Surgical Technician Training Programs in Iowa
Whether you have always passionate about the field of healthcare or you are drawn to it because of its rapid growth in recent years, you may understand that the size of this industry creates positions for people of different talents and skills.
What does it take to earn a surgical technician certificate and become an operating room tech? You may be a good fit if you work well under pressure, have excellent concentration, respond quickly to orders and requests, and have an eye for detail.
Find out more about becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist by contacting surgical tech diploma programs in Iowa.
What Kind of Surgical Technician Training Do I Need in Iowa?
Since there are so many different job titles and areas of specialty in healthcare, training requirements are often extremely different from one job title to the next. It you want to work in surgery as an assistant, you may pursue this path by earning a surgical technology Associate’s degree, diploma, or certificate.
Explore options at schools near you and contact local programs to find a school that fits your needs.
Getting Into Surgical Tech Schools in Iowa
Although slight differences set apart each surgical tech school, they tend to be very similar in their admissions requirements. Even if you have never attended any postsecondary institution or you do not have an excellent GPA, you may be able to get accepted to a surgical tech degree program.
Programs in this field focus on technical knowledge and skills, so you simply need to meet basic requirements to be considered. This often makes it easier to choose a program that fits your learning needs and goals.
- GED or high school diploma
- GPA of 2.0 or higher (some schools require 2.5)
- No history of felony convictions
- Physical strength as tested by a physical exam
- Completion of certain prerequisite courses
- TB test results
- Drug screening form
- Background check form
- Essay on your interest in surgical technology
- References from employers or teachers
- Immunization records
Iowa Surgical Technology Training
Surgical tech programs get you ready for the demands of this field with several types of training. Some of your courses focus almost entirely on theory. Theory plays an important role in surgical technology, since you must understand how sterilization procedures work, how tools are used, and what factors increase the risk of infection in surgical patients.
However, it is equally important to be able to turn that knowledge into workplace skills. That is why practical experience takes up a considerable amount of time in a surgical technology program. By spending time in the laboratory and in local healthcare facilities, you can figure out how different healthcare theories play out in the operating room, how you can be of assistance to your supervisors, and what your responsibilities are in the operating room.
Surgical Tech Courses in Iowa
- Anatomy and Physiology (4 credits): In some surgical tech diploma programs, this class is a prerequisite, so you must take it either in high school or prior to taking your surgical tech classes. At other schools, it is built into your surgical technician program. You learn how to identify body systems and parts before studying their functions and how they may cause or worsen disease.
- Surgical Foundations (6 credits): This is one of the core classes for most surgical tech programs. You get an overview of the surgical process from start to finish, learning how to prepare for surgery, provide assistance during surgery, and properly clean up the operating room after a procedure.
- Patient Care Concepts (2 credits): You may spend some of your time working with patients, particularly when it comes to preparing them for surgery or monitoring them after a procedure is complete. Prepare for this aspect of your career by learning about patient care standards.
- Surgical Procedures (6 credits): This course explores different surgical procedures done in each healthcare specialty. You may focus more on common procedures, since these often make up the bulk of your daily work. However, once you understand common procedures, you may move on to more complex surgeries.
- Pharmacology for Surgical Technologists (2 credits): A basic knowledge of pharmacology is important in a surgical career. Generally, you should be familiar with pain medications, general anesthesia, and sedatives.
Why Can’t I Find Online Surgical Tech Programs?
Due to the clinical and laboratory experience requirements of surgical technology, this is one field that does not have any 100% online options. Surgical assistant online programs do not provide the hands-on experience needed to apply for certification in this field.
Are There Any Options for Students Wanting to Earn a Surgical Tech Degree Online?
There are several ways you may start your certified surgical tech program online. General education requirements are common in surgical tech Associate degree programs.
Since these courses do not require clinical work or experience, you may be able to complete some or all of them online. Some schools give you the chance to do your theory courses via distance learning.
What Courses May Be Available in an Online Format?
In addition to your general education classes, some surgical tech courses may be offered in an online or blended format. These courses often include Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology, Patient Care Concepts, and Healthcare Ethics.
Paying for Surgical Tech School in Iowa
If you are relying on financial aid for your surgical tech degree, you should keep an eye on application deadlines and requirements. Each program runs on its own schedule, and missing a deadline can be costly.
Once you have selected your surgical technology Associate’s degree, certificate, or diploma, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application checks your income, cost of attendance, family size, and other factors to figure out if you qualify for federal financial aid.
