Surgical Technician Training Programs in Alaska
If you have been looking for a way to start a career in the healthcare industry, becoming an OR tech may be the solution you’re looking for. Surgical technicians are an important part of operating rooms all over Alaska. They help by allowing surgeons to focus on the task at hand without getting distracted or delayed by searching for tools and surgical implements.
Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to become an operating room tech and what kind of benefits you may enjoy in this field.
You can also request information from surgical technology programs in Alaska to learn more.
What Kind of Surgical Technician Training Do I Need in Alaska?
This fast-paced career path is a great fit for those who work well under pressure, are comfortable being part of a large team, and can efficiently take direction from multiple supervisors and physicians.
Depending on where you live in Alaska, you may be able to earn a diploma, certificate, or Associate’s degree to become a certified surgical tech.
Get in touch with surgical tech diploma programs to take the first step.
Getting Into Surgical Tech Schools in Alaska
Surgical tech programs are geared toward those interested in entry-level positions in healthcare, so their admissions requirements are often less rigorous than those for undergraduate healthcare programs.
Before you begin your surgical tech degree, you need a high school diploma or GED. You must submit your official high school transcripts to the schools you apply to, in addition to transcripts from any colleges you have attended. Some programs require an essay that outlines why you want to become a surgical technician and what you hope to learn in your surgical technology Associate’s degree program.
When it comes to accredited surgical tech programs, AK schools have several options located throughout the state.
Surgical Tech School Application Requirements in Alaska
- Completed application
- Copy of diploma or GED
- Background check form
- TB test form
- Application fee
Alaska Surgical Technology Training
Program lengths vary between schools and between different types of surgical tech programs. You may be considering surgical tech diploma programs or certificate programs. These options do not require general education coursework, except for courses that directly relate to health sciences. As a result, they tend to be fairly quick. Over a period of one to two years, you may earn up to 45 credits.
If you would rather earn an Associate’s degree, you need at least 60 credits. As a full-time student, you may graduate in two years, depending on the specific surgical tech program requirements at your school.
Each surgical tech school has set learning outcomes that determine how you must grow by the time you complete your degree or certificate. There are lots of similarities between each program’s learning outcomes.
Learning Outcomes at Surgical Technician Programs
- Fully understand the instruments, supplies, and equipment used during various surgical procedures
- Display a working knowledge of common and uncommon surgical procedures
- Use medical terminology accurately and respond to instructions using medical terminology
- Know the importance of a sterile field in surgical procedures
- Be able to maintain a sterile field during surgical procedures
- Effectively carry out pre-surgery and post-surgery routines to prepare for procedures and clean up after surgery
Surgical Tech Courses in Alaska
- Medical Terminology (3 credits): This course explores the terms used in the operating room. You may learn about diagnostic terms, the names of equipment and tools, different words used for each body system, and terms used in documentation.
- Anatomy and Physiology (4 credits): Learn about human body systems, how each body system functions, and what happens when each body system malfunctions.
- Surgical Procedures (15 credits): Across a series of surgical procedures courses, you learn about common and uncommon surgical procedures. You may learn about procedures unique to different healthcare specialties and departments.
- Surgical Practicum (15 credits): Your practicum rotations align closely with your surgical procedure coursework. By getting experience and different surgical wings and specialties, you may discover which work setting best suits you.
Can I Earn My Degree Online?
Clearly, practical experience is an essential part of your surgical technician degree. In addition to your practicum courses, you need to take several credits of lab courses that give you experience with surgical tools and implements.
Since so much of your training takes place in hands-on settings, you cannot earn your surgical tech degree entirely online.
Although there are no programs that offer fully online training, there are online surgical tech programs that may help you save time. Blended surgical assistant online programs permit you to complete your theory coursework online and complete only your practicum rotations in person, so you can work toward your surgical tech certification online.
Paying for Surgical Tech School in Alaska
Once you have accepted a position at a surgical tech Associate program, you can start applying for financial aid to figure out how you’re going to pay for your scrub tech degree.
The first step is filling out the FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid calculates your potential aid based on your family income, the cost of your education, and other factors. Depending on your financial need, you may qualify for grants, subsidized student loans, or unsubsidized student loans.
The application cycle runs according to the calendar year, not the academic year, so it is important to apply as soon as possible to be considered for financial aid in your first year of school.
After discovering your federal aid options, you may want to move on to aid available through private sources. Many financial institutions offer student loans, but it is good to exhaust your grant and scholarship options first, since neither grants nor scholarships have to be paid back.
