Surgical tech training can prepare you for a career in healthcare that is in demand and pays well. Surgical techs work in operating rooms in hospitals and surgical centers. They assist doctors and nurses by preparing and maintaining equipment used during surgery.
There are various training programs for surgical technologists. Some of them are offered through vocational schools and last a few months. Others are offered through colleges and last up to two years. A certificate is awarded upon completion of vocational school and an Associate Degree is awarded after two years of college. The length of the program may be determined by state requirements. Since regulations for licensure may vary by state, the length of training and amount of clinical experience can vary from place to place.
When choosing the best surgical tech training program, it is important to select one that is accredited by the state so the credit hours will count towards a license. Surgical techs can earn credentials through professional organizations such as the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting and the National Healthcare Association. Earning credentials will greatly increase the likelihood of finding employment. In some states, credentials are mandatory.
To enter a training program to become a surgical technologist, you must first have a GED or high school diploma. It also helps if you have a strong background in the sciences such as biology and anatomy. In addition, you should have good concentration skills as you will need to be very detail oriented during a surgical procedure. You should also have good manual dexterity so you can handle surgical tools. You will need to work well under pressure since operations can sometimes be very high stress situations. You will also need to be reasonably fit with enough stamina to be able to stand for long periods of time during a medical procedure.
Getting into surgical tech school is the same as getting into college. You must meet the entry requirements of the school and apply by their deadlines. If you attend a community college, the programs typically begin and end on a traditional school calendar. Vocational schools may be more flexible and allow you to begin training at other times of the year.
You can expect to take classes in biology, anatomy, patient care, medical terminology, and equipment care. Students will learn how to care for patients, sterilize equipment, and maintain a sterile field during surgery. Some of the training will be in the classroom and some of it will be during clinical classes in a work setting.
Upon completion of a training program, you will be able to set up the equipment needed for specific surgeries, pass instruments to surgeons, assist surgeons when appropriate, account for sponges, prepare and maintain sterile fields, and provide patient care.
The cost of surgical tech training varies among schools, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $6000 to $25,000. If you attend a traditional community college, the costs will be higher since the training program is longer and you will take additional classes in order to obtain an Associate Degree. You probably won’t have to pay for the entire course upfront. Tuition will be due at the start of each semester or term. It is likely you will be eligible for some sort of financial aid as long as the school is accredited, even if it is a vocational school.
Training for a career as a surgical tech prepares you for a career with job security. The demand for healthcare workers of all kinds is expected to grow faster than many other jobs because of the aging baby boomers who will place a heavy demand on the healthcare system. In addition to a secure future, you can look forward to a decent salary. In 2010, the median salary for surgical techs was $39,920. Besides that, you will also enjoy personal satisfaction from doing a job that helps save or improve lives. Becoming a surgical tech can also be a stepping-stone to another occupation in the medical field. With experience and further training, you could go on to become a nurse or even a surgeon. Being a surgical tech is an ideal job for anyone who loves healthcare, medicine, and caring for others. Choosing the right surgical tech training is the first step to a rewarding new career.