Surgical Technician License

When an individual decides to look into becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist, they are likely to encounter terms such as certification and licensure/licensing. To be clear, Surgical Technician License is not correct terminology. Certified Surgical Technologists are unlicensed medical personnel that must operate under the supervision of licensed nurses and physicians. Surgical Technicians receive certification that allows them to work in the field.

Obtaining Surgical Technician Certification

Having established that there is no such thing as a Surgical Technician License, prospective students are likely to be curious as to the process of obtaining Surgical Technician Certification. Simply speaking, one must pass the national exam to become a Certified Surgical Technologist. However, qualify to even take the exam will require a good bit of specialized training from an accredited learning institution.

The amount of time a student will spend training to become a Certified Surgical Technologist will depend on the level of education they wish to complete. Certificate only surgical technician training may be as short as 9 months. Obtaining an Associate’s Degree in surgical technology, on the other hand, generally requires about 24 months for completion.

Surgical Technician Training

Any student wishing to sit for the national exam, whether they desire a certificate, diploma, or degree, must attend classes at a school that is accredited by an acceptable accrediting association. In most cases, this will mean that Certified Surgical Technologist students must enroll in on-campus courses at a local technical school or college. There are a small handful of online courses available. However, students will still have to obtain a certain number of hours of hands-on training, usually by internship, in order to complete the course. The number of hours will depend on which training option was chosen.

Surgical Technician Certificate

Obtaining a training certificate from a school does not automatically make the student a Certified Surgical Technologist; only the exam can provide certification. A certificate from a Surgical Technician school is simply proof that the student has completed the necessary training required to sign up for the exam. This is the minimum level of training one may obtain to work as a Certified Surgical Technologist. It is the least expensive and the fastest, but it may not provide the best leverage when interviewing for Certified Surgical Technologist positions.

Surgical Technician Diploma

A surgical technician diploma is a median option between a certificate and a degree. It takes a bit longer to obtain—about 12 to 15 months—but it gives the recipient additional training that will help them to compete in the Certified Surgical Technologist job market.

Surgical Technician Associate’s Degree

This is the highest level of training a Certified Surgical Technologist can obtain before moving up to Surgical Assistant. Possessing a degree in surgical technology will tell potential employers that the candidate is highly trained, and therefore extremely desirable.

Even though it is impossible to obtain a Surgical Technician License, there are options for higher education available to Certified Surgical Technologist students who wish to utilize it.

Misc Surgical Technologist Information

A Certified Surgical Technologist works under the supervision of various surgical personnel, including the surgeons themselves, registered nurses, and even anesthesiologists. The need for qualified Certified Surgical Technologists is on the rise, owing to an impressive expected growth rate of 25 percent by the year 2018 by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimates.

What is a Certified Surgical Technologist?

A Certified Surgical Technologist is a specially trained technician that assists physicians during surgical procedures. They may prepare the operating room for surgery by sterilizing the room, obtaining the appropriate surgical equipment, and taking inventory of all of the surgical items. They might help to prepare the patient for surgery by cleansing, shaving, and disinfecting the site of the incision. Some Certified Surgical Technologists may keep written documentation of the procedure. Others may restock and clean up the operating room after the surgery. Many Certified Surgical Technologists will do all of these duties and more.

Misc Surgical Technology Job Duties

In addition to those duties detailed above, a Certified Surgical Technologist may be responsible for:

  • Assembling and inspecting surgical equipment, both sterile and non-sterile, to ensure it is functioning properly
  • Transport of the patient to the operating room, including the transfer from the hospital bed to the operating table
  • Observing and recording patients’ vital signs and researching charts for required information
  • Helping scrubbed nurses, surgeons, and other surgical personnel put on their sterile gloves and gowns
  • Perform minor surgical tasks such as cutting sutures and holding retractors
  • Select and give specific surgical tools to the surgeon when asked for
  • Keep a constant inventory of all items in the immediate surgical area so as to ensure no item is inadvertently left inside a patient
  • Handle any specimens or samples taken for analysis in the laboratory and ensure their proper disposal
  • Assist in the application of dressings or bandages
  • Operate select surgical equipment

Certified Surgical Technologist Working Conditions

Certified Surgical Technologists must be able to handle the strain of standing on their feet the entire day. When in surgery, the environment will be cool, brightly lit, and sterile. When performing other misc surgical technology duties, Technologists will encounter conditions like one would expect in any hospital or physician office. A Certified Surgical Technologist will spend much of their time walking, but most of them work a typical 40 hour per week schedule. There will sometimes be risks of exposure to infectious diseases, so it is important that all Certified Surgical Technologist is aware of the proper procedures for protecting themselves against infection.

Becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist

Students must complete an accredited Certified Surgical Technologist training course prior to taking the National Certification Exam. These courses will cover the obvious classes of anatomy, surgical procedures, and microbiology, as well as many other misc surgical technology classes. Programs are available both on campus and online, although the selection of accredited online programs is slim. Anyone interested in becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist should first explore what options for training are available in their area.

Finding Surgical Tech Jobs

As one of the fastest growing employment fields out there, a Certified Surgical Tech job will enjoy many opportunities for obtaining their dream job. Surgical Tech Jobs are high and on the rise, with the majority of them being in hospital settings. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of Surgical Tech Jobs will increase by 25 percent by the year 2018.

Why Are Surgical Tech Jobs on the Rise ?

