Trade Schools with Surgical Technologist Programs
- Concorde Career College
- Pinellas Technical College
- New England Institute of Technology
- National American University
- CBD College
- Berkeley College
- Concorde Career Institute
- American Career College
- Brookline College
- Carrington College
- City College
- Altierus Career College
- Eastwick College
- ECPI University
- Keiser University
- Miller-Motte College
- San Joaquin Valley College
- Southern Technical College
- McCann School of Business & Technology
- Southeastern College
- Sullivan University
A surgical technologist is an important person in any operating room. They are partially responsible for the safety of patients who undergo surgery, and their work helps assure each procedure goes smoothly. More than 100,000 people in the United States have surgical technologist jobs, and that number is currently on the rise.
Surgical technology is a fine option for those who want to earn their licensure quickly and have good job security. As the demand for healthcare increases, so does the need for techs in hospitals and other care centers. Those interested in surgical technologist jobs can take classes in-person or online and become certified in a matter of months.
What Is a Surgical Technologist?
Surgical technologists supply a helping hand before, during and after surgeries. Prior to an operation, they prepare the operating room and the necessary tools. They handle equipment and make sure all surfaces and instruments are sterile. Technologists might also help ready the patients themselves for their treatment.
During procedures, a surgical technologist can pass items to the physicians or their first assistants. Techs can also hold equipment in place while the other staff members conduct the operation. When the surgery is over, technologists may help move patients to their recovery room. They’ll also put the operating room back it order so it’s ready for the next person who needs treated.
What Are A Surgical Technologist's Job Duties?
Surgical technologists who do their jobs carefully and correctly are helpful aids to surgeons that also preserve the safety of patients. Their responsibilities can include:
- Sterilizing equipment and gathering the necessary supplies for surgery
- Preparing patients for their operation by dressing them in appropriate gowns, transporting them to the operating room and positioning them on the table
- Aiding others during surgery by handing the doctors their equipment and keeping track of instruments to confirm that no foreign items remain in the patient’s body
- Cleaning and bandaging the patient’s incision and transporting them to the recovery area when their surgery is over
- Restocking and sterilizing the operating room after procedures
What Kinds of Traits Should Surgical Technologists Have?
To be effective at their jobs, surgical technologists should be thorough and detailed. They need to keep the operating room clean and orderly to ensure each procedure goes as planned and no patients suffer from accidental harm. It’s crucial that techs sanitize all tools and surfaces completely to eliminate the risk of infection.
People skills are also essential for surgical technologists. They work very closely with others who work alongside them during surgeries. To make the procedures as easy as possible, techs should know how to communicate effectively with their coworkers. Although it may be challenging, this is especially important in high-stress situations, such as during an emergency operation.
Techs often interact directly with patients. They must be receptive to others’ needs to administer top-notch treatment. Empathy and a passion for healthcare can also make a surgical technologist’s job more fulfilling. Taking an interest in their work and having a passion for caregiving can also improve a person’s overall job performance.
Why Do Surgical Technologists Need To Have A Calm Demeanor?
A surgical technologist must be able to stay composed and collected during stressful moments. Operations can be fast-paced yet delicate procedures. Techs have to think clearly in these high-pressure situations to do their jobs well. They should also overcome any squeamishness so they don’t feel bothered or distracted while in surgery.
How Do Surgical Technologists Maintain Their Workspace?
All surgical technologist jobs involve the upkeep of the operating room. Techs are responsible for ensuring every tool used is clean and suitable for surgery. They must cleanse each item before a physician uses it during a procedure. Likewise, all surfaces have to be sterile, as do the gowns, gloves and other coverings that everyone on-staff wears.
Do All Surgical Technologists Do the Same Thing?
Although most surgical technologists carry out similar tasks, their jobs can vary depending on the type of surgeries in which they assist. Each surgeon and their teams typically treat a specific kind of patient with individual health challenges. A tech who is enthusiastic about a particular field of medicine might seek out a job that suits their interests.
