Your Path to Becoming a Surgical Technologist

Required Courses
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Professional Ethics
  • Medical Terminology
  • Patient Care
  • Surgical Procedures

Surgical Technologists assist in surgical operations. They work under the supervision of surgeons and registered nurses. As a surgical technologist, you will prepare the operating room and surgical instruments. You will assemble and sterilize equipment.

Preparing patients for surgery is one of your main responsibilities. You will wash, shave, and disinfect body areas for incision. You will transport patients to the operating room, where you will then position them on the operating table. During surgery, you will check patient vital signs and hand the surgeons tools.

To become a surgical technologist you must complete formal training. Employers prefer certified technologists. The medical industry is growing. There are great advancement opportunities and job stability in a career as a surgical technologist.

Step 1 Education

Training programs are 9 to 24 months. An associate degree will provide you with advanced knowledge and skills. Enroll in a program that is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. These programs include both classroom and laboratory work.

Certification will enhance your employment opportunities. The Liaison Council on Certification for the Surgical Technologist offers certification exams. You must retake the certification exam every four years or complete 60 hours of approved continuing education.

The National Center for Competency Testing also offers certification exams. You must complete an accredited program, train for two years in a hospital, and acquire seven years of experience in the medical field before taking the exams. You must be recertified every five years. Recertification is done through continuing education or reexamination.

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Step 2 Job Search

Hospitals employ the most surgical technologists. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects employment will grow more in physician's offices and outpatient care centers due to better earning opportunities.

With the technology advancements, more technologists are needed to assist in procedures. Employers are seeking those with knowledge and experience using fiber optics or laser technology. Continued education will help you stay current on the latest technology and developments.

When looking for a job, you may have to relocate. Besides working in hospitals or healthcare facilities, you could work in offices. There are job positions in insurance companies, sterile supply services, and operating equipment firms.

Step 3 Career

You may specialize your career as a surgical first assistant or circulator. As a surgical first assistant you will provide aid in surgical exposure. You will help control blood flow to prevent or stop hemorrhages. Circulators interview patients before surgery and assist in anesthesia. You will be considered an unsterile person. Thus you will open packages and keep a written account of the surgical procedure.

Most surgical technologist earn between $32,490 and $46,910 annually, according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Those with advanced education and experience have higher earning potential.

Surgical Technologists work forty hours a week. You will be on call and may have to work overtime or irregular hours. Hours include nights, weekends, and holidays. You will also stand on your feet for long periods of time.