How To Become A Surgical Tech

The medical profession offers a wide range of career options for individuals interested in pursuing this field. One of these options is to become a surgical technician also called “surgical technologist” or “scrub tech“. A scrub tech is a vital part of the surgical team. Scrub techs act as assistants to surgeons and carry responsibilities before, during and after a surgical operation. The following provides some fundamental information about this field and what to expect from a career in this area.

Surgical Tech Job Description and Duties

Surgical technologists are much needed members of a surgical team. Surgeons rely heavily upon the assistance of these technicians both before and during surgical procedures. One of the duties of a surgical tech is to set up the operating room before an operation takes place, making sure the room is clean and sterile and all equipment is functioning properly. The tech will also prepare the patient for the operation by making sure he or she has been properly washed and disinfected for the procedure.

During the operation, surgical techs will be on hand to assist surgeons in whatever capacity they need. The type of assistance a surgical tech offers during surgery may depend on his or her level of training and expertise. Basic duties include passing surgical instruments and supplies to the acting surgeon during the operation, helping surgeons change gloves and gowns, checking a patient’s vital signs, etc. Surgical technologists with more advanced training may be asked to suture wounds, apply dressings, cut stitches, etc. Upon completion of the operation, a surgical tech’s responsibilities turn to post-operative duties, i.e. transporting the patient to his or her room for recovery and cleaning and restocking the operating environment for future use.

Individuals interested in becoming surgical tech should ensure they have the qualities that will help them be successful in this field. They should be concerned about people and have the desire to serve others. It is a field that requires a great deal of sacrifice, dedication and commitment to those in need. As they will be working directing with surgeons in an operating room setting, they must be able to handle emergency situations calmly and effectively. They must be able to focus and concentrate on their job, without getting pressured or stressed by the circumstances at hand.

Surgical Tech Training Requirements

Individuals interested in establishing a career as a surgical technician should enroll in a training program that provides them with the education and skills they need. Many accredited colleges and universities offer surgical tech training programs lasting anywhere from several months to two years. Upon completion of these programs, students acquire either a certificate or Associate’s Degree to show they have successfully completed their course. Although it is not required to complete a four year Bachelor Degree to begin a career in this field, students with a BS or advanced training may have a greater edge in advancing in their careers.

Surgical technology training includes a study of anatomy, medical terminology, biology, patient care, sterilization techniques, prevention of infections and more. The training also includes on hands on experience to hone the necessary skills and abilities for this profession. The extent of a student’s education and training will undoubtedly have a direct effect on his or her future prospects for employment. Therefore, it is well worth a student’s time and effort to ensure he or she acquires the best education possible in preparation for a successful career. A surgical technician training program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs will offer students the advanced training they need for their future.

Surgical Technology Schools

Once an individual has chosen surgical technology as his or her field, he or she should begin searching for the appropriate school to receive adequate training. There are many surgical tech schools across the country offering surgical technology training programs. The training is available for both newcomers to this field and to experienced health professionals who want to expand their education and expertise. Accreditation is important when searching for a qualified surgical tech school. Students who graduate from a training program offered by an accredited school will be eligible for certification upon graduation by taking a surgical tech exam.

Another aspect to consider when choosing a surgical tech school is the type of training program being offered. Not all schools are alike when it comes to the content and extent of training received. A more comprehensive program may take longer to complete but students will receive up to date, intensive training that ensures they are qualified for employment upon graduation. In addition to classroom studies, a quality training program will offer opportunities for on the job training and internship.

The following are but a few of some of the top surgical tech schools offering excellent training programs in this profession:

  • American Career College
  • Everest Institute
  • Sanford Brown College
  • Carrington College
  • Colorado Technical University
  • Everest College
  • Brown Mackie College
  • Concorde Career College

Surgical Technologist Certification

Many employers consider certification a sign that a surgical technician is highly qualified for his field. Upon completion of an accredited training program, a surgical tech can become certified by successfully passing a certification exam. There are several boards offering certification for surgical technicians, each with their designated titles. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting enable technicians to earn the title of Certified Surgical Technologist. The National Healthcare Association offers the title of Certified Operating Room and Surgical Technician. The certification generally last for one or two years and then must be renewed.