Surgical Technician Training Programs in Illinois
Over the years, surgery has changed a lot. Each year, it becomes less invasive, yields better patient outcomes, and is a viable option for more diagnoses. As demand for surgeons grows, the demand for those who can support surgeons during procedures and maximize their efficiency is also on the rise.
Surgical tech diploma programs may teach you all about surgical tools and instruments, procedures, techniques, and terminology. With a surgical tech Associate degree, certificate, or diploma, you may be ready to step into the operating room, protect patients by providing a sterile environment, and do your part to keep the surgery schedule on track.
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What Kind of Surgical Technician Training Do I Need in Illinois?
Illinois is one of the largest and most densely populated states in the Midwest. On top of that, it is home to some of the most renowned medical institutions in the United States. Together, these features make Illinois an excellent place to start working as a scrub tech.
Compare surgical tech degree options below and reach out to local schools to determine which program is best for you.
Getting Into Surgical Tech Schools in Illinois
As you start to narrow down your list of surgical tech programs, it’s important to ensure that you can meet the admissions requirements for any program you choose. The good news is that surgical technician requirements generally make these programs accessible to the vast majority of students.
You need a high school diploma or GED to begin your training, but few schools have restrictive GPA requirements. Although you do need to meet school requirements for health checks and background checks, these are standard at most accredited surgical technology schools in Illinois and you can complete them after receiving conditional acceptance to a school.
What You Need for a Surgical Tech School Application
- Negative TB test
- Negative drug screen
- Physical exam results
- Accuplacer, ACT, or SAT scores
- Authorization for a background check
- Educational references
- Transcripts and proof of high school graduation
Illinois Surgical Technology Training
Don’t be overwhelmed by the variety of surgical technology Associate’s degree, certificate, and diploma programs in Illinois. Although these programs may differ in length, they are strikingly similar in most other ways.
You have to display competency in the same key areas of practice to complete your surgical technician certificate, diploma, or degree. These learning outcomes are set by each individual school, but you may find that most surgical tech programs focus on your ability to work quickly in a healthcare setting. They also develop your communication skills, your knowledge of surgical tools and equipment, and your ability to apply ethical standards to your healthcare career.
Surgical Tech Courses in Illinois
- Interdisciplinary Healthcare (1 credit): Required for healthcare students in various areas of practice, this class provides a basic overview of the healthcare industry, the roles played by professionals at different levels of study, and the goals of Illinois healthcare facilities.
- Fundamentals of Sterile Processing (2 credits): This class touches on one of the most important duties you may have as an OR tech. It explores the basic techniques used in sterile processing, which allow you to sterilize tools, prevent the spread of infection, and prepare equipment for subsequent surgeries.
- Medical Terminology (2 credits): In this course, you should develop a diverse healthcare vocabulary that allows you to understand what is taking place during a surgery and how you can assist your supervising surgeon.
- Introduction to Surgical Technology (4 credits): This class, which is commonly required in the first semester of study, looks at the numerous job responsibilities of surgical technologists and outlines your scope of practice in this field.
- Fundamentals of Surgical Technology (13 credits): These courses are divided into several separate classes, allowing you to build a strong foundation of surgical knowledge before you move on to advanced techniques and procedures.
- Pharmacology for the Surgical Technologist (1 credit): Primarily looking at narcotic pain relief, sedatives, and general anesthesia, this class provides students with a comprehensive overview of the medications used before, during, and after surgery to minimize pain and keep patients sedated.
How Can I Earn My Surgical Tech Certification Online?
Although you may discover that some healthcare specialties do provide online study options, there aren’t any online surgical tech programs that help you work toward certification.
Certified surgical tech diploma programs offer laboratory experience and clinical experience, including participation in at least 120 surgical procedures. Since online programs cannot offer this type of experience to students, they are not a viable option for those who want to become certified after graduation.
However, this doesn’t mean that all of your courses must be completed in a traditional format. With online general education in theory classes, you can earn part of your surgical tech degree online.
As you compare different options, look for schools that offer blended courses. These programs combine surgical tech Associate’s degree online coursework with in-person laboratory and clinical experience.
Paying for Surgical Tech School in Illinois
Whether you decide on a surgical technology Associate’s degree, surgical technician certificate, or diploma, you may have several financial aid options to consider. Some programs are based on financial need, while others are based on academic merit. Others take both of these factors into consideration.
Start applying for scholarships early and check back often to ensure that you do not miss deadlines or miss a promising award program. One of the main financial aid sources is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is a need-based program that awards some students with subsidized student loans, unsubsidized student loans, and grants. Deadlines occur during the summer, so it’s important to apply as soon as you have selected a surgical technician program.
