How to Become a Surgical Tech: Education, Jobs, and Salary

A surgical technologist, sometimes known as a surgical tech, is a crucial element of the operating team. In the operating room, they collaborate with the doctors and nurses. Surgical technologists are prepared to filling in when an extra pair of hands is needed. Therefore, it is no doubt that there is a growing need for surgical techs.

Working as a surgical technologist might offer a great opportunity to enter the medical sector with a certificate or associate degree if you can handle the stress and duties of the job. In this guide, you will find out what it takes to become a surgical technologist and how much money these professionals normally make.

Surgical Tech
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How to Become a Surgical Tech

First of all, what does surgical tech do?

Again, understanding the fundamentals of the field can help you start along the path to becoming a surgical technologist.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), surgical technologists help with surgical operations. Basically, they set up operating rooms, organize the equipment, and support the first assistants and surgeons during operations.

Then, after graduating from your program, you can next enter a competitive job market with the knowledge, training, and experience that employers desire. In general, to be a surgical technologist, you must:

1. Earn an Associate’s Degree

A certificate or associate’s degree from an accredited program is often required for surgical technologists. A lot of universities, hospitals, and community colleges offer accredited surgical technology or surgical assisting programs, as do many vocational institutions.

Anatomy, microbiology, and physiology are among the subjects covered in courses on surgical technology. Additionally, these employees receive training in infection prevention and control, technical or robotic equipment setup, patient care and safety, and sterilizing methods.

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Students also acquire practical experience in supervised clinical settings in addition to classroom instruction.

2. Gain Hands-On Experience

Practical training in surgical technology is available through several technical institutions, colleges, and universities. To learn how to set up operating rooms, clean surgical instruments, and assist with procedures, you can also participate in clinical externships or internships.

Getting real-world experience can help you get ready to carry out your responsibilities as a surgical technologist.

3. Become Certified

A certification could help you land a job, and some employers might even demand it. Through certifying organizations, surgical technologists can obtain certification.

For instance, the title “Certified Surgical Technologist (CST)” may be used if certification is obtained via the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. Passing an exam and finishing a recognized formal education program or military training program are normally requirements for this qualification.

Additionally, a lot of professions demand that technicians and surgical assistants have their basic life support (BLS) or CPR certifications, or both. However, the employment of surgical technologists is governed by laws in some states.

Surgical Tech Programs

Training programs equip you with the skills and information necessary to work as a surgical technologist. There are associate degrees, diplomas, and certificate programs available while searching for surgical technology programs.

Diploma and certificate programs normally last a year or less to complete. In contrast, because associate degree programs require more general education credits, they can last up to two years.

All of these courses cost between $5,000 and $15,000, with private associate degree courses costing more than certificates, diplomas, and in-state associate degree programs at community institutions.

For individuals choosing distant learning, there are currently no online surgical tech programs. This is due to the fact that training for this degree necessitates practical application, including practicing how to set up a sterile operating room. On the other hand, medical assistant degrees can be obtained entirely online.

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Both the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) directory and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) website allow you to search for accredited programs.

As previously mentioned, having a certification might aid in your job search. From this list, you can select the surgical tech certification that best fits your needs:

  • Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) by NBSTSA
  • Dental Assistant (RDA) by AMT
  • Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) by NHA
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) by NREMT
  • Certified Surgical First Assistant (CSFA) by NBSTSA
  • Certified Operating Room Surgical Technician (CORST) by NHA
  • Certified Nurse Technician (CNT) by NHA

Surgical Tech Schools

You can become a surgical technologist by attending surgical technology schools. They provide associate degrees, which graduates can use to enroll in bachelor’s-completion programs or get jobs.

A high school diploma or GED is required, while some schools will also take the HiSET. First-year students take a placement test after meeting with enrollment advisors. Your initial English and math courses are determined by test scores, according to schools.

Some of the best surgical technology schools acknowledged by CAAHEP or ABHES are:

  • East Central Community College
  • Gwinnett Technical College
  • Lord Fairfax Community College
  • Owens Community College
  • Pearl River Community College
  • Skyline College
  • Southwestern College

How long is schooling for surgical tech? Programs for surgical technologists might last as little as a year for a certificate or as long as two years for a combined associate degree and advanced training. Some schools occasionally offer accelerated academic programs that let you get your degree or certificate more quickly.

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Usually, in order to complete these programs more quickly, you must attend longer lessons each day or take weekend courses. But you can expect that these kinds of programs will take one to two years to complete.

Surgical Tech Jobs

You will not need to be concerned about employment prospects that are stagnant or disappearing if you decide to become a surgical tech. According to the BLS, employment in this industry is expected to increase by 9% between 2020 and 2030.

But why is there growth, exactly?

Procedures are being carried out more regularly because improvements in surgical technology have increased their safety. The BLS also blames the aging baby boomer population for this development. In the upcoming years, it is anticipated that this group will need more care from medical professionals, which will lead to an increase in surgical procedures.

Surgical Tech Salary

Less time spent in school typically results in lower course costs. For aspiring surgical technologists, this is obviously advantageous, but there are additional financial advantages.

Another plus is the typical surgical technologist’ salary. How much does a surgical tech make? Surgical technologists made a median annual pay of $48,350 in 2021, according to the BLS. This figure is slightly higher than the $45,760 national average for all occupations.

The fact that there are hospitals in almost every region of the country and that surgeons execute treatments there with the assistance of surgical technologists is the best of all! This indicates that there are job opportunities around the nation.

What’s Next

Discover scholarships for healthcare students to help you go further, including the Good Samaritan Scholarship and the Kaiser Permanente Scholarship. Meanwhile, these courses in cybersecurity are perfect for those who are interested in the field.

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