Frequently Asked Questions

What is ABSA.net

The American Board of Surgical Assistants (ABSA), was founded in 1987, by Paul F. Weeks, M.D. as a national credentialing organization, for surgical assistants. The ABSA administers a national / international certification examination, for surgical assistants, covering all surgical disciplines and all areas of perioperative medicine. The examination evaluates candidate knowledge of surgical anatomy, procedures and techniques, diagnostic studies, emergency situations, OSHA regulations and general patient safety.

We acknowledge that the role and function of a surgical assistant is to assist the surgeon, in the performance of a surgical procedure. It is understood and acknowledged that certification as a surgical assistant through the ABSA (SA-C) does not allow for any independent performance of any medical or surgical procedures, within the United States of America or its territories.

Is the ABSA going out of business?

No, the ABSA is definitely not going out of business! We have just completed our 30th year and we are continuing to expand internationally.

For US & Foreign trained Physicians
Medical school completion (diploma)
CV (resume)
2 x 2 color photo
PayPal receipt (from paying online with your credit card)
All documents will need to be scanned into your computer. These documents must be less than 2 Mb each and are uploaded into your application.

For Licensed and Non-Licensed Personnel
PA's, RN's, LPN's, CST's and ST's must provide documentation of successful completion of a formal surgical assisting training program, with a curriculum approved by the ABSA
CV (resume)
2 x 2 color photo
PayPal receipt (from paying online with your credit card)
All documents will need to be scanned into your computer. These documents must be less than 2 Mb each and are uploaded into your application.

For ABSA Approved Training Programs
Must provide documentation of successful completion of the formal surgical assisting training program.
CV (resume)
2 x 2 color photo
PayPal receipt (from paying online with your credit card)
All documents will need to be scanned into your computer. These documents must be less than 2 Mb each and are uploaded into your application.

If you are self-employed, the documentation ABSA will need is as follows:
Case Log Form (1 page form on our web site)
Verification of Continuing Education (hospital in-services, journal readings, etc.. )
Verification of current ACLS or PALS or CPR (your card or certificate)
Pay-Pal receipt (paying online for recertification)

If you are employed by a hospital, group or physician, the documentation ABSA will need is as follows:
Employment verification form (1 page form on our website that your supervisor will sign stating you meet ALL the requirements listed)
Pay-Pal receipt (paying online for recertification)

Any CAAHEP Accredited Surgical Assisting program http://www.caahep.org/Find-An-Accredited-Program/ or any of the ABSA approved surgical assisting schools listed on our website at: www.absa.net.

Please send an email to to our office at: office@absa.net including your name, address, certification number and that you are applying for Illinois Surgical Assistant License. Please attach a copy of the AFF-SA form with ONLY the top portion completed (ABSA will complete the middle and bottom portion). TheABSA will send documentation in a sealed envelope to you. You will then attach the unopened "sealed envelope" to your license application. Note: The CT form does not need to be completed by the ABSA; This form is if you are a current US licensed physician, transferring your license from one state to another.

Please send an email to our office at: office@absa.net including your name, certification number and that you are applying for a Texas surgical assistant license. The ABSA will send documentation directly to the Texas Medical Board.

Please send an email to us at: office@absa.net including your name, address, certification number and that you are applying for DC Surgical Assistant License and the ABSA will send documentation in a sealed envelope to you. You will then attach the unopened "sealed envelope" to your license application.

Please send an email titled "Name change" to office@absa.net including your previous name, new name, certification number and address. You will need to attach legal documentation of your name change, for the ABSA to make changes. The ABSA will make changes in our system and issue you a new certificate with name change.

Please send an email titled "updated address" to office@absa.net including your name, certification number and your current address. We will update your address in our system.

To download a Surgical Assistant Scope of Practice / SA Position Description:


No, at this time the examination is strictly "Paper & Pencil." There are 150 questions covering "General Knowledge" and a 20 question "Surgical Instrumentation" section. There is also a "Practical Section" dealing with sewing and tying as described on our web at: www.absa.net and in the study guide.

Click on the "Yellow" button marked Verification Database and enter your name or certification number and hit the submit button.

Your fee covers the examination. Once we receive your completed application, it is reviewed and if approved, you will receive your confirmation letter and a comprehensive study guide, at no additional charge, to you. The study guide is available only after receiving your completed application.approval.

At this time the examination is strictly "Paper & Pencil." There are 150 questions covering "General Knowledge" and a 20 question "Surgical Instrumentation" section. There is also a "Practical Section" dealing with sewing and tying as described on our web at: www.absa.net and in the study guide.

ABSA Certification is national / international. We are not a "State" organization. We have advised individuals to enter either Nat'l or Int'l.

The "Occupational Training" is your primary training i.e. Physician, Registered Nurse, Surgical Technologist etc.. Surgical Assistant is not a primary training.

Yes, all forms of medical / surgical education, conferences and in-services are generally acceptable, towards ABSA recertification.

All forms of medical / surgical education, conferences and in-services are generally acceptable, towards ABSA recertification. You can also visit our "Links" page on our web at: www.absa.net, where we have links, to free continuing educational sites.

The fee is $10 for duplicate or replacement certificate. Contact our office, by email at::office@absa.net and include in the email your name, address, certification number and that you need a duplicate certificate. We will forward the instructions and a PayPal link, on which you will pay.

The ABSA will email you a comprehensive review guide, once your application is accepted.

The approval process generally takes less than two (2) to three (3) days, following your application submission.
If you are approved to sit for the ABSA Examination you will receive an email, containing your confirmation letter and a comprehensive review guide.
If the ABSA needs additional information you will receive an email, instructing you what information we need.

You will receive an email with your test results, within 2 weeks of your Examination date. If you "Pass" the examination your certificate is generally mailed the following week.

Yes, if you are unable to make it to scheduled Examination, please contact our office by email at: office@absa.net and provide us with your name and what date and location you were originally scheduled for and the date and location you would like to sit for Examination. A list of Examination dates and locations is listed on our website at: www.absa.net.

You are eligible to sit for next ABSA Examination,You must complete and submit the Re-test application on our website at: www.absa.net and make the Re-test payment.

Visit our web at: www,absa.net and click on the "Orange" button labeled "Recertification."

You must provide documentation of successful completion of a formal surgical assisting training program, with a curriculum approved by the ABSA. Surgical Technology Programs do not qualify for eligibility to sit for ABSA Certification Examination.

Provide documentation of two (2) years clinical surgical scrub, work experience (resume or other)

Provide one (1) color passport size photograph

You have three (3) hours to complete the Written Section of the Examination. The Practical portion takes approximately ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes.

The Examination generally begins at 8 am unless other arrangements have been made prior to Examination. This information including the testing facility location is listed on the confirmation letter, sent by email when your application is approved.

The ABSA is only a testing & credentialing organization; we are not an employment service. If seeking employment, it is suggested that you contact friends, employment agencies or search the internet for surgical assistant positions..

You can apply to re-certify by Examination or call the office at 1-877-617-8345 to explain circumstances.The ABSA will review each case individually.

You can submit your recertification documentation as early as January of the year your certification expires, not before.