With Peterson’s, you can conduct a scholarship search and make the application process much quicker. Consider looking for industry-specific scholarships, such as those awarded to student members of the Association of Surgical Technologists.
Working as a Certified Surgical Technician in Illinois
Training is the most extensive and demanding part of becoming a scrub tech, so you should be well on your way once you graduate with your surgical tech degree. Keep reading to learn more about state and national certification requirements, work settings, and common job duties.
Illinois Surgical Technician Requirements
Illinois is one of a handful of states that has a state licensing program for surgical technologists. This process is regulated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
To start, you must become a Certified Surgical Technologist through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. The testing fee through this agency is $190 for association members and $290 for non-members.
Once you are certified by this group, you can apply for licensure in Illinois. The licensing fee is $100, and you must provide proof of national certification through the NBSTSA. After you get your initial state practice license, you must renew by April 30 of every even-numbered year.
You must also keep up with NBSTSA renewal requirements, which include 60 continuing education credits and renewal paperwork every four years.
Where are the Best Surgical Tech Jobs in Illinois?
After you become licensed as an operating room tech, you may be ready to start practicing in Illinois. Hospitals remain the most common place of employment for surgical technologists, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Your job duties, schedule, and responsibilities are determined by which hospital you work for and what their needs are. In a suburban or rural area, you may serve as float staff, providing surgical assistance in any department that has emergency surgeries or an excessively busy surgery schedule.
Other hospitals, particularly those in large metropolitan areas, have surgical technicians assigned to each department. This may expose you to the same types of surgeries repeatedly, helping you develop your expertise.
Another popular option to consider is an outpatient surgical center, which may be slightly less fast-paced than a position in a hospital.
OR Tech Hiring Requirements in Illinois
- GED or high school diploma
- Surgical tech Associate degree, certificate, or diploma
- Licensure as a Certified Surgical Technologist
- Liability insurance
Common Surgical Technician Job Duties in Illinois
When you start working as a scrub tech, you should quickly get a feel for what your role is in the operating room and how you can meet or exceed your employer’s expectations. Part of earning your surgical technologist Associate degree in IL is knowing what your scope of practice is.
Working outside your scope of practice, either intentionally or unintentionally, can have serious consequences for you and your employer. The areas of practice for a scrub tech are determined by the Illinois State Assembly, which outlines what surgical tech programs cover and what surgical tasks can be delegated to an OR tech.
Illinois Operating Room Tech Job Duties
- Sterilization of equipment
- Disposal of materials and waste, including proper disposal of bodily fluids and waste
- Management of stockrooms and ordering of surgical equipment
- On-site assistance during surgeries
- Maintenance of a sterile environment before and during surgeries
- Documentation and patient followup
Your clinical surgical tech courses should prepare you for the busy schedule in most operating rooms. If you work a particularly busy shift, you may spend 8 to 12 hours on your feet to help during surgeries, and sterilize equipment.
That’s why physical strength is such an important part of getting accepted to a surgical technician program and becoming certified. You may rotate shifts or you may be assigned to a regular first, second, or third shift.
Illinois Surgical Tech Salaries
Illinois salaries are often considerably higher than those reported in other Midwestern states, particularly in Chicago and surrounding communities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for an Illinois surgical technologist is $44,870 (2017).
Those who work in the Champaign-Urbana area report an average income of $45,630 per year (BLS, 2017). The average salary in the Arlington Heights area is $47,340 per year, while the average salary in the Elgin area is $48,410 per year (BLS, 2017). Both communities are in the Chicago suburbs. A mean income of $46,840 per year is reported in Lake County (BLS, 2017).
Surgical Technology Resources in Illinois
While you attend an Illinois certificate program in surgical technology, your instructors may encourage you to attend training seminars, networking events, and other professional events.
This is because building a strong professional network can protect against the effects of workplace stress, give you ways to work more efficiently in the operating room, and expose you to new techniques and equipment. Getting involved in local and national groups may prepare you for wherever your career takes you in the future.
Resources and Events for Surgical Technologists
- Association of Surgical Technologists
- Association of Surgical Assistants
- Annual Meeting of the Illinois State Assembly
With so many training programs at accredited surgical technology schools in Illinois, you may be able to find the perfect degree option for you.
Use our list of surgical assistant programs to compare locations, costs, and schedules.
The time you spend in school can assist you in reaching your full potential as a healthcare professional, showing you how to work with patients, surgeons, nurses, and families effectively.