Surgical Technician Training Programs in Alabama
When you dedicate your career to healthcare, you may enjoy a number of benefits. Not only do you get to spend your time doing meaningful, fulfilling work, the healthcare community as a whole benefits from highly trained care providers.
Providing support as an OR tech can streamline surgeries and give surgeons the support they need during challenging operations. Use the resources below to learn more about what it takes to become a surgical technician, how much surgical technicians in Alabama earn, and how you can become licensed after completing your education.
This is the time to learn more about surgical tech programs; Alabama schools are here to help.
Check out the list of surgical tech diploma programs below and reach out to schools that catch your eye.
What Kind of Surgical Technician Training Do I Need in Alabama?
Our goal is to help you find the right surgical tech school for you. By comparing options at different degree levels, you can decide which type of training best fits your needs.
Learn more about what type of education and hands-on training you need by contacting accredited surgical tech programs in Alabama. With the list of schools below, it’s easy to request information from each program that interests you.
Getting Into Surgical Tech Schools in Alabama
Each surgical tech degree program sets specific admissions requirements, but these requirements are generally very similar across Alabama schools.
First, you need to check your high school transcripts against the course requirements of a surgical tech program. Many schools require completion of certain college-level courses, including courses in English composition, algebra, and anatomy & physiology. In some cases, taking these courses in high school helps you meet the admissions requirements for a certificate or diploma program.
You may need to submit your high school transcripts to the schools of your choice, as well as transcripts from any colleges you have attended. After sending in your application and transcripts, you may have to submit an essay on why you want to become a surgical technician and what you bring to this field.
Surgical Technician Requirements for Admission
- English proficiency; measured by completion of a college-level English course or an English proficiency exam
- Completion of a medical terminology course
- Manual dexterity exam which measures your ability to safely handle surgical instruments
- Completion of an online or in-person information session
- Completion of a background check
- Negative TB test results
Alabama Surgical Technology Training
You may encounter Associate’s degree, certificate, and diploma programs while looking at accredited surgical technology schools. Alabama technical schools and community colleges offer a mix of these programs, which tend to have similar outcomes.
Certificate and diploma programs are generally shorter than Associate’s-level options. However, this degree has pretty rigorous expectations, so you may spend two to three years in school regardless of your degree choice.
In a surgical tech Associate degree program, you may complete 60 to 70 credits in three years or less. If you decide to earn a diploma or certificate, you may finish your training in less than two years.
Surgical Technician Program Outcomes
- Navigate the surgical arena with a clear understanding of your role and your responsibilities
- Understand HIPAA and the importance of patient confidentiality
- Apply classroom theory and learning to surgical techniques and procedures
- Properly use medical terminology
- Maintain high standards of sanitation, sterilization, and hygiene
- Communicate effectively with healthcare professionals at different levels
Surgical Tech Courses in Alabama
- Principles of Surgical Technology (5 credits): An exploration of operative environments, medical communication standards, pharmacology, incisions, operating room communication and cooperation, wound healing, and aseptic technique
- Applied Surgical Technology (4 credits): Applied skills in surgical environments; learn about preparation for surgery, maintaining a hygienic environment, responding to emergencies, and properly sterilizing instruments after surgery
- Surgical Anatomy and Physiology (3 credits): An in-depth study of human anatomy and physiology; this course ties general anatomical knowledge to the responsibilities of an operating room tech
- Surgical Procedures (5 credits): An introduction to beginning and intermediate surgical procedures, including some of the most commonly requested surgical procedures
- Pharmacology for Surgical Technologists (2 credits): Learn about the medications used prior to, during, and after surgery, and what side effects you should watch for as a scrub tech
- Practicum (total of 10-15 credits): Observe and participate in surgical procedures under the supervision of a preceptor
You may be looking for information on surgical assistant online programs, particularly if you work full-time or have a demanding family schedule.
You may quickly find that there are very few 100% online surgical tech programs. Clinical experience is an essential part of this degree, and in fact, you cannot become certified without getting enough hands-on experience. A solid understanding of theory is important, but it isn’t enough to get you started in an operating room.
During your clinical rotations, you get feedback from your preceptor, observe many different types of surgeries, and get a feel for the high-stress environment of an operating room. You may be able to complete part of your surgical tech degree online, especially if you’re still working on general education credits.
How Much of My OR Assistant Degree Can I Do Online?
You may be able to complete a blended program that allows you to complete your general education courses and your theory-based surgical tech courses online. These surgical tech programs may require occasional in-person attendance during theory courses. You must get the same amount of clinical experience as traditional students.
Where Can I Do a Certified Surgical Tech Program Online?
It’s important to find a school that has clinical experience options in your area. You may attend an online program at a school located elsewhere in the country, but you should still select a surgical technician certificate that qualifies you for certification.
How Can I Fit an OR Tech Degree Into a Demanding Schedule?
While completing your surgical tech certification online may be ideal, there are other options to consider if you have a packed schedule. Consider a surgical technology Associate’s degree program that offers evening classes, an option that accommodates a conventional daytime work schedule.
Paying for Surgical Tech School in Alabama
Once you have selected a surgical tech school, you should start applying for financial aid. Application deadlines occur throughout the year, and planning ahead of time can help you meet each deadline.
First, you want to fill out the FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form you fill out every year that you are a student. It takes into account your income, your family’s income if you are below a certain age, and your other obligations.
