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A Mayo Clinic surgical first assistant in the OR

Program overview

Program length: Varies
Class size: 1-5 students each semester
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

This clinical rotation prepares students at GateWay Community College for careers as members of the operating room surgical team under the direct supervision of experienced nurses and surgeons. The length of the rotation is flexible and depends on GateWay program guidelines and requirements.

After completing the Surgical Technology Program, you will receive a certificate or degree from GateWay Community College, depending on the program in which you are enrolled.

Application process

To complete a clinical rotation with Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, you must be enrolled in the Surgical Technology Program at GateWay Community College in Phoenix. 


Once you are enrolled in the Surgical Technology Program at GateWay, you are eligible to participate in the Surgical Technology Clinical Rotation at Mayo Clinic by making arrangements through your college program director. You must successfully complete the required program coursework before you are eligible to complete the surgical technology rotations. Surgical Technology Program prerequisites are determined by GateWay Community College.

Non-U.S. citizen applicants

Admission to Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is open to U.S. workers in the four categories below. Therefore, visa sponsorship is not available.

  1. U.S. citizens
  2. U.S. nationals
  3. Lawful permanent residents
  4. Asylees and refugees

Applicants whose primary language is not English must submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based test (TOEFL iBT). Scores from the speaking portion of the exam are given particular consideration in admission decisions. Learn more about the exam and register online at the Educational Testing Service.

The Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences code for the TOEFL iBT is 5784.

Educational transcripts from schools outside the U.S. must be translated (if they are not already in English) and evaluated for U.S. equivalence by an accredited credential evaluation service company prior to submission. Please refer to the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services for a list of qualified companies. The applicant pays for the examination and credential-evaluation services.

How to apply

Mayo's affiliated school, GateWay Community College, processes the admissions and applications for its Surgical Technology Program.

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences works with GateWay Community College to fill the clinical rotation positions at Mayo Clinic.

Tuition and financial aid

Tuition rates are determined by and paid to GateWay Community College. Refer to the Surgical Technology Program website for tuition information.

Mayo Clinic does not charge additional fees. Mayo provides your scrub attire during your clinical rotations.

You are responsible for providing your living accommodations and transportation.

You may hold outside employment during the program if it does not conflict with your educational responsibilities.


The instruction includes a combination of classroom studies, classroom lab practice and clinical experience in the perioperative arena, such as the operating room, pre- and post-anesthesia care, and labor and delivery, which prepares students to assist members of the surgical team, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and surgical technologists.

The first phase of training is spent completing general education and technical requirements. The latter phase includes the core surgical technology coursework and the clinical experience at an affiliated clinic or hospital. During the last phase of the program, you can participate in three months of clinical rotations at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix.

Through Mayo Clinic's well-planned and supervised clinical rotation, you gain surgical technology experience in general surgery. The perioperative teams in general surgery provide care to patients requiring procedures of the neck, breast, stomach, small bowel, liver, pancreas, and spleen. In the general surgery area, gallbladder surgery, appendectomies, and many bowel resections are performed using laparoscopic technology. Other laparoscopic procedures include inguinal hernia repair, cholecystectomy, splenectomy, adrenalectomy, and lymph node biopsy prior to liver resection.


For the majority of the rotation, your learning schedule includes eight-hour days, two to five days a week.

Graduation and certification

You may obtain voluntary professional certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting by graduating from the GateWay Community College Surgical Technology Program and passing a national certification examination. You then may use the designation Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). Continuing education or re-examination is required to maintain certification, which must be renewed every six years.

Certification may also be obtained from the National Center for Competency Testing. To qualify to take the exam, candidates follow one of three paths:

  • Complete an accredited training program
  • Undergo a two-year, on-the-job training program
  • Acquire seven years of experience working in the field

After passing the exam, you may use the designation National Certified Technician O.R. This certification may be renewed every five years through either continuing education or re-examination. Most employers prefer to hire certified technologists.

Accreditation information

The Surgical Technology Program at GateWay Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

See accreditation information for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

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