For example, a tech who works in the emergency room might deal with patients suffering from traumatic injuries that need treated immediately. Alternatively, one may take an interest in orthopedic procedures such as joint replacements. They can also assist during surgeries on major internal organs like the heart or lungs.
What are Useful Skills for Surgical Technologists?
- In-depth knowledge of the tools and techniques used in surgery
- Attention to detail
- Strong focus and attentiveness to the needs of others
- Good organization skills
- Ability to adapt quickly as scenarios change
- Physical stamina to withstand long operations
What Are the Requirements for Surgical Technologist Jobs?
Those who wish to pursue a surgical technologist career must first get a diploma, certificate or college education. Many vocational schools, community colleges, and some hospitals offer programs like these. They can take several months or up to two years to complete. Most employers prefer applicants have an associate’s degree in surgical technology.
To earn a surgical technologist degree, students enroll in classes on several health-related subjects. Topics can include anatomy, physiology and microbiology. In addition to classroom studies, future techs will learn through training done in supervised clinical settings. There, they can actively participate in the types of work they’ll do after completing their studies.
the Outlook for Surgical Technologist Jobs?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the surgical technologist job market will grow approximately 9 percent from 2018 to 2028. That’s significantly more growth than the average rate expected for all other positions. Those who earn associate’s degrees and other certificates have the best job prospects, according to the BLS.
Surgical technologists are becoming more in-demand as medical technology advances. Surgeries are getting safer, easier and more common. Additionally, the aging population in America is growing, and older folks generally undergo a greater number of operations than those who are younger. These factors have increased the need for healthcare professionals to do those procedures.
How Much Do Surgical Technologists Get Paid?
The median annual pay for a surgical technologist is near $48,000. That’s slightly more than the median wage for other health technologists and technicians. Techs who work in outpatient care centers earn the highest median wage, followed by those employed by hospitals.
Surgical technologists can also receive benefits. A few common perks are:
- Paid vacation and sick days
- Health, dental and vision insurance
- 401(k) retirement fund
What Is A Surgical Technologist's Schedule Like?
Surgical technologist jobs are normally full-time positions. But their schedules may vary, especially if a tech works in emergency surgery. A hospital must have these staffers on-site all hours of the day. Techs may work nights, weekends and holidays. They might also have extended shifts that last longer than the typical eight hours.
Where Can Surgical Technologists Find Jobs?
The vast majority of surgical technologists works in hospitals. Other techs are employees in outpatient care centers or physicians’ offices. Finally, some dental clinics hire these workers to assist surgeons during oral surgeries.
Healthcare facilities all over the country need surgical technologists on their staffs. However, hospitals in large metropolitan areas employ the largest number of techs to serve all of the people who live there.
How Can A Surgical Technologist Grow Their Career?
Earning supplementary certifications can help a current surgical technologist progress in their career. Organizations like the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting and the National Center for Competency Testing require techs to pass an exam to become licensed. They must also regularly enroll in continued learning courses to maintain their certification.
With a bit of additional training, technologists can becom0e surgical assistants. These staffers have many of the same responsibilities, but play a more hands-on role during procedures. If a tech should want to further advance their career in healthcare, they could further continue their education and work as a registered nurse or in a similar position that requires a bachelor’s degree.
What are Alternate Careers for Surgical Technologists?
There are lots of medical professions that use plenty of the same skills that surgical technologists do. Many of these positions demand additional schooling, but prior knowledge of the health sciences is helpful and applicable to all of them.
- Medical laboratory technicians – These healthcare workers collect and test samples of bodily fluids and tissues. They examine the specimens for illnesses and abnormalities with advanced pieces of equipment.
- Medical assistants – Someone who works in one of these positions can do various patient care and administrative tasks in a healthcare facility. They can measure a person’s vital signs, give injections, draw blood and provide assistance to doctors.
- Dental assistants – These employees work with dentists and support them and others on the staff. They administer patient care, organize records, arrange appointments and take x-rays.
Interview with A Surgical Technician
An interview with Tom Kumke, a current surgical technician student at Southwest Florida College.