Look into large scholarship databases like Peterson’s to search for surgical technician scholarships in your area and across the country. You may also apply for scholarships through the Association of Surgical Technologists, although you may need to join as a student member before applying.
Working as a Certified Surgical Technician in Alaska
After you have your surgical tech Associate degree, diploma, or certificate, you may be excited to use your training in your new career. Explore different work environments and hiring requirements to make sure you are ready for the post-graduation job search.
Alaska Surgical Technician Requirements
Surgical technology is a relatively new field in healthcare, so licensing and certification requirements are very different from state to state. Alaska is one of many states that does not have any licensing requirements for those who work as surgical technicians or technologists.
Although you do not need a surgical technology Associate’s degree or certification to work, many Alaska employers require that applicants have certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. Through this organization, you can become a Certified Surgical Technologist.
You need proof of graduation from a CAAHEP-accredited school to register for your licensing exam. If you are a member of this organization, the exam fee is $190. The fee is $290 for non-members.
After you get your certification, you must renew it every four years and complete 60 hours of continuing education during each renewal cycle. Your continuing education may come from surgical tech courses and in-service programs.
Where are the Best Surgical Tech Jobs in Alaska?
The skills and knowledge you develop in a surgical technician certificate program are useful in many healthcare settings, so you may want to start looking into job openings prior to graduation.
Practicum rotations offered through surgical tech programs are a great way to figure out which work settings are best for your particular talents and skills. Most surgical technicians work in hospitals.
Some hospitals have dedicated surgical technicians in each department. This route allows you to become an expert in specific surgical procedures. Other hospitals have floating OR tech positions that require you to assist wherever you are needed in the facility. This is especially common in Alaska’s rural hospitals that cannot afford to have surgical technicians in every department.
Outpatient surgery and care centers are also popular choices for new scrub tech graduates. These facilities tend to have more traditional schedules, since they see fewer emergencies.
You may enjoy additional benefits if you work in a rural part of Alaska. Due to the healthcare professional shortage throughout the state, many facilities in rural communities offer sign-on and retention bonuses for new employees.
Surgical Technician Requirements and Hiring Standards
- High school diploma and graduation from a CAAHEP-accredited surgical technician program
- CST certification
- Professional experience in an operating room setting
- Experience in different surgical procedures
Common Surgical Technician Job Duties in Alaska
- Work alongside anesthesiologists, surgeons, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses during, before and after surgical procedures
- Use proper handling techniques to handle supplies, equipment, and tools
- Anticipate the needs of your supervising surgeon and meet them promptly
- Review patient charts and report any errors to supervising surgeons
- Hold tools, skin, and limbs as needed during surgery
- Operate medical equipment throughout procedures
- Create a sterile environment prior to a procedure
- Dispose of waste and count tools after each procedure
As an operating room tech, you may find that most of your time is spent on the job duties listed above. Depending on the needs of your employer, you may work days, nights, or overnights.
In an emergency setting, you may provide assistance during scheduled procedures when there are no emergency surgeries. During busy times, you may move quickly from procedure to procedure, spending most of your shift on your feet.
However, no matter how busy a shift is, you must maintain your quality of work at all times. This includes completing all documentation, properly sterilizing and storing all tools, and maintaining your vigilance while observing vital signs and patient status.
You must also remain within your scope of practice whenever you work. The scope of practice is outlined by the Alaska State Assembly, and it should be thoroughly covered in your Alaska surgical technician training.
Alaska Surgical Tech Salaries
As a general rule, Alaska surgical tech salaries are above national averages. Statewide, the average salary in this field is $52,930 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). In the Anchorage area, the average salary is $53,870 per year (BLS, 2017).
Demand for surgical technicians is growing in line with demand for other healthcare professionals. By the year 2024, job openings for surgical technologists may increase 15% in the United States (BLS, 2017).
Surgical Technology Resources in Alaska
As a new graduate of a surgical technician program, you should already have some contacts in the field of surgical technology. Your peers are also starting their careers, and they may be a good resource for you throughout your career.
You should also make an effort to network with more experienced surgical technologists and others who work in surgical settings. You may be able to get advice on challenging situations, discover new techniques and standards, and get information on upcoming training opportunities and surgical tech courses.
Local and National Resources
- Annual Spring Workshop of the Alaska State Assembly
- Association of Surgical Technologists
- Association of Surgical Assistants
With a clearly outlined surgical process and a strong surgical team, each surgical procedure can go more quickly and more smoothly. As a surgical technician, you can do your part to help people in your community and provide support during various types of surgeries.