How Long Does It Take to Get CST Exam Results?


In this article...

Administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), the CST exam assesses a candidate’s knowledge and skills for effective operating room performance. One of the most common questions candidates have is: “How long does it take to get CST exam results?” Typically, you can expect to receive your official CST exam results within two to three weeks after the exam date. This initial section of the article will detail the timeline from taking the exam to receiving your results, ensuring you understand every step of the process and what to expect during your wait.

Timeline for CST Exam Results

The process and timeline for receiving CST exam results are straightforward. Here’s what you can expect after sitting for the exam:

  1. Preliminary Results: Candidates receive a preliminary pass or fail status immediately after completing the CST exam. This initial feedback is given at the testing center, providing instant insight into your exam performance. However, it’s important to note that these are not the official final results.
  2. Official Results: The official results, that confirm whether you’ve passed or failed the CST exam, are typically processed and sent out within two to three weeks after the exam date. These results are detailed and include your scores. Results are mailed directly to the address you provided during your registration.
  3. Receiving Your Certificate: If you pass the exam, your official CST certificate will be included in your score report. This certificate is what you will use to prove your certification status to potential employers.

Factors Influencing the Results Timeline

Although the NBSTSA aims to deliver results within the expected timeframe, several factors could influence the speed at which your results are processed:

  • Exam Volume: High volumes of test takers, especially during peak periods such as after graduation seasons, can lead to longer processing times.
  • Administrative Delays: Occasional administrative delays can occur, especially if there is a need to verify test answers due to anomalies or if there are discrepancies in a candidate’s registration details.
  • Mailing Delays: Since the results are sent via mail, any delays in the postal service can also impact when you receive your results.

What to Do While Waiting for Results

Waiting for your CST exam results can be a period filled with anxiety, but there are several productive ways you can utilize this time:

  • Prepare for the Job Market: If you are confident about your preliminary results, begin updating your resume and start applying for surgical technologist positions.
  • Continue Learning: Use this time to continue studying or take additional courses that can complement your skills as a surgical technologist.
  • Stay Updated: Keep checking your mail and ensure your contact details are up to date with the NBSTSA to avoid any delays in receiving your results.


In summary, candidates can expect to receive their official CST exam results within two to three weeks after their test date. Understanding this timeline can help alleviate some of the stress associated with the waiting period and allow you to plan your next steps more effectively. Once certified, you can begin your journey as a professional surgical technologist, equipped with the credentials that attest to your skills and knowledge in the field.