CSFA - Certified Surgical First Assistant
- Renews every 2 years
A Certified Surgical First Assistant (CFSA) works directly with surgeons and the operating room team, anticipating the surgeons needs during the operation. In this role, you not only help the surgeon select equipment. You also provide hands-on help during the surgery when needed by stopping bleeding and holding open or closing incisions.
This certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) is required for graduates of a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) approved surgical first assistant program before they can start their careers.
If you are a member of the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), the exam costs $190. It is $290 for non-members. Re-take fee is $190 for AST members and $290 for non-members.
It can take as many as six weeks for your application to be processed. The exam questions on this four-hour test are based on the tasks necessary to perform successfully in this role. It consists of 175 questions, 150 of which are scored and 25 of which are unscored test questions. To pass, you must get 97 of the 150 scored questions correct. If you do not pass, you can retake the test up to three times in a calendar year.
To apply to take this exam, you must meet the following criteria:
Graduate from a Surgical First Assisting Program with CAAHEP credentials
Provide one of the following:
A notarized letter on the school’s letterhead from the program director stating your name, program, and date of graduation
A copy of your completed program certificate
A transcript from your school
Once your application is approved, you will schedule the exam through PSI online or by phone. You will need to bring two forms of identification with you to the testing site.
You must renew your certification every two years.
There are two ways to do so. First, you can earn and submit 38 CU credits using AST-approved sources and then submit the renewal application to the NBSTSA. The other option is to retake the certifying examination.
Renewing by Exam: $299 for AST members and $399 for non-members
Renewing by Continuing Education (CE): $25
Renewing 1-90 days after expiration date: $75 late fee
The NBSTA also offers the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).
What if I have to postpone my exam?
There are six acceptable reasons for postponement: court appearance or jury duty, disabling accident, serious illness of the test taker or immediate family members, death of an immediate family member, unexpected military duty call-up, or other extenuating circumstances. Documentation is required, and you will be notified about whether you can retake the exam.
What should I expect on the exam?
NBSTSA has a thorough list of subjects you should study to prepare for the exam.
Can I earn a CSFA online?
Yes you can earn a CSFA online.
What organization offers the CSFA?
The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) offers the CSFA.
What other certifications does the NBSTA offer besides the CSFA?
The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) also offers the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).