Surgical Technologist Career Specialty
While going through surgery, patients are at risk for infection, exposure to foreign pathogens, and other dangers. As a surgical technologist, you can support your surgeon and help protect patients from the various risks they face in the operating room. You may prepare operating rooms for surgery, clean tools, and ensure that sterile techniques and tools are used at every step of a procedure.
As a surgical technologist, you can have a far-reaching impact on a hospital or surgical clinic. You may become trained in a wide range of surgeries, allowing you to become an indispensable part of a surgical team. This exciting and rewarding career can create a large benefit to the healthcare system nationwide, and we have found all of the schooling options to complete your Surgical Tech education. Request information from the schools on our site to learn more about how you can learn this valuable trade.
Surgical Tech Training
Knowing that surgery can often be a matter of life or death, it’s clear that you need the appropriate training to work alongside surgeons, avoid being a liability in the operating room, and keep surgeries running smoothly.
Most surgical tech programs are offered as either certificate or associate degree programs. In general, you can plan on spending at least two years in school, with some programs taking up to three years to complete.
To be clear, surgical tech training is highly specialized and very different from what you would get in a medical assistant associate degree or other MA training program.
Your curriculum should offer you a thorough education on surgical tools, human anatomy and physiology, medical language, and surgical technology. Your curriculum will likely include courses like Medical Language in Health Care Settings, Anatomy and Physiology, Surgical Theory, and General Surgical Techniques. These courses often have a lab or practical experience component. You may learn how to identify tools, how to immediately identify different parts of the human body, and how to position yourself so that you’re not in the surgeon’s way while assisting in the Operating Room (OR).
It’s likely that you’ll take specific classes on different surgeries. While taking these classes, you may spend some time in the classroom and some time in the OR. Classes in this category include Orthopedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Burn Surgery, Obstetric/Gynecological Surgery, and Pediatric Surgery. At the conclusion of your program, you may have a clinical course. This class may send you into a local operating room to assist in real surgeries and get real work experience.
Licensing Information and 2017 Job Outlook for Scrub Techs
The vast majority of states do not have any licensing requirements for surgical technologists. About 10 states require surgical technologists to become certified with the state medical board. In the other states, employers may decide whether or not surgical technologists must be certified. Even if your state or employer does not require you to become licensed, becoming a certified surgical technologist may improve your job outlook by showing employers that you’ve been vetted by the appropriate organization.
You can pursue certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. This organization requires you to take a licensing examination. Once you pass, you receive a license that is good for four years. To renew after four years, you must complete 60 credits of continuing education.
Even if you are certified, you may need significant on-the-job training. Most hospitals require new surgical technologists to shadow every type of surgery before actually assisting in that type of surgery. As a result, you may be in training for several weeks or months.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for surgical technologists is very promising. They expect job openings for OR techs to increase by 15 percent through 2024, leading to an expected 100,000+ surgical tech jobs throughout the decade.
Surgical technologists may also earn a rewarding salary. The BLS reports that the average salary for a surgical tech in the U.S. is $44,330 per year (2017). This can change with experience and certification as well.
Are you ready to start an exciting career in surgery technology? Take some time to learn more about surgical technology schools today by requesting information about the programs you are interested in below.
Surgical Technician Schools By State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia