There’s a large variety of professionals that work in the healthcare system.
One of the most delicate and challenging environments in the area is the Operating Room, where surgeries are performed.
There, you can find not only Surgeons but also Nurses, Anesthetists, the Surgeon’s Assistant, and Surgical Technologists, commonly known as Surgical Technicians.
In the next few sections, we’ll focus on these professionals, what they do, how you can become one, and how much that costs.
Table of Contents
What Is a Surgical Technician?
A Surgical Technician or a Surgical Technologist is a professional that provides assistance in the Operating Room (OR) to other healthcare professionals.
Among their main responsibilities is to sterilize instruments and other medical equipment, prepare the OR, bring the patient to the OR and prepare the patient for surgery by disinfecting the incision site, work along with the surgeon by passing them instruments or supplies, taking patients to a recovery area after the surgery and make sure the OR is sterile and restocked.
Where Can a Surgical Technician Work?
Most Surgical Technicians work in hospital or clinical settings since they must be where surgeries are performed.
However, they can also work in dental offices and the military.
Should I Become a Surgical Technician?
Not everyone is going to have the proper skills to become a Surgical Technician.
Keep in mind that even though you won’t be performing the surgery, for instance, you will still have a great responsibility while in the Operating Room, not only towards the patient but also towards your fellow healthcare professionals.
It’s your responsibility that the equipment is ready to use, sterilized, prevent and detect any sources of contamination, be exceptionally organized and attentive to what the medical team might require, and be able to do this under a highly challenging environment.
What Do I Need to Become a Surgical Technician?
If you want to become a Surgical Technician you will need to obtain a higher education degree, such as a diploma, a certificate, or an Associate’s degree, and then apply and pass one of the available exams in the area to get the certification.
This is one of the most common ways to gain the required knowledge to become a Surgical Technician.
You will need to enroll in a Surgical Technology Program that can usually be offered in community colleges, vocational schools, hospitals, the military, and universities.
In these programs, you will acquire theoretical knowledge and also gain experience by working in clinical settings.
After earning your degree in a Surgical Technology Program, you will have to apply to get the certification as a Surgical Technician.
There are two associations where you can do this, the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).
In both, you will have to first submit your application and then pass their exam in order to become a certified Surgical Technician.
Although it might be allowed to work without a certification, it is recommended to have one, since most employers prefer to hire Surgical Technicians that have obtained certification.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Surgical Technician?
The time it takes to become a Surgical Technician is going to vary according to the type of degree you want to pursue and the institution where you want to study.
But most Surgical Technological programs last between 12 months and 2 years.
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Surgical Technician?
The total cost of becoming a Surgical Technician will mostly depend on the city where you live and the type of institution where you want to obtain your degree.
You can expect to pay between $5,000 and $25,000 for a Surgical Technician program in most community colleges, yet there are other colleges and universities where you could pay from $17,000 to $40,000 for the program.
The Certified Surgical Technologist Examination (CST-ERC) provided by the NBSTSA costs $190 for AST (Association of Surgical Technologists) members and $290 for non-members.
If you decide to take the TS-C (Tech in Surgery – Certified) of the NCCT, you can pay from $155 to $195, depending on your experience and academic credentials.