Becoming a Surgical Tech in Pennsyvania
If you enjoy helping others and want to work in the healthcare field, then a career as a surgical tech may be suited for you.
These workers play an important role in patient care, as they assist doctors during surgery, prep patients, and help maintain a sterile environment during surgeries.
Education and Training
The first step to becoming a surgical technologist is getting the proper training and education. Those interested will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and enroll in an accredited program within the state. Trade schools, vocational colleges, and community colleges often provide programs that students may take part in.
Some classes and topics that surgical tech students will likely take during their coursework are:
- Patient Care
- Medical Ethics
- Surgical Room Methods
- Medical Terminology
- Aseptic Methods
Earning a Certification
Earning a certification is mandatory for getting most surgical tech jobs. Once an individual has completed the necessary education and training, they will have to take the national CST exam to earn their certification.
The exam will require a $290 fee and you will need to provide proof that you’ve finished a surgical technology program.
You will need to maintain your status as a certified surgical technologist. This will require you to recertify every four years, which involves retaking the CST exam or providing proof that you have completed at least 60 credit hours of surgical technology coursework between CST exams.
Attending a Surgical Tech Program
If you’re looking to start a career as a surgical technologist, enrolling in an accredited program is the first step you’ll need to take. Whether you attend a surgical tech program in a Pennsylvania trade school, community college, or vocational school, you’ll be able to gain the knowledge and training needed to thrive.
How Much Does It Cost?
Wondering how much a surgical tech program costs? The price can depend on which program you choose. However, it’s possible to attend a surgical tech program for under 10k, while getting an associate degree may cost over 35k.
How Long Does It Take?
The time it takes to complete a surgical tech program can depend on which program or school you choose to attend. Generally, surgical technologist programs take around one to two years to finish.
Pennsylvania Surgical Tech Requirements
There are currently no state-mandated laws mandating the requirements necessary to become a surgical tech in Pennsylvania. However, most employers will require you to have completed an accredited surgical technologist program and pass the CST exam.
Surgical Tech Salaries in PA
If you’re interested in becoming a surgical tech in PA, you should know that it can be a fulfilling and profitable career path. Those entering the field will find that a surgical tech salary in Pennsylvania can depend on different factors like experience and region.
Some potential salaries you may be able to earn as a surgical tech in PA are:
- Pittsburgh $52,121
- Harrisburg $51,469
- Philadelphia $56,153
- State College $53,904
- Scranton $49,117
Surgical techs work with doctors and assist during operations. Before operations, these workers set up surgical instruments and equipment in the operating room. They also typically bring patients to the operating room and prepare them for surgery by getting them on the table and covering them with sterile wipes and washing the incision sites.
During operations, surgical techs assist doctors by passing instruments and supplies to the surgeons and first assistants. Techs may have to hold internal organs in place or set up robotic surgical equipment. These workers can also handle specimens that will be taken for analysis in a lab.
Once the operation is finished, a surgical tech may apply bandages or other dressings to the site.
What Do They Do?
Some job responsibilities of a typical surgical tech are:
- Preparing the operating room for surgery
- Sterilizing equipment and ensuring adequate supplies are present
- Ready the patients for surgery
- Assist surgeons during surgery, such as passing them instruments
- Count supplies to ensure no foreign objects are left in a patient
- Take a patient to recovery room
- Restock the operating room
- Maintain a safe, sterile work environment
Interested in becoming a surgical technologist? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgical tech jobs should increase by about six percent over the next decade, totaling about 9,600 jobs per year, which is about the average for all occupations. PA residents can expect a growth in new surgical tech jobs in Pennsylvania as well.
The increase in surgical tech jobs both nationwide and in-state will happen for a variety of reasons. Experts predict that many openings will result from workers retiring or leaving the field for other professions. Also, with the baby boomer generation aging, there is an expected need for more workers in the healthcare and medical fields.