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Surgical Technologist Salary Factsheet
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How To Obtain Surgical Tech Certification
Interested in starting a career as a surgical technologist? Read on to learn more about surgical technologist certification, as well as what you need to achieve certification in this field. Surgical Technology is one of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that between 2008 and 2018, the demand for surgical technologists will continue to grow by up to 25 percent. With this surge in employment, you may want to consider starting a career in surgical technology; to do that, you have to understand first the importance of surgical tech certification and how this affects your chances of succeeding in this line of work.
The Importance of Surgical Tech Certification
Training is a crucial part in becoming a surgical technician/surgical technologist, but in order to really grow professionally in this career, you need to have surgical technician certification. The Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) highly recommend obtaining proper certification for surgical technicians. This ensures that standards for surgeries and surgical teams (composed of surgeons, anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and certified surgical technologists) are satisfied and maintained.
On a more practical note, a certification will bolster a surgical technologist’s credentials and greatly improve his/her chances of employment. According to BLS, most hospitals and employers favor a surgical tech candidate who is recognized by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). NBSTSA is the national body responsible for awarding certification to qualified surgical techs.
What Do You Need to Achieve Certification?
To become a CST, you need to have the following:
Get your training/education from a surgical technology program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology (ARC-ST). Graduating from an accredited program qualifies you to the national examination for certification.
After completing your training in surgical technology, you can then apply for the national certifying exam which is administered by the NBSTSA to qualifying candidates. Passing the exams will earn successful examinees the title of Certified Surgical Technologist as well as membership in the AST.
Like most professional certifications, a surgical tech certification would require renewal after a set period of time. A certification lasts for four years, after which the certification needs to be renewed through any of these two means:
1. Surgical Tech Continuing Education
To maintain certification, CSTs are encouraged to take up a minimum of 60 hours continuing education units in surgical technology. As usual, the surgical technology program needs to be accredited by the proper accreditation bodies, namely the ARC-ST and the CAAHEP. This option is highly recommended to practicing CSTs who are employed in hospitals, as most hospital employers encourage and support seminars and continuing education programs for their regular employees.
2. Re-certification through Examination
Another way to maintain your certification is to retake the national certifying examination for surgical technologists. This is the best option for CSTs who have been in hiatus or have not been in practice for years.
The field of Surgical Technology is still growing and expanding, and by becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist, you can further increase your chances for employment and professional growth.