You can also conduct thorough scholarship searches via Peterson’s, which streamlines the application process and keeps deadlines front and center. Spending some time on industry-specific searches may pay off. Student members of the Association of Surgical Technologists can apply for scholarships through the organization.
Working as a Certified Surgical Technician in Iowa
By the time you complete your surgical technician program, you should have trained as a scrub tech in a variety of settings. This opportunity may help you build connections with employers and decide which work setting is a good fit for you.
Iowa Surgical Technician Requirements
Surgical technology is one of the few healthcare fields that is not heavily licensed across the United States. Although there is no state licensing program in Iowa, it is still important to apply for national certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.
After completing a Certified Surgical Technologist program, Iowa students can apply to take their certification exam. Members must pay a $190 testing fee, while non-members must pay a $290 testing fee.
To maintain your certification, you must renew your license every four years. Renewal requirements include 60 hours of continuing education every four years. You may meet continuing education requirements with surgical tech courses, seminars, and industry events.
Where are the Best Surgical Tech Jobs in Iowa?
Iowa has a good mix of urban hospitals, smaller rural hospitals, and outpatient surgical centers that often post openings for surgical technologists. No matter which employment setting you decide on, a flexible schedule is important.
In particular, hospitals often have 24/7 staffing of surgical wards to ensure that emergency surgical needs can be met. This requires staffing on holidays, weekends, and overnights, as well as more conventional shifts. While outpatient surgical centers may have slightly different scheduling needs, they do often have some night and weekend shifts.
OR Tech Hiring Requirements
- Current certification as a Certified Surgical Technologist
- High school diploma or GED
- Graduation from an accredited surgical technician program
- Physical health standards that accommodate standing, lifting, carrying, and positioning patients
- Strong references from previous instructors and clinical site supervisors
Common Surgical Technician Job Duties in Iowa
After you accept an operating room tech position, you may not go straight into working and covering specific shifts. Most facilities have extensive training requirements. Going through your employer’s training process helps you become familiar with their schedules, their daily tasks, and their workplace standards.
Before you start working, make sure that you are familiar with the scope of practice for surgical technologists in Iowa. The Iowa State Assembly lists what tasks you can take on as an OR tech. These tasks are based primarily on what is covered by Iowa diploma in surgical technology programs.
You cannot step outside your scope of practice at any time, even during an emergency situation, since your surgical technician certificate does not cover performing surgery or other aspects of patient care.
Surgical Technician Requirements and Responsibilities
- Verifying that needed equipment is sterilized and set out for surgery
- Pre-surgical preparation that includes cleaning the surgical site and creating a sterile environment
- Communicating with surgeons during operations to get them the tools and equipment they need
- Counting tools, sponges, and other materials before the surgical site is closed
- Properly disposing of biomedical waste
- Sterilizing equipment and returning it to storage
Iowa Surgical Tech Salaries
Many different factors may affect your salary after you earn your surgical tech Associate degree.
While salaries tend to be higher in metropolitan parts of Iowa, demand for surgical technologists is often higher in rural areas. Working in a rural area may open the door to sign-on and retention bonuses for you.
Across the state, the average salary for a surgical technologist is $39,340 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Salaries are slightly higher in certain parts of Iowa. Those working in Davenport and Des Moines bring in an average annual income of $41,970, while the average salary in northeastern Iowa is $39,670 (BLS, 2017). The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects demand for surgical technicians to increase through 2024 or beyond; they anticipate a 15% boost in job openings during this time (2017).
Surgical Technology Resources in Iowa
No matter how much you can accomplish as an individual surgical technologist, you may expand your influence, knowledge, and experience by networking with others in this field. Other surgical technicians are familiar with the issues and stresses you may face on a daily basis in your career, which is why it is important to connect with them and brainstorm solutions.
Additionally, you can offer each other support. As a member of local and national groups, you may get early or discounted access to training events, continuing education seminars, and other programs.
Make it a priority to attend local events and meet up with other surgical technicians early in your career, since this may help you develop your career in whichever professional direction interests you.
Scrub Tech Resources and Events
- Association of Surgical Technologists
- Association of Surgical Assistants
- Iowa State Assembly Fall and Spring Conferences
You know that becoming a surgical technician may be an excellent way to make a difference, get involved in a rapidly growing industry, and gain valuable skills that may strengthen your job outlook.
What’s the next step? It’s time to find a training program that fits your learning style, your previous education, and your long-term career goals.