How to Become a Surgical Technologist
Surgical technologists are essential members of the surgical team, and they must have a level head, a quick mind, and an iron stomach to do their jobs. Because contamination in the OR can be life-threatening to the patient on the table, the tech’s importance cannot be overstated.
Surgical technologists may connect drains and tubing, operate suction machines, or prepare specimens for analysis in order to prepare the operating room for procedures. The field of surgical technology is expected to grow at a rate of 7% through 2029, as surgical operations are occurring more frequently than ever before.
Finding Surgical Technologist Jobs
CSTs work in physician’s offices, outpatient care centers, and dentist’s offices, with over 70% of surgical technologists employed in hospitals. The National Board of Surgical Technology has online career resources for job opportunities.
Getting Your Degree
Surgical technologists can earn a certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree depending on their level of education. Certificates and diplomas can be earned in as little as one year thanks to surgical technology-focused coursework, while associate’s degrees typically take 18 to 24 months.
Any program you choose must be accredited by the CAAHEP or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, whichever comes first.
Surgical technologist programs require at least a high school diploma or GED, and many schools require students to complete a criminal background check before beginning the program, as it includes hands-on experience with patients. Some schools may also require prerequisite courses ranging from biology to English.
What You’ll Study
Many programs also include a practicum, where you can put your new skills to the test in a hospital setting.
Are There Surgical Tech Programs Online?
If you already have experience in the field, online and on-the-job training may be the best option for you; because candidates have prior experience, these programs can often be offered at a faster pace.
Surgical Tech Salaries
Surgical technologists earn a median annual salary of $49,710, with some earning more than $73,110 per year. Potential wages vary by state, work environment, and seniority.
Advancing Through Professional Certification
A surgical tech certification is a two-step process, and some states, including Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, now require it before surgical technologists can work.
The CST exam
The exam has 175 questions, of which 150 are scored, and you must pass with a score of roughly 70% to pass.
The renewal period for continuing education certification (CST) has been reduced from four to two years as of January 2020, with candidates required to complete 60 hours of continuing education (CE) credits within each cycle. If you don’t complete the required CEs, you can also choose to retake the initial exam to renew your certification.
Is it hard to become a surgical tech?
Becoming a surgical technologist isn’t as difficult as becoming a doctor, but you won’t be able to walk into the OR right out of high school. You’ll need to get a certificate or degree, complete an internship, and earn some credentials, as well as the right skills.
Is becoming a surgical tech a good career?
One of the best reasons to pursue a career in healthcare is that job growth is strong: surgical technology jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 9%, faster than the national average, and result in thousands of new positions in the ten years to 2028, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How do I become a surgical tech?
Surgical technologists typically receive training from a surgical technology program at a community college, technical school, or military school, which can last anywhere from nine to 15 months for a certificate to 24 months for an associate’s degree. 3 Most programs require a high school diploma for entry.
Is Surgical Tech a stressful job?
For a variety of reasons, working as a surgical technician can be stressful and physically demanding. Long working hours. Physical demands. May be required to be on-call or work night shifts and weekends.
Do surgical techs do stitches?
During surgery, technologists pass instruments and other sterile supplies to surgeons and surgical assistants, as well as hold retractors, cut sutures, and assist in the counting of sponges, needles, supplies, and instruments.
How much do entry level surgical techs make?
Salary for a Surgical Technologist at the Entry Level
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Can you move up from surgical tech?
If you want to advance in your surgical tech career, you could become a surgical assistant (which can happen after on-the-job training or additional education), or you could move up to administration, which includes managing surgical teams.
What comes after surgical tech?
If you’re a surgical tech, you’re already on the right track; if you want to advance further, surgical assisting is the logical next step, as it allows you to earn more money, take on more responsibilities, and provide more hands-on care to patients.
How many hours do surgical techs work?
Most Surgical Technologists work a regular 40-hour week, but they may be required to work on-call or rotate nights, weekends, and holidays. They may also be required to work a variety of shifts, as operations can occur at any time of day or night.
Where do surgical techs make the most money?
Alaska ($67,660), Nevada ($64,050), California ($62,510), the District of Columbia ($60,740), and Minnesota ($60,090) have the highest mean salaries for Surgical Technologists.
Does Surgical Tech require math?
Simple calculations or unit conversions may be required, but no advanced math skills will be required on a regular basis for the typical surgical technologist.
How long does it take to become a surgical tech?
Surgical technology diploma or certificate programs typically last 12 months, while an associate in surgical technology program takes two years to complete.
What skills does a surgical tech need?
Although a university-based surgical technology program can provide you with the necessary book knowledge, there are some skills that cannot be taught.
- Possession of a Calm Nature.
- Excellent Communication Skills.
- Exceptional Dexterity.
- Not Squeamish.
- Expect the Unexpected.
- Willingness to Learn.
How can a surgical tech become a first assistant?
A surgical technologist must have several years of operating room experience, meet the prerequisites and educational requirements to apply to and complete an accredited surgical first assistant program, and then pass the exam to become a certified surgical first assistant.