Advances in technology such as fiber optics and laparoscopic surgery have made many once invasive procedures much less so. As a result, with the proper training, Certified Surgical Technologists are now able to assist and perform some tasks that only a surgeon would have been able to perform with older technology.

The main reason for this impressive surge of Surgical Tech Jobs, however, is the growing population of retirement-aged baby boomers.  This generation is massive, significantly higher than ever before. As older people tend to require more surgical procedures, the need for Certified Surgical Technologists becomes increasingly dire every day.

Where are Surgical Tech Jobs?

Approximately 71 percent of all Surgical Tech Jobs are found in hospital operating and delivery rooms. The other 29 percent are divided among specialty practices, doctors offices, outpatient surgical centers, and in dental offices. Surgical Tech Jobs in specialty offices tend to be the best paying positions, but they are also the most competitive. A Certified Surgical Technologist must be at the top of their game in order to compete in this branch of employment opportunities.

Applying for Surgical Tech Jobs

Every prospective Certified Surgical Technologist employer will have varying application processes, but there are a few things that are fairly universal. To begin, it is important that the candidate possesses the highest level of Certified Surgical Technologist training they can feasibly obtain. Surgical techs with an Associate’s Degree will be more employable than those holding only a certificate.

Second, the Certified Surgical Technologist must be current with their certification. After obtaining certification, it must be renewed every five years. This can be done either by completing continuing education programs and providing the proof to the certification board or by retaking the certification exam. Many Certified Surgical Technologist choose the continued education option because it makes them more marketable for higher paying positions.

Finally, anyone applying for Surgical Tech Jobs must demonstrate why they are the best candidate for the position. It is a good idea to highlight any diplomas, degrees, or awards. A Certified Surgical Technologist may also wish to obtain a letter of recommendation either from their professor or from their previous employer.

Becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist

Before one can even think about applying for Surgical Tech Jobs, the must become a Certified Surgical Technologist. The minimum requirements to do this are to complete a 9-month certification program followed by passing the national exam. Most accredited programs are found at local colleges and technical institutes, but there are a handful of online programs as well. With the online option, an internship will be necessary to get the required hands-on training.

Obtaining A Surgical Technician License

If you are a high school graduate and have some background in medicine, you may be interested in starting a career as a surgical technician. The medical field is continually growing, and surgical technicians play an important role in this growth.

As a surgical technician, you will be required to work right in the operating room with all the other medical personnel. In fact, you are responsible for how well a surgery goes. Right from the beginning from prepping the patient for surgery, to making sure everything in the operating room is clean and sterile, all the way to suturing and applying bandages. A surgical technician must be ready at all times. They must be prepared to answer questions about the patient and they must possess knowledge of the operating room equipment. Therefore, a solid medical background is needed in order to succeed in your job.

There are many schools and universities that offer Surgical Technology programs. The requirements for admittance is generally a high school diploma and some knowledge of general subjects such as Biology, Math, and Writing. Having taken these courses in high school is a plus. You may be required to take an entrance exam so the school can better assess your abilities.

The type of coursework that you can expect to take during your time in school will be made up of lectures, lab work, and hands-on experience. You will be taught how to sterilize instruments, how to handle special drugs and solutions and also how to prevent and stop infections.

Your schooling will probably take up to 2 years to complete, but you will emerge fully prepared for your job ahead. Once you graduate with your degree in Surgical Technology, you will be ready to test for your Surgical Technician License or Certification. Once you pass the exam you must renew your license every 4 years.

As you enter the field of Surgical Technology you will gain knowledge and experience. You can advance by choosing a specialty area of surgery to work in, such as orthopedics or neurosurgery. You can also go back to school and become what’s known as a First Assistant. With more schooling, you are looking at more responsibility and more pay.

The average surgical technician can earn anywhere from $27,000 on the low end to $50,000 on the higher end. It is a very rewarding job that is worth looking into.

Earn A Surgical Technology Diploma

Most schools offer an Associates degree program where you can receive your degree in surgical technology, but there is an alternate route that you can take where you receive a diploma in less time, but you can still be certified as a surgical technician. There are pros and cons for taking this route. A pro is that you can achieve your goal in a shorter period of time, and hence you would save money on your education. A con would be that someone else who has gone on to earn an associates degree would be more qualified for a position and you may, in fact, lose out on job opportunities.

In any event, to qualify for any enrollment you must have a High School diploma. Each school has different steps you must take prior to enrollment. Some may include assessment tests, background checks and/or physical exams.

Once you are enrolled, you must begin with General Education courses. Having a strong background in Math, Science and Writing either on a high school level or introductory college level is beneficial. While most of your training will be hands-on, you must be strong in these areas in order to succeed. Some classes you can expect to take are Intro To Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology and Basic Psychology. Some of the instruments and tools you will be expected to use are sponges and needles. Your job is to make sure everything is sterile and counted for, before and after surgery. You may be required to prep patients, hand tools to doctors during an operation, and clean areas of operation and apply bandages. You will be expected to scrub in and possibly scrub the hands and arms of doctors and assistants. You must be able to use such equipment as electro-surgical tools, staplers, surgical lasers, and surgical suction machines. During your program, you will probably be offered an internship, where you will work hands-on to gain experience.

Although this is generally unpaid, it does count as college credits. Once you complete your program, either for your surgical technology diploma or degree, you are ready to take the National Certification Exam.

The total cost for schooling to earn your diploma is generally under $6,000. although some schools may be significantly more. Your best bet is to shop around for the school that is right for you. This course of study is usually not offered online, so you need to find a school in your area. Good Luck!