A surgical technologist or surgical technician makes sure that the operating room is prepared for the patient, the doctors, and the nurses. The surgical tech's job involves organizing equipment, sterilizing the area, prepping the patient, and collecting and labeling samples during the procedure.
The job of surgical tech is one of the allied health professions, positions that provide support to doctors and nurses. During surgery, the tech assists the medical team in numerous ways, from helping members don their sterile gowns to handing them instruments. An able surgical tech provides structure that allows the team to concentrate on the patient.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for surgical techs will increase around 20 percent over the next decade, in part because of the increased need for surgery among an aging population. Surgical techs work primarily in hospitals, but also find positions in outpatient surgery centers and physician's offices. There are around 93,000 surgical techs currently employed in the United States.
In order to become a surgical tech, a certificate or associate's degree is required. Programs for surgical technologists are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (C.A.A.H.E.P.). This commission, a collaboration between the Association of Surgical Technologists (A.S.T.) and the American College of Surgeons, accredits around 460 programs in schools around the country. The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (A.B.H.E.S.) is another respected agency that accredits surgical programs; they accredit around 60 programs in the United States. Unaccredited programs are offered by some online and technical schools as well.
Surgical techs gain certification through one of three national organizations: the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (N.B.S.T.A.) and the National Center for Competency Testing (N.C.C.T.). In addition to taking an exam, the certification from the N.B.S.T.A. requires either that the tech be a graduate be from either an accredited or a military surgical tech program, or that he has been certified by the N.C.C.T. and has accumulated a certain number of clinical hours. For the N.C.C.T. certification, an applicant must show that he has assisted in at least five types of surgery and he must pass an exam.
While earning credentials may make lead to better job opportunities, only a few states regulate surgical techs, imposing certification and education requirements. The professional organization, the A.S.T., strongly advocates for certification, and requires that its active, voting members pass the N.B.S.T.A. exam.
Earning a certificate as a surgical tech takes a year to a year and a half. There may be some science or healthcare prerequisites for a student to fulfill before she is admitted to a surgical tech program. Upon completing the program, the student is qualified to work as a level I surgical tech. According to the A.S.T., a surgical tech at this level should possess a solid understanding of basic health concepts, be conversant with routines and expectations in five different types of surgery, and participate in continuing education.
Courses at surgical tech schools allow students to become familiar with the human body, procedures for creating a sterile environment and with terminology used during medical procedures.
Students wishing to earn an associate's degree in surgical tech training can expect to spend two to two-and-a-half years in school. A minimum GPA and certain healthcare-related courses, such as biology or medical terminology, are typically required for admission to the surgical tech program.
An associate's degree makes sense for students who intend to return to school for a bachelor's degree. They can often transfer the credit hours they earned to a four-year school, while this is sometimes not possible for the credits taken to earn a certificate. The courses, however, are much the same.
There is no difference in pay between an entry-level surgical tech with an associate's degree and one with a graduate certificate. Both qualify for the ranking of level I surgical tech, the entry-level position in the field. Professional certification and experience are the factors that make the greatest difference in salary and career advancement. In time, the entry-level tech works his way up to the status of proficient practitioner, and then to expert practitioner. While the median salary of surgical techs is a bit less than $40,000, and the starting pay is close to $28,000, those who have worked their way up the employment ladder can earn more. The top 10 percent of salaries in the profession earn around $57,000.
About City College
Since 1984, City College, a private not-for-profit university, has been dedicated to providing a hands-on, practical and relevant college education to students in Florida and online. Our mission is to educate and train students in their chosen major, in preparation for employment in specific career fields. Whether you are a recent high school graduate, an adult thinking about returning to college, or a military veteran seeking a new civilian career, the City College Office of Admissions will help you make the right choice for your unique situation and begin a rewarding new career.
We offer our students an atmosphere of caring and respect. At City College you’re not just a student, you’re family.
We found 273 schools offering surgical technician degree programs in the U.S.
