Surgical Technologists are also known as surgical or operating room technicians or sometimes they are even called scrub techs. Surgical technologist assists during operations under the guidance of surgeons, registered nurses and other surgical professionals.
What Does a Surgical Tech Do?
Surgical techs prep the operating room prior to surgery by positioning surgical tools, equipment, and other necessary supplies in their appropriate places; as well as confirm that all equipment is functioning properly. They move the patient to the operating room, positioning the patient properly on the table, and apply sterile draping to cover them. They also check and monitor the patient’s vital signs, and assist the surgeon and nurses by helping them put their sterile gloves and gowns for surgery. Surgical Techs are also responsible for preparing the patient for their operation by disinfecting the affected part of the body and by removing any hair that may be present where the incision will be made.
When the surgeon or surgeon assistant needs something, the surgical techs hand tools and other necessary supplies to them as they request them. During the surgery the surgical techs are responsible for counting supplies needed for the surgery, such as sponges, needles, and other instruments, to make certain that nothing is left inside the patient.
After the surgery, surgical techs transport the recovery area, and they also assist with taking specimens to the laboratory for testing.
What type of College is needed for Surgical Techs?
Medical Training schools, community colleges and even universities offer training programs for surgical technologists. A high school diploma or GED for is required for admission. The training programs can take anywhere from 9 to 24 months depending on the type of training/degree you wish to obtain.
The program consists of classroom studies as well as clinical experience. As a surgical tech student you will have courses such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, microbiology, pharmacology, law and ethics, medical terminology, sterile techniques, surgical procedures, and patient care and safety. During your clinical/practical skills, you will learn how to handle drugs and equipment, sterilize instruments, and prevent and control infection.
Students who complete the program are eligible to take the CAAHEP examination to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). Every 4 years, a recertification is required by taking continuing education credits and examinations.
You can also become a certified technologist through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). You can qualify by graduating from an approved program. You can also qualify by completing 2 years of hands-on experience training through a hospital program, or by having seven years of work experience in radiology. After the completion and passing of the exams, Surgical technologist graduates will formally have the title as Certified Techs in Surgery (TS-C, NCCT) and will need retake the exam or obtain continuing education credits every 5 years to recertify.
Surgical Technologist Employment Opportunities
Hospitals will are usually always the number one place where surgical techs will employ. However recently, there is job growth is in outpatient care centers, and ambulatory surgical centers and sometimes even urgent care clinics.
How much does a Surgical Tech Make?
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgical technologists starting out can expect to make around 25,000. Those who have medial experience usually make an annual salary between $26,000 and $37,000. And surgical techs with many years of experience typically make anywhere from $43,000 to $50,000.
For a healthcare career that does not require a college degree, surgical techs can make substantial amount money! If you have been considering a career as a surgical technologist, hopefully with this information will help you to determine if it’s the right career choice for you.