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Surgical Technologist Salary Factsheet
Schools & Colleges
Education & Training
Surgical Assistant Schools & Training Programs
Surgical assistants have a very important role in surgical teams. Their job is highly responsible, but also appreciated and financially rewarding. If one is interested in the field of surgical technology, he/she should certainly consider the surgical first assistant profession.
Surgical First Assistant Job Description
Surgical first assistants have numerous duties. They advice the patients and explain them everything concerning the operation that is to be performed. They also determine the surgical equipment that is to be used during the surgery and they position the patient suitably for the surgery. During the operation, they have more significant responsibilities. Surgical assistants follow the instructions for the surgeon and usually insert drainage tubes, dissect arteries, assist with the closure etc.
It is very important that the surgical assistant is calm and fully concentrated during the surgery and it will certainly be very beneficial for the operation and the patient if he/she can anticipate the surgeon’s needs and requests.
Surgical assistants work in operating rooms, which are a cool and wee-lighted working environment. But, they should be able to stand the whole time while the surgery is being performed and should handle stressful and unpleasant situations well. Surgical assistants usually work 40 hours a week, but because of the unpredictable character of this profession, they should often work overtime, night shifts or on weekends and holidays.
How to Become a Surgical Assistant?
In order to become a surgical assistant, one must complete a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). These surgical assistant programs are mostly offered by universities, usually take between 12 and 22 months to complete and have strongly established prerequisites. One must either have a Bachelor’s degree in allied health and nursing, or an Associate’s degree and minimum three years working experience in an operating room in order to enrol in such a program. Military medical training is also acceptable. The candidates must be certified for CPR and they should have taken all the necessary vaccinations. They must also have a firm knowledge in the following fields:
- Human anatomy
- Aseptic techniques
- Surgical techniques
- Medical terminology
The usual curriculum in surgical assistant schools includes advanced courses in the following areas:
- Anaesthesia techniques
- Surgical pathophysiology
- Complications during surgeries etc.
Surgical Assistant Certification
Completing an accredited surgical assistant program makes one eligible for national certification. The National Surgical Assistant Association (NSAA) is the professional organization of surgical assistants. It offers the Certified Surgical Assistant (CSA) examination. This certification should be renewed every two years, by completing 50 continuing education classes and paying the necessary fees. There are benefits for NSAA members concerning the fees and the deadline for paying them and submitting the documentation needed for recertification.
Starting Surgical First Assistant Salary Information
This job offers financial satisfaction. According to the National Surgical Assistant Association, the average starting surgical assistant salary is approximately $55 000 per year. The average annual income of surgical assistants is around $75 000, whereas the best paid surgical assistants can earn more than $120 000.
Job Outlook and Career Advancement
This field is expected to grow significantly, so there will be more employment opportunities for surgical assistants. Hospitals are the primary employers of surgical assistants and this is not expected to change in near future. However, there are a certain number of surgical assistants that are self-employed.
The career advancement for surgical assistants usually means getting a job in an environment different than a hospital, such as insurance companies, sterile supply services, surgical instruments companies etc. However, an experienced and educated surgical assistant could also become a supervisor of other surgical assistants.
The surgical first assistant is a prosperous and fulfilling job. Because of its significance and the responsibilities it brings, it requires a thorough training, but this certainly is a worthy investment.