The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting is introducing the phase-in of a two-year certification renewal cycle requirement for both CSTs and CSFAs. This will become effective January 1, 2020.
How the Phase-In will Work?
For those currently certified, you don’t need to do anything now or until your renewal date, except work on earning the usual 60 credits for the CST credential or 75 for the CSFA credential. Then, on your next renewal date, you will be renewed on a new, two-year cycle, with 1/2 the continuing education requirement and at 1/2 of the renewal fee. For example, if your certification is now set to expire in June of 2021, you simply renew then, and you will be certified from 2021 to 2023.
The current certification policy requires the following:
Certified Surgical Technologist – completion of 60 continuing education credits and renewal every fourth year.
Certified Surgical First Assistant – completion of 75 continuing education credits and renewal every fourth year.
For those who are currently in a 4-year certification cycle, nothing will change for you until your current certification expiration date. When you do renew your CST or CSFA credential, your next certification will be valid for two years, and will need to be renewed at the end of those two-years. Any new or renewing CST or CSFA after 1/1/2020 will be certified for two years and will need to renew at the end of the two years.
Important: When renewing your current certification, you will be required to submit the usual 60 credits for the CST credential or 75 for the CSFA credential. After you are placed on the two-year cycle, the requirements will change to those below.
New Certification Requirements – Only For New or Renewing CST or CSFA on or After January 1, 2020
The new certification policy for new and renewing CSTs and CSFAs after 1/1/2020 will be:
Certified Surgical Technologist – completion of 30 continuing education credits and renewal every two years.
Certified Surgical First Assistant – Completion of 38 continuing education credits and renewal every two years.
The continuing education requirements on the two-year cycle will include a small number of advanced level/live continuing education credits. More information on this will be developed and available during 2019.
Remember: If you are currently certified, the required continuing education credits will be 60 for the CST or 75 for the CSFA to renew your certification until the end of your first two-year cycle (the first time you renew after January 1, 2020. From that point, you will be required to complete and submit to AST 30 credits for the CST or 38 credits for the CSFA in order to be eligible to renew at the end of your first two-year cycle.
***Anyone that renews prior to January 1, 2020 will be renewing on a new four-year cycle. At the end of that cycle, they will be renewed under the new two-year cycle.
Reminder: You need not do anything special before your current certification expires (it is encouraged that you earn the continuing education credits and apply with your renewal form early to allow for processing time). Just renew the next time you are due to renew, and we take care of the rest. After that, you’ll be on a two-year cycle with 1/2 the required credits, and 1/2 the required fee.
As always renewing your credential is a two-step process:
In order to renew your certification, you must do two things:
Submit required CE credits to AST
Submit the appropriate renewal form to the NBSTSA with the renewal fee.
* ** CST or CSFA credential holders also have the option to renew by re-taking the CST or CSFA examination.
Will the fees change?
The NBSTSA renewal fee will be cut in half, to $25. The current certification renewal fee for either certification is $50. On the two-year cycle, the renewal fee will be $25.
For those that wish to renew their certification by retesting, the fees will remain the same for 2020, $399 for AST members, and $499 for non-AST members.
My certification expires before January 1, 2020, what happens to me?
If you recertify prior to 1/1/2020, you will be renewing on a four-year cycle. Example: If a CST renews on 10/1/2019, they will be renewed for four-years, with an expiration date of 10/1/2023. Upon renewing on 10/1/2023, that person would be placed on a two-year renewal cycle with an expiration date of 10/1/2025.
What do I need to do?
All any current CST or CSFA needs to do is remember to renew your certification before the expiration of your current certification. Submit the required CE credits to the Association of Surgical Technologists with time for them to process (www.ast.org) , and submit the appropriate renewal form to NBSTSA along with the renewal fee, on time to avoid late fees or the need for rush processing fees.