How to Become a Surgical Tech in Louisiana
Surgical technologists assist doctors, nurses, and other members of surgical teams before, during, and after operations.
To become a surgical tech in Louisiana, you must receive training from qualified professionals at an accredited institution.
From there, you can obtain an official certification and begin applying for surgical tech jobs in Louisiana.
Education and Training
While course curriculums differ across schools, most institutions with surgical tech programs offer classes like:
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical and Surgical Terminology
- Fundamental Perioperative Techniques
- Surgical Procedures
- Basic Mathematics and Biology
- Principles of Microbiology
- Healthcare Facility Standards and Guidelines
Attending an Accredited Program
To qualify for national certification, surgical techs in LA must complete training programs with the proper accreditation. Before enrolling, make sure that your chosen school has accreditation from one of the following organizations:
- The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
- The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
Students perform the practical application portion of their educational programs by completing clinical hours in real medical settings.
Schools typically partner with local healthcare facilities to arrange externships for their students, so you might earn your hours in one of the following locations:
- Physician and Dentist Offices: assisting with minor surgical procedures alongside doctors, RNs, and qualified dental, and nursing assistants
- Hospital Operating Rooms: gaining surgical tech experience during various types of surgical procedures
- Specialized Surgical Centers: working with surgical teams specializing in a particular branch of medicine, such as:
- Plastic Surgery
- Organ Transplantation
- Pediatric Surgery
- Orthopedic Surgery
Although program lengths differ across institutions, most surgical techs in LA complete their training in about nine months. Some undergo more extensive training and finish their courses in one year or 18 months. Those who pursue associate’s degrees in surgical technology and assisting complete their programs in two years.
How Much Does Surgical Tech School Cost?
Many one-year certificate courses for surgical techs in LA cost about $3,500 in tuition, books, and fees. However, training may cost as little as $2,100 at some schools and $8,400 at others. Associate’s degree programs for aspiring surgical technologists might cost about $20,000.
Louisiana Surgical Tech Requirements
While you must complete an accredited training program to qualify for surgical tech jobs in Louisiana, getting an official license or certification is optional. Even so, obtaining a credential from a nationally-recognized institution like the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) can help you stand out among other applicants when searching for jobs in this field.
The NBSTSA offers a certification exam for trained surgical technologists who want or need an official license. To register for this test, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Submit proof of graduation from a trade school, college, or military surgical tech training program.
- Complete an exam application form
- Pay the required application fee
Once you submit an application, you must wait to receive an Authorization To Test (ATT) letter from the NBSTA, certifying that you are eligible for the surgical tech licensing exam. From there, you’ll need to schedule an appointment to take your test, which you can do online or over the phone.
Those who pass their NBSTSA exam become certified surgical techs and can start looking for surgical tech jobs in Louisiana. However, you may need to meet additional requirements in order to qualify for a job with a particular employer. For example, most hospitals and clinics only hire applicants who meet the following criteria:
- Pass a criminal background check
- Have updated immunization records
- Pass a drug screening
Surgical Tech Salaries in LA
Although $41,232 per year is the average surgical tech salary in Louisiana, you might earn more or less than that, depending on where you work. Of course, private hospitals and surgical centers might pay more than a small outpatient clinic or general medical hospital. However, the area you work in can affect your wages as well.
Take a look at the list below to learn how much surgical techs make in certain Louisiana cities:
- Baton Rouge $43,095
- Lake Charles $39,662
- New Orleans $42,054
- Houma $43,852
- Lafayette $39,337
- Alexandria $40,935
- Monroe $39,331
Certified surgical techs in LA might be able to negotiate higher salaries than non-certified techs. They might also qualify for more specialized surgical tech jobs in Louisiana hospitals and private surgical centers, which might pay more than $60,000 per year.
Surgical tech jobs in LA hospitals, surgical centers, and clinics require exceptional attention to detail and communication skills. During their workday, these professionals perform tasks like:
- Assisting surgical teams before, during, and after procedures
- Receiving surgery instruments and tools from sterile processing technicians
- Set up the table of surgical tools and equipment in the operating room
- Pass instruments to surgeons as they ask for them during the procedure
- Count each instrument and surgical tool to ensure all equipment is accounted for after each surgery
- Maintain a sterile work environment throughout the procedure
According to career outlook reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for surgical technologists in the U.S. is likely to increase by about six percent over the next decade. Trained surgical techs in LA can take advantage of this projected growth rate by earning their certification and meeting employee-specific requirements to qualify for surgical tech jobs in Louisiana.