What campus are you attending?
The Port Charlotte campus.
What’s the nature of the program you’re attending?
I’m in the surgery tech program, it’s an Associates degree program, and I’m half way through.
What is your current career?
I’m in Retail.
Describe a typical day in school for you?
We are just half way, so I’m getting my early classes out of the way. I just started an anatomy and physiology class. Right now a typical day is 4 hours of class lectures, taking quizzes every week, and learning terminology and all the basics.
I’m working hard during the day at work and at school in the evenings. I’ll have some early afternoon classes next semester too.
Are you happy with the training that you received so far?
So far so good.
How long is the program?
It’s 2 years.
What are your favorite classes and why are they your favorite?
I do enjoy anatomy and physiology most. It’s the core of my degree and the teacher does a really good job.
Who is the teacher?
How much did it cost for you to complete the program?
I don’t know exactly. I know they gave me the figure in the beginning, but it was so big I didn’t look at it again. I can say through Pell grants, financial aid, and my employer’s reimbursement, it’s definitely been affordable.
Did you receive any financial aid or scholarships? Which ones? Were these easy to obtain?
I do have financial aid in the form of Pell grants, but the school takes care of all that. They do the paperwork for me. That part has been really easy, however to get reimbursed through my employer at Lowes has been a little more difficult, but they’re really good about it. It’s an excellent program they have.
Do you go to school on a full-time or part-time basis?
Technically ¾, but I consider myself full time. I take an average of 9-12 credits per semester.
Were any of your classes online?
I took one online, career development. It’s an elective but it may be a required elective, they signed me up for it.
Did you consider other programs before going into the surgery tech program?
Not really, I saw some stuff about the program, did some research online, and thought that this sounded like something I wanted to do. Then my wife signed me up and told me I started on Monday.
Why did you choose the one you did?
At age 43, I decided I just thought this was something I might want to do you know, and then my wife decided I should.
What was the most difficult part of the program for you?
Just finding the time. Being a full-time parent and employee, and at the same time just getting used to going back to school. It’s been 25 years of not going back to school. It took a long time before my brain started getting used to listening and remembering things.
Do they offer help for students like you who have been out of school for a long time?
They got a lot of things there that I haven’t taken advantage of.
They have special instruction which is like tutoring, and they have mentoring. I haven’t taken advantage of that because I just think if I can’t get myself to do it, you know, my problem was just getting myself in the right frame of mind. I’ve been a drone employee for the past 25 years. They do have help though.
About how many other students are in your classes?
About 14 to 15 students. It is nice because the teacher has time to do individual interaction. You’re not overwhelmed, and you get to ask questions.
For your particular program, are there any special licenses or certifications that you need to receive before getting a job? If so, what are they and what do they entail?
There is a certification from what I understand. I have to do the test, but they do prepare you for that. From what I understand I should be prepared, and I will hold them to that.
If there were online classes, how was the experience of online versus a classroom setting?
I hate it. I’d much rather be in a classroom where I can interact with the teacher and ask questions, but you know some people love it, the relaxed atmosphere of it.
For me, I prefer to be scheduled. I need that structure to make sure I allot the time so I can treat it like a job and do the work. The other thing of not being able to talk to the instructors is a big thing for me.
Did you feel that you were able to learn as well as you would have in the classroom setting, and would you take one again?
I would take them occasionally depending on the class. I would rather take it online than drive to Fort Myers if they didn’t offer it on my campus, but the more important the instructor is, like with my anatomy class, the more I want to take it in a classroom setting.
I had some bad experiences but I did fine in the end. Overall, I just didn’t care for it and the way it was run.
Would you recommend this school to someone else? Why or why not?
Absolutely. Actually I’ve already recommended it to some of the people I work with. I did it because the programs that they offer are good, if it’s what they’re interested in. The school is well run, and the instructors are very knowledgeable. It’s not just get your degree and get out. They will work with you to find a job and make sure you get all the right certifications, and make sure you stay on track. This is what they told me when I started and then I found it to be true since I’ve been there.