HATTIESBURG - The National Board of Surgical Technoloy and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA)recently awarded Pearl River Community College its annual Merit Award.The award honors the college because 100 percent of the PRCC surgical technology graduateswho took the national certification exam in 2011 passed."This is really, really rare," said Dr. Cecil Burt, PRCC vice president for Forrest Countyoperations.The PRCC surgical technology program offers a one-year certificate of proficiency or thetwo-year associate in applied science degree. Students are eligible to take the Certified SurgicalTechnology exam only after completing the program."I am proud of all our former students who have taken and passed the national certificationexam," said Tammy Allhoff, program director. "Currently certification is voluntary at somefacilities but I would love for this to be mandatory because it helps promote the profession and therole of the surgical technologist. I am excited that we were able to achieve national recognitionfor our program because we want all of our graduates to become certified and for all of ourstudents to achieve success."Twenty-two students are enrolled in the program, which starts each January, and 14 graduated inDecember. Since 2010, taking the exam has been part of the PRCC program requirements.The NBSTA has a 40-year history in developing the certified surgical technologist exam,according to NBSTSA chief executive officer Ron Kruzel. The exam is the only surgicaltechnologist exam accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.Certification as a surgical technologist exhibits professional pride, the desire to be recognized formastery of surgical competencies and, most importantly, an on-going commitment to qualitypatient care, according to Kruzel.The NBSTSA did not tell PRCC officials how many PRCC graduates took the exam in 2011,Allhoff said.For information about the PRCC surgical technology program, contact Allhoff at 601 554-5542or <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a> or the program secretary at 601 554-5507.