From there, the Department of Education determines if you qualify for Pell Grants, which do not have to be paid back after graduation. You may also be awarded subsidized school loans, which do not accrue interest until you graduate, and unsubsidized school loans, which begin accruing interest immediately.
You should also fully review private scholarship opportunities. These may come from professional organizations, healthcare employers, and community organizations. Peterson’s is an excellent resource that sums up numerous scholarship opportunities, including the Foundation for Surgical Technology Scholarship and the Foundation Student Scholarship.
Working as a Certified Surgical Technician in Alabama
After graduating with a surgical tech degree, you should be excited about the opportunities that come with a career in the healthcare industry. Health insurance options have expanded in the past few years, increasing the amount of Alabama patients that have access to surgical services.
Alabama Surgical Technician Requirements
In Alabama, you do not need to become licensed or certified to work as an OR tech. This does not mean, though, that education is less important in this state.
While you do not legally need a license, most healthcare employers expect job applicants to have a one-year certificate or two-year surgical technology Associate’s degree. Certification is optional, but it can go a long way in demonstrating your skills, the quality of your training, and your ongoing education.
The primary credentialing agency in the United States is the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. To become a Certified Surgical Technologist, you must provide proof of graduation from a CAAHEP-accredited program. You can then schedule your CST exam, which costs $190 for NBSTSA members and $290 for non-members. Renewal takes places every four years, during which time you must earn 60 credits of continuing education.
The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management is another well-known credentialing agency in this field. If you plan on working as an operating room tech, you may choose to become a Certified Registered Central Service Technician.
You begin working before applying for certification, since you need a manager’s verification that you have spent at least 400 hours working as a surgical tech before applying. Your certification must be renewed each year, and you need 12 hours of continuing education during each renewal period.
Where are the Best Surgical Tech Jobs in Alabama?
There are many work settings where you can use your surgical technician certificate, making it easier to find job openings that specifically match your career goals.
In a surgical wing at a large urban hospital or small rural hospital, you may offer assistance in various types of operations as needed. This is especially true for those who work in rural hospitals, since these hospitals tend to only have a few surgical techs on hand at any given time. In this setting, a scrub tech must be ready to jump into any type of surgery at any time. In this workplace, you may also have to work overtime to ensure that there is proper coverage during all shifts.
Other employment settings in Alabama include children’s hospitals, cosmetic surgery centers, ambulatory surgery centers, and physicians’ clinics. Within each of these areas, there are several areas of specialized study.
If you want to participate in one specialized type of surgery, you may tailor your work experience and clinical rotations accordingly.
What Do Alabama Employers Look for in Surgical Techs?
- NBSTSA certification
- Ability to take on rotating call shifts
- Basic Life Support certification
- Computer literacy
- Strong knowledge of aseptic technique
Common Surgical Technician Job Duties in Alabama
At all times, you must work within your scope of practice as outlined by the Alabama State Assembly. Currently, they define surgical technologists as health professionals that utilized aseptic techniques and sterile techniques while assisting with surgical procedures. Their role is to facilitate a doctor’s work with their knowledge of surgical instruments, anatomy and physiology, and surgical standards.
The more time you spend working as an OR tech, the more you may get used to the fast-paced nature of surgery. Most surgical tech diploma programs focus heavily on the stressful nature of surgical work, since in many cases, surgery means life or death for a patient. You must be ready to take directions at any time and act quickly when seconds matter.
Common Surgical Tech Duties
- Pass instruments to surgeons as they need them
- Remove tools when they are no longer necessary
- Maintain a sterile environment
- Set up the operating room with sterilized tools and instruments
- After an operation, sterilize equipment and return it to storage
- Count sponges and tools to ensure that nothing is left inside of a patient
Alabama Surgical Tech Salaries
Graduates of surgical tech programs may earn a wide range of salaries. Salaries vary between different metropolitan and urban areas, as well as between different employers.
Across Alabama, the average salary for a Certified Surgical Technologist is $35,590 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). Some of the areas with the highest employment rates include the Birmingham metropolitan area, the Mobile metropolitan area, and the Montgomery metropolitan area.
The regions reporting the highest salaries are Birmingham, with an average salary of $35,890 per year, and Tuscaloosa, with an average annual salary of $36,390 (BLS, 2016).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this field to grow in coming years; they predict a 15% boost in job openings from 2014 to 2024 (2016).
Surgical Technology Resources in Alabama
A strong professional community is important in any industry, but it is particularly valuable in the field of healthcare.
Standards, techniques, and technology change rapidly in this field. If you do not stay involved in the industry on a day-to-day basis, you could easily fall behind the times. With a professional network, you hear about legislative changes and new technology in a timely manner. You may also get access to ongoing surgical tech associate training. On a national scale, you may join the Association of Surgical Technologists, which has chapters in each state. Attending local events helps you stay involved in this community.
Each year, the Alabama State Assembly hosts an annual meeting for surgical technologists. They tackle a different pressing topic each year and offer a range of workshops to attendees. Another excellent national resource is the Association of Surgical Assistants.
Attending the right surgical technician program can change the course of your career, provide much-needed support in Alabama operating rooms, and help you meet surgical technician requirements for certification.
This career path is ideal for those who are detail-oriented, who work well in fast-paced environments, and who want to contribute to one of the nation’s fastest growing industries. You have numerous options to consider, whether you want to earn your surgical tech Associate’s degree online or in person.