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Surgical Technologist

Surgical technologists or surgical technicians are the healthcare professionals who will assist the surgical team in the operating rooms. This allied healthcare career has been already mentioned in the ‘8 Most Exciting Healthcare Jobs for 2016’ for various reasons. Now, let’s see about this exciting healthcare career in detail here…

Why should you become a Surgical Technologist?

This is simply because you will play a vital role in the operating room and you will be an integral part of the surgical team. The other factors that are exciting about this healthcare career are the hands-on internships you would receive during the surgical technology education program, the increasing demand for the surgical technologists in the healthcare centers, exciting earning potential, and the likeliness of making a difference every day. I would say this healthcare career wouldn’t bore you at any time.

What are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Surgical Technologist?

In a given day, a surgical technologist would have to perform the following tasks:

  • Preparing operating rooms for surgeries

  • Sterilizing operation equipment before surgeries

  • Ensuring adequate supplies for surgery

  • Preparing patients for surgery by washing/disinfecting their incision sites

  • Helping surgeons in the surgical procedure by providing them instruments and sterile supplies

  • Counting supplies like sponges, instruments, and so on.

  • Maintaining a sterile environment inside the operating room


Where do the surgical technologists work? It can be seen that almost 70% of the surgical technologists have their work in hospitals and they are found to be working alongside other healthcare professionals like:

  • Registered nurses

  • Physicians

  • Surgeons


How to become a Surgical Technologist?

Educational Requirements:

If you aspire to become a surgical technologist, you need to complete a diploma, certificate, or an associate’s degree program in surgical technology. Of these, the diploma and certificate programs can be completed in less than a year whereas the associate’s program will take two years to complete.

The coursework of the above-mentioned programs would include the following:

  • Surgical procedures

  • Pharmacology

  • Medical terminology

  • Anatomy

  • Physiology


The students are required to choose a surgical technology that has got the accreditation from the ‘Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs’.

Certification:

I would say certification will be beneficial for you in finding an employment. As a surgical technologist, you can earn certification from various organizations like:

  • The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting

  • National Center for Competency Testing

  • American Board of Surgical Assistants


Of these, the certification from the first organization allows the use of ‘Certified Surgical Technologist’ title and from the second body allows the use of ‘Tech in Surgery – Certified’ title. The third body is offering certification for the ‘surgical first assistants’.

Job Outlook and Opportunities:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment opportunities for the surgical technologists are estimated to increase by 15% from the year 2014 to 2024.

Pay:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for the surgical technologists is found to be $44,330 (as of May 2015) per year which is equal to $21.31 per hour.

Summary:

Average Annual Pay:  $44,330

Average Hourly Pay: $21.31

Education:  Postsecondary non-degree award

Employment Growth from 2014 to 2024: 15%

On-the-job training: None

Work Experience: None