How To Become a Surgical Tech

The field of surgical technology is expected to grow significantly, so it is good to be informed about the jobs of a surgical technologist and a first surgical assistant. A surgical tech is a vital part of the medical team working in operating rooms in hospitals. Surgical techs are also called surgical technicians or surgical technologists. The responsibilities of a surgical technician include sterilization of the instruments that are to be used during the surgery, providing suitable conditions in the operating room, making all the necessary preparations so that the patients would be ready for the operation, as well as following surgeons’ instructions, pass instruments and monitor the condition of the patient and his/her vital signs while the surgery is being performed.

How to become a surgical tech?

If one is wondering about how to become a surgical technician, he/she should know that the career of a successful surgical tech begins with proper training. One can gain the knowledge necessary for starting his/her surgical tech career by completing a suitable program. There are many types of such programs, offered by colleges on campus or online, varying by duration and type of title they provide. For example, programs that take up to a year to complete will provide the candidate a diploma or a certificate. Although these programs are beneficial for one’s skills and knowledge, it is recommended that one attends an accredited program providing an Associate’s degree, which usually takes up to two years to complete. This is the preferred educational background for entering this profession.

What is a first assistant surgical technologist?

The American College of Surgeons defines first surgical assistants as medical professionals who provide aid in exposure, hemostasis, closure and other functions that will help the surgeon carry out the operation safely and successfully. They have various duties, some of which are similar to the responsibilities of a surgical technician, including many obligations before and after the surgery in order to facilitate optimal conditions for the patient. But, they provide more significant assistance during surgeries under the surgeon’s supervision and instruction.

How to become a first assistant surgical technologist?

One can become a first assistant surgical technologist by completing the necessary education - an accredited surgical assistant program, which takes up between 10 and 22 months to complete. These programs require either a Bachelor’s degree or an Associate’s degree and at least three years working experience.

Surgical Technician Education Choices

After one obtains an Associate’s degree in surgical technology accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educated Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), he/she can qualify for the national certification. This is the highest credential in this profession and many hospitals hire only certified surgical technologists. There are two types of surgical tech certification:

  • The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) offers the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) examination, and
  • The National Centre for Competency Testing (NCCT) offers an examination which provides the title of Tech in Surgery – Certified (TS-C).

The CST certification should be renewed every four years, whereas the TS-C should be renewed every five years. The renewal can be achieved by re-examination or continuing education.

The National Surgical Assistant Association (NSAA) offers the Certified Surgical Assistant (CSA) examination. This certification for surgical assistants should be renewed every two years, which is achieved by obtaining 50 continuing education units.

How About The Surgical Technician Starting Salaries

These professions are generally financially satisfying.

The starting salary for a surgical tech, according to the Bureau for Labour Statistics, is approximately $24,000, whereas the average surgery tech salary is around $40,000. The Association of Surgical Technologists estimates the average surgical tech salary on $37,540 per year.

First surgical assistants are better paid. According to the National Surgical Assistant Association, surgical assistants have a starting salary of $55,000. Their average annual income is $75,000 and the highest surgical assistant salaries can reach over $120,000 per year.

Every individual attracted to this field should know that these jobs are very prosperous, satisfying and fulfilling.

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