Surgical Technology

Surgical Technology

Career Opportunities
Your career opportunities include working for hospitals, specialized health facilities and outpatient care centers. The region’s leading employers are seeking out our graduates!
Average Salary
The median annual wage for career opportunities for graduates of similar programs, according to the US Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Award Types: AAS Degree
Total Credit Required to Graduate: 68 (AAS)

 Does the medical world intrigue you? Are you ready to respond to a higher calling? At Southeast Tech, get to where you want to be in just twenty-four months with a Surgical Technology degree. As a Surgical Technologist, you’ll be an integral member of the operating room team who works closely with the surgeon, anesthesiologist and RN delivering direct patient care before, during and immediately after surgery. You’ll develop the skills to act as the primary scrub person who handles the instruments, supplies and equipment necessary for the completion of surgical procedures through intensive hands-on instruction. You’ll learn to anticipate the needs of the surgeon and have the necessary knowledge and ability to ensure quality patient care.

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This degree requires the use of a third generation or newer iPad with an external keyboard, which you’ll purchase on your own.

Program Outcomes
Additional Program Requirements


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Award Types: AAS Degree
Total Credit Required to Graduate: 68 (AAS)


Joyce Van Zee
Lab Specialist
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Joyce is a Certified Surgical Technologist who is currently the Lab Specialist in the Surgical Technology Program. She specializes with the “hands on” skills needed to work in the field of Surgical Technology. She has served Southeast Tech students for more than 20 years in adjunct and full-time positions as well as a preceptor for students in hospital industries.

Joyce currently works as a Surgical Technologist specializing in Cardiovascular Surgeries. “I love being part of a team that helps patients feel better. Even in the most stressful situations it is always a good feeling that we are part of a team to help make that possible,” says Joyce.

Joyce has been active with the South Dakota Association of Surgical Technologists (SDAST) serving a variety of Board of Director positions over the past 23 years both in the Regional and State levels. Joyce is currently the Vice President of the South Dakota State Assembly of AST. Joyce believes in the importance of being active in the organization in order to stay current with the changes going on in health care.

Joyce says, “The best part of working with students is seeing where the students start when learning how to “scrub” for the first time and seeing them graduate and working in the profession being proud of what they do.”

Education: AAS, Southeast Tech
Ruby Castardo, BSW
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Ruby Castardo is the Program Director, Instructor and Advisor for the Surgical Technology program. She received her B.S in Social Work from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell SD in 1982. After working as a Youth Counselor at Abbot House in Mitchell and Threshold in Sioux Falls. In 1985 she decided to pursue education for a career as a Surgical Technologist. She received her diploma in Surgical Technology from Southeast Vo-Tech Institute (now known as Southeast Tech) in 1986 and successfully secured and maintained the credential of Certified Surgical Technologist.

Upon graduation from Southeast Vo-Tech, she became a valuable member of the cardiovascular team at Sioux Valley Hospital where she worked until 1989. Moving to Grand Forks ND she was employed at United Hospital as a Certified Surgical Technologist specializing in Orthopedics, Neurological procedures as well as being a member of the cardiovascular team. In 1997, she returned to Sioux Falls, SD where she once again became an employee of Sioux Valley Hospital where she re-joined the Cardiovascular Team.

The love for the cardiovascular specialty had Ruby accepting employment at the Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota in 2001-2004 full-time and on a PRN status until 2010. Ruby’s love of “teaching” was apparent to her employers both in Sioux Falls and in Grand Forks, as she was often chosen to serve in a preceptor role for students of surgical technology and often helped orientate new hires and medical residents to the surgical environment. It was a natural transition to accept a position of full-time instructor and evidently Program Director for Surgical Technology in the fall of 2004 where she continues her love of teaching to date.

Ruby is happily married to a retired USAF Master Sargent whom she met while working in Grand Forks. Hobbies are reading, traveling throughout the United States and managing to complete a counted cross project once a year.

Education: BSW, Dakota Wesleyan University; Surgical Technology, Southeast Tech





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