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Surgical Technologist Salary Factsheet
Schools & Colleges
Education & Training
Surgical Tech Training Facts
This guide provides information on training for surgical technicians: the types of training, competencies and skills involved in their training, and the importance of accredited surgical technologist training programs. Surgical technologists are allied medical professionals who work closely with surgeons and the surgical team prior to, during, and after surgical operations. People who train to become surgical techs undergo training and education through any of the following means:
- Diploma or Certificate from Surgical Tech Training Program
- Associate’s Degree in Surgical Technology
Regardless of the type of training, the program should be duly accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology (ARC-ST). All accredited surgical tech training programs have two components: the classroom education and the supervised clinical instruction. Especially crucial is the clinical experience since this prepares the students for the real world application of all the theoretical and practical instruction they received thru modules, lectures, and class discussions.
As well, requirements to enroll for surgical tech training are basically the same regardless of the type of training. The Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) lists the basic requirements which include:
- High School Diploma or its GED equivalent
- Must pass any of the following: pre-admission examination for healthcare professionals OR the ACT.
When the board deems it necessary, the completion of some prerequisite courses is required. This is to ensure that the applicant has a good understanding of the basics of biology and chemistry which are helpful in the actual Surgical Technology course.
What do Surgical Techs Train For?
According to the Occupational Information Network, surgical technologists are trained for the following:
Knowledge of health and medicine (common symptoms of major diseases, medical processes that aid in making correct diagnosis, drugs and their properties, and preventive health measures, among others); public safety and security (proper operation of medical equipments, proper disposal of used, surgical supplies, sterilization of the operating room, etc.), and patient care and service (assessment of patient needs, taking patient information, and evaluation of services provided to hospital clients);
Skills in monitoring, coordination, and technical operation of medical and surgical equipments and devices; and
Abilities such as manual dexterity, focus and selective attention, teamwork and cooperation, and problem sensitivity.
These are the core competencies of a successful surgical tech. Accredited surgical tech programs help students prepare for their coming role by offering the following curriculum:
- Medical Terminology
- Surgical pharmacology, including anesthesia techniques
- Surgical equipments, supplies, and instruments, etc.
Also crucial are the following courses which focus on surgical procedures and which may be offered with clinical exposure and instruction:
- General surgery
- Specialized surgeries (ophthalmic, plastic/reconstructive, obstetric and gynecologic, orthopedic, neurosurgery, etc.)
- Classification of wounds and their proper handling and treatment
- Postoperative healthcare (patient care after surgery, monitoring for complications, and prognosis)
Other courses also include legal, moral and ethical issues (a staple in the study of medicine), hospital environment safety standards, patient care, effective communication, and professional conduct and behavior skills.
Surgical tech is an exciting field in the allied medical profession, and an understanding of what surgical tech training entails clearly shows how crucial surgical techs are in the operating room. The extent of their training and background are a big advantage in every surgery.