National Board congratulates MCC Surgical Technology program for 100% student pass rates

Mohave Wire

MCC Surgical Technology students from the 2017 graduating class who recently scored a 100% pass rate on the national board exam. Hands on study in one of the college operating room classrooms. Dannielle Lee, front left, Alyona Sokolova, back right, Ruth Broadhurst, front right, Reyma Keka, back right, “Dr. Bones” (Anatomical Study Skeleton), back middle. Not pictured - 2017 graduates Amanda Vernon and Megan Matthews.
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Mohave Community College’s Surgical Technology program students are setting a high bar when it comes to the national board exam pass rates.

Over the past year, every student in the MCC program passed the National Certified Surgical Technologist Exam, earning the program the rare distinction of accomplishing a 100% pass rate. 

By comparison, the national average pass rate was 69.8%, according to the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, NBSTSA.

Ben Price, CEO of the NBSTSA, recently sent a letter of congratulations to MCC Surgical Technology Director Michelle Diaz.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of NBSTSA, I would like to congratulate Mohave Community College for achieving a 100% graduate pass rate on the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) Examination.  Our sincerest congratulations on your success,” Price wrote in the letter.

“This is a great honor for our team and the students,” said Diaz.  “We’ve worked very hard to put together a top notch program that prepares students for the test and what they’ll face in the operating room.”

MCC has two classroom operating rooms with cutting edge technology that students will find in real operating rooms. 

“We’ve worked really hard to create an environment for the students that mimics the operating room, so when they get to their clinical sites they’re well trained and well prepared for what they’re going to be dealing with in the operating room,” said Diaz.

Surgical Technology students Yolanda Penry, right, and Samantha Engels, left, using high tech equipment in operating room setting classroom

Surgical Technology students Yolanda Penry, right, and Samantha Engels, left, using high tech equipment in operating room setting classroom

Many students are hired immediately after graduating and enter a career field where they can earn up to $65,000, according to Diaz.  The cost to the student for the two year program is around $13,000, which includes tuition, fees and other required material, but like most MCC students, several in the surgical technology program are getting financial aid, grants and scholarships to cover the costs.  

“I actually will graduate this program debt free, I never got any loans, strictly off federal grants and scholarships.” said Yolanda Penry, a mother who is balancing work, family and college.

Samantha Engels is one of Penry’s classmates and will also graduate with zero college debt thanks to grants and scholarships.  Engels, a single parent, has already worked in the medical field, on the clinical side.  However, after talking with surgeons she realized being in the operating room is her calling, plus she’ll make more money.

“My pay will probably double what I’ve ever made before, and being a single parent and having all the financial obligations on your shoulders, you have to find a career so you’re not struggling all the time,” said Engels.

The Surgical Technology program is based on the Lake Havasu City campus, but works well for students who will be commuting from other cities. 

For the first 2 semesters, students are only required to be on campus 2 days week, then they start working at clinical sites that have partnered with MCC.

“The thing that is really nice for our students is we try to put them in clinical sites from the city in which they’re in,” said Diaz.  “So for instance, my Yuma student, the first two semesters will be here two days a week, and then after that she’ll be doing her rotation at Yuma Medical Center.”

Diaz lets students know from the start that MCC’s program is challenging, but there are big benefits if you complete it.    

Applications for MCC’s Surgical Technology program are due by April 15 for admission to the Fall 2018 class.  Early submission is recommended and interview dates will be sent to all candidates, and will occur prior to June 15.

For more information, chat online at or call 1-866-MOHAVECC.

The MCC Surgical Technology program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs in cooperation with the Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology, and provides the knowledge necessary to take the national certification examination for surgical technology.