses for more than 90 days, the CE credits earned and submitted while you were a member are maintained by AST and can be applied toward renewal of the credential.

If I join AST after I earned by CE credits as a nonmember will they be accepted toward renewal of certification?
CE credits are accepted with the $400 nonmember processing fee.

How can AST members access the CE articles and tests through the AST Online CE Resource site?
CE Credit Access (available 24/7 www.ast.org)

  • Click on “Earn CEs” on top of the homepage, little green button.
  • Click on link “AST Online CE Resource Site”
  • Under Member Log in Enter you’re “User Name” which is your full email address on file.
  • Under Member Log In Enter your “Password.”
  • This takes you to the Continuing Education Resource Center. The exam can be purchased online. If you prefer not to pay online, print out the certificate of completion and mail with appropriate fee to AST.

Nonmembers: Online CE credit access is a benefit of AST membership.

Is it $6 per credit to submit my CE credits as an AST Member?
CE credits earned through AST cost $6 per credit for members and $10 per credit for nonmembers. These rates only apply to CE credits provided by AST through the monthly issue of The Surgical Technologist or the AST Online CE Resource Center. They do not apply to credits not earned through AST.

Do I need to send proof of CE credits for recertification to the NBSTSA with my renewal application?
You do not need to mail proof of your CE credits to NBSTSA. Your CE credits are automatically on file with the NBSTSA.

How do I submit my continuing education credits to AST?

Checklist before submitting CE credits to AST

  • All CE credits earned while an AST member?
  • All CE credits earned within your current certification cycle set forth by the NBSTSA?
  • CE credits relevant to the medical-surgical practice of surgical technology and surgical assisting?
  • Submit CE Reporting Form? CE credits will be returned without a CE Reporting Form.
  • List each educational activity on the CE Reporting Form?
  • Submit proper documentation for each education activity listed on the CE Reporting Form? Keep originals of documentation and submit copies.
  • Enclose the proper fee (if applicable)?

Payment

  • Members: no additional fee for processing CE credits excluding AST tests.
  • Nonmembers: $400 processing fee. CE credits will be returned if no fee is enclosed.
  • Money orders, personal checks, institutional checks, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. Make Checks payable to AST.

3 Ways to Submit Your CE Credits

  • Mail to: AST, 6 West Dry Creek Circle, Ste 200, Littleton, CO 80120-8031
  • Fax CE credits to: 303-694-9169 Do not mail credits that were previously faxed.
  • Email scanned CE credits in PDF format to: [email protected] Do not mail credits that were previously emailed.