How to Become a Surgical Technician

You may think of an operating room as a bloody mess because of what goes on in there, but in reality, it is one of the cleanest, most sanitized places you can think of.

With the help of maintenance crew and under the supervision of registered nurses and surgeons, Surgical Technicians make sure the operating room is set and ready to go before an operation.

They also play an important role during a surgical procedure.

Also referred to as “Scrubs” or “Operating Room” Technicians, the Surgical Technician’s job is necessary in order to ward off infections and accidents in the surgery room before and during an operation.

Every time an operation is scheduled, a Surgical Technician is involved in making sure all operations go off without a hitch.

Their responsibilities include preparing and making sure the room is sterile and fully stocked with surgical equipment before any patient steps into the operating room for a scheduled procedure.

Surgical Technicians are also in charge of prepping and sterilizing the tools needed for an operation and replacing or fixing any faulty equipment.

Education Requirements to Become a Surgical Technician

Employers prefer to hire Surgical Technicians that have gone through training and who have acquired certification.

Candidates who want to become a Surgical Technician can follow several routes in their quest to certification.

Those who want to become a Surgical Technician can attend one of the 450 accredited schools that offer Surgical Technician training programs.

The length of a program depends on the student’s desire to solely seek certification or an Associate’s Degree; the total length is usually between 9 to 24 months.

If taking the Associate’s Degree path, students take a variety of medical related classes and receive training that teaches surgical procedures, sterilization of medical instruments, how to handle surgical instruments and the necessary steps to prevent infections.

After completing a training program, candidates then need to seek certification in order to become a Surgical Technician.

There are a couple of ways someone can get certified.

The first to become a Surgical Technician is by attending a program at an accredited school and then take a national certification exam.

This certification is granted by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.

In order to maintain certification, a Surgical Technician needs to take at least 60 hours of continuing education over a four year span or retake the certification exam every four years.

Another way to get certified to become a Surgical Technician is passing a certification exam recognized by the National Center for Competency Training (NCCT).

Candidates need to first qualify to take the certification exam.

They can qualify to take the NCCT exam by following one of three paths: finish a training program at an accredited school, two years of on the job training at a hospital or have seven years of experience in the same field.

Certification needs to be renewed every five years either by retaking the exam or fulfilling continuing education requirements.

Surgical Technician Job Description

The Surgical Technician works in a sterilized environment and is responsible for several things in preparation, during and after a surgery.

Some of those responsibilities include the following:

  • Prepare the surgery room for use.
  • Sterilize the operating room and other essential equipment needed to perform medical procedures.
  • Ensure all equipment is functioning properly.
  • Prepare patient for surgery by bathing; shaving body parts that need to be accessed and disinfecting areas on the body where incisions will be made.
  • Assist surgical team during an operation: pass required equipment and tools to surgeons when needed.
  • Oversee the cleaning and preparation of operating room after surgeries.

Surgical Technician Salary and Career Path

The medical industry is one of the healthiest nowadays and is expected to grow throughout the next decade.

Because of this growth, the demand for Surgical Technicians looks promising.

Surgical Technicians have better opportunities if they are certified and are willing to relocate to places where there is higher need for them.

Salary depends on the location and the industry Surgical Technicians get into.

On the low end, candidates should expect to start off making an average of $ 25,500; Surgical Technicians can earn up to $51,000 after several years of experience.

Industries in which candidates can expect to earn more include working in Hospitals, Dental Offices, Physician Offices and Outpatient Centers.

Surgical Technicians follow state mandated procedures to make sure a patient leaves an operation with a lowered risk of infection.

Their job is important in the first few steps the patient makes towards recovery after surgery.

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