|Albany Technical College||Albany||GA||2444|
|Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute||Albuquerque||NM||17265|
|American Center for Technical Arts and Sciences||Philadelphia||PA||217|
|Anoka Technical College||Anoka||MN||2046|
|Ashland Technical College||Ashland||KY||503|
|Athens Technical College||Athens||GA||2747|
|Augusta Technical College||Augusta||GA||3265|
|Austin Community College||Austin||TX||25735|
|Autry Technology Center||Enid||OK||208|
|Baker College of Cadillac||Cadillac||MI||864|
|Baker College of Clinton Township||Clinton Township||MI||2559|
|Baker College of Flint||Flint||MI||3896|
|Baker College of Jackson||Jackson||MI||1027|
|Baker College of Muskegon||Muskegon||MI||2727|
|Baltimore City Community College||Baltimore||MD||5883|
|Baptist Health Schools of Nursing and Allied Health||Little Rock||AR||567|
|Baptist Health System School of Health Professions||San Antonio||TX||282|
|Bergen Community College||Paramus||NJ||11993|
|Bevill State Community College||Sumiton||AL||3558|
|Blue Ridge Community College||Flat Rock||NC||1826|
|Boise State University||Boise||ID||16287|
|Bossier Parish Community College||Bossier City||LA||4332|
|Bowling Green Technical College||Bowling Green||KY||854|
|Brevard Community College||Cocoa||FL||13265|
|Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing||Bridgeport||CT||119|
|Bunker Hill Community College||Boston||MA||6385|
|Cabarrus College of Health Sciences||Concord||NC||259|
|California Business Institute||El Monte||CA||398|
|California Paramedical and Technical College||Long Beach||CA||169|
|Cambridge College - Aurora||Aurora||CO||426|
|Canadian Valley Technology Center||El Reno||OK||198|
|Career Centers of Texas - El Paso||El Paso||TX||883|
|Carolinas College of Health Sciences||Charlotte||NC||226|
|Carver Career Center||Charleston||WV||212|
|Catawba Valley Community College||Hickory||NC||3731|
|Central Carolina Technical College||Sumter||SC||2546|
|Central Florida Community College||Ocala||FL||5230|
|Central Georgia Technical College||Macon||GA||3787|
|Central Kentucky Technical College||Lexington||KY||1501|
|Central Wyoming College||Riverton||WY||1644|
|Chattahoochee Technical College||Marietta||GA||3287|
|Chesapeake College||Wye Mills||MD||2186|
|Choffin Career and Technical Center||Youngstown||OH||453|
|Cincinnati State Technical and Community College||Cincinnati||OH||6675|
|Cisco Junior College||Cisco||TX||2642|
|Clover Park Technical College||Lakewood||WA||7921|
|Coastal Carolina Community College||Jacksonville||NC||3780|
|Coastal Georgia Community College||Brunswick||GA||1912|
|College of Dupage||Glen Ellyn||IL||28862|
|College of Southern Idaho||Twin Falls||ID||5452|
|Columbia Area Vocational Technical School||Columbia||MO||111|
|Columbus State Community College||Columbus||OH||18094|
|Columbus Technical College||Columbus||GA||1754|
|Community College of Allegheny County||Pittsburgh||PA||15556|
|Community College of Denver||Denver||CO||6635|
|Community College of the Air Force||Montgomery||AL||378162|
|Concorde Career College||North Hollywood||CA||444|
|Concorde Career Institute||Aurora||CO||321|
|Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital||Johnstown||PA||68|
|Connelley Technical Institute and Adult Educ Ctr||Pittsburgh||PA||191|
|Cumberland Valley Technical College||Pineville||KY||516|
|D G Erwin Technical Center||Tampa||FL||853|
|Daytona Beach Community College||Daytona Beach||FL||10420|
|Dekalb Technical College||Clarkston||GA||3315|
|Del Mar College||Corpus Christi||TX||9936|
|Delaware County Community College||Media||PA||8943|
|Delgado Community College||New Orleans||LA||12784|
|Delta College||University Center||MI||9358|
|Durham Technical Community College||Durham||NC||4915|
|East Central Community College||Decatur||MS||2291|
|Eastern Idaho Technical College||Idaho Falls||ID||595|
|Eastern Virginia Medical School||Norfolk||VA||699|
|Edgecombe Community College||Tarboro||NC||1877|
|El Centro College||Dallas||TX||4333|
|El Paso Community College||El Paso||TX||18001|
|Elgin Community College||Elgin||IL||10174|
|Everest College - Merrillville||Merrillville||IN||85|
|Fayetteville Technical Community College||Fayetteville||NC||8310|
|Flint River Technical College||Thomaston||GA||605|
|Florence - Darlington Technical College||Florence||SC||3814|
|Florida Community College at Jacksonville||Jacksonville||FL||20838|
|Frederick Community College||Frederick||MD||4343|
|Gallia Jackson Vinton Joint Vocational School District||Rio Grande||OH||355|
|Gateway Community College||Phoenix||AZ||7895|
|Gateway Technical College||Kenosha||WI||5741|
|Georgia Medical Institute - Marietta Campus||Marietta||GA||288|
|Georgia Perimeter College||Decatur||GA||13708|
|Glendale Career Schools||Glendale||CA||1128|
|Great Lakes Institute of Technology||Erie||PA||277|
|Great Plains Technology Center||Lawton||OK||234|
|Greenville Technical College||Greenville||SC||10786|
|Guilford Technical Community College||Jamestown||NC||8008|
|Gwinnett Technical College||Lawrenceville||GA||4814|
|Harry M Ayers State Technical College||Anniston||AL||1112|
|Henry Ford Community College||Dearborn||MI||12742|
|High - Tech Institute - Orlando||Orlando||FL||453|
|High - Tech Institute - Sacramento||Sacramento||CA||338|
|Hinds Community College||Raymond||MS||16032|