Surgical Technician Schools and College Training Programs
Do you marvel at how far the medical profession has come over the years? Are you amazed at how surgeons can save lives on the operating table? Would you like to be a part of the team that assists a surgeon? If so, you might want to look at becoming a surgical technologist.
Surgical Technologist Careers
Surgical technologists, also called surgical or operating room technicians, or scrubs, are part of an operating team that consists of doctors and nurses. The number of people in this team varies by the type of operation being performed. Sometimes, a number of technicians are used for different tasks. Some surgical technicians help doctors sterilize themselves before entering the operating room. Operating room technicians prepare the site of an operation, making sure all the necessary equipment is in place.
If you want to become a surgical technologist, you ll need to spend some time in school. Many vocational schools and/or technical colleges offer surgical technologist associate degrees or certification programs. Most of these types of programs last no longer than two years. The benefit to earning this type of degree is that you ll be able to enter the professional world immediately after graduation instead of spending more time earning advanced degrees.
As a surgical technologist, you may have to work some long hours. In addition, the operating room is definitely not for the faint of heart or stomach. The upside, of course, is that you ll be able to help save lives. Surgical technologists are a vital part of a medical team, and so the pay can be very attractive compared to other medical technologists.
Educational and Training Requirements for Surgical Technologists
With the right training and proper certification, operating room technologists will have a definite advantage over other applicants.
In 2011 the Commission on Accreditation of Allied health education programs (CAAHEP) recognized 459 accredited programs throughout the country that offer training for surgical technologists. Programs are typically offered by community and junior colleges as well as Universities and Hospitals. Applicants usually need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent, with classes in math, biology and chemistry.
Typical courses include anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology and professional ethics. You ll also take specialized course that deal with proper patient care and safety, sterile techniques and surgical procedures.
Certification for Surgical Technologists
Although certification may not be mandatory in all states, employers prefer to hire those with surgical technologist certification. Certification can be obtained from the Liaison Council on Certification after graduating from a CAAHEP accredited programs. After passing the exam you will receive the title of Certified Surgical Technologist (CST), which then must be updated every four years.
Certification is also available from the National Center for Competency Testing. After passing the exam, the title Tech in Surgery-Certified (TS-C) will be bestowed and thereafter must be renewed every five years by completing programs or reexamination.
Surgical Technologist Employment and Advancement Opportunities
With proper training and certification you ll be ready to join and take advantage of the growing job opportunities in the operating room technologist field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of surgical technologists to grow much faster than average, at 25 percent between 2008 and 2018. As with other sectors in the health care industry, growth is driven by an increasing elderly population, particularly the aging baby boomers, who will need more medical care and procedures.
Career and Salary Prospects
The average salary for surgical technologists was $41,310 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages vary with experience and education, the responsibilities of the position, the working hours, and the economy in the region where you work.
Additional Resources for Professionals Seeking Surgical Technology Schools: