Thinking about a career in surgical technology? Here’s a quick guide on how to become a surgical tech in just five easy steps.
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If you want to become a surgical tech, there are a few things you need to do. First, you need to find a surgical tech program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Second, you need to complete an accredited program and earn your surgical tech certification. Finally, you need to keep your certification up-to-date by renewing it every four years. Below are five easy steps that will help you become a surgical tech.
Step One: Research
Becoming a surgical technologist is a great career choice for those who are interested in the medical field but do not want to commit to becoming a doctor or nurse. surgical techs play an important role in the operating room, working alongside surgeons and nurses to ensure that procedures are carried out safely and effectively. If you think this might be the right career for you, here are five easy steps to follow to become a surgical technologist.
Step One: Research
Before you take any steps towards becoming a surgical tech, it is important that you do your research and make sure that this is the right career for you. Take some time to shadow a surgical technologist or speak with one about their job to get a better sense of what the day-to-day work involves. You should also research the education and training requirements, as well as the certification process. Once you are sure that this is the right career for you, you can move on to Step Two.
Step Two: Earn Your high school diploma or Equivalent
The first formal step towards becoming a surgical tech is earning your high school diploma or equivalent. While there are no specific education requirements for surgical technologists, completing high school or earning a GED will give you the basic Math, English, and science skills that you will need for the job. In addition, most employer prefer to hire those with at least a high school diploma or equivalent. If you have not yet completed high school, now is the time to do so.
Step Three: Complete an Accredited Surgical Technology Program
Once you have earned your high school diploma or equivalent, the next step is to complete an accredited surgical technology program. These programs usually take about two years to complete and result in an Associate’s Degree in Surgical Technology. During your program, you will take classes such as human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, microbiology, and Spanish for medical professionals. You will also gain hands-on experience in simulated operating rooms and real-world clinical rotations. Once you have completed an accredited program, you will be eligible to take the national certification exam (more on that in Step Five).
Step Two: Prerequisites
The second step to becoming a surgical tech is completing the necessary prerequisites. Many programs require that applicants have a high school diploma or GED, although some may accept applicants with certain types of work experience in lieu of formal education.
Most surgical tech programs also have a minimum GPA requirement, and some may require prerequisite coursework in subjects like biology and chemistry. The most important prerequisite for becoming a surgical tech, however, is a strong interest in medicine and helping others.
Surgical tech programs typically take about nine months to complete, although some accelerated programs may be completed in as little as six months. During their training, surgical techs learn about human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, infection control, and other important topics. They also gain hands-on experience in the operating room by shadowing experienced surgical techs and performing tasks under the supervision of licensed surgeons.
Step Three: Complete a Surgical Technology Program
Becoming a surgical tech requires completing an accredited surgical technology program. These programs are available at both the associate’s and bachelor’s degree level, though most surgical techs enter the workforce with an associate’s degree.
Surgical technology programs typically take two years to complete and include both classroom and clinical components. Classroom coursework covers topics such as medical terminology, anatomy, and sterilization techniques. Clinical coursework gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in surgical settings.
Many colleges and universities offer prerequisites courses online, which can be beneficial for working adults who need to complete their degree while continuing to work full-time.
Step Four: Obtain Certification
There are two main types of certification for surgical techs: the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential, which is administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), and the Registered Surgical Technologist (RT) credential, which is administered by the American Board of Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC). To be eligible for either examination, candidates must first complete an accredited surgical technology program and pass a criminal background check.
The CST examination is a computer-based test that consists of 200 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as preoperative patient care, intraoperative procedures and postoperative care. The RT examination is a paper-and-pencil test that consists of 175 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as surgical anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, sterilization and disinfection procedures, surgical instruments and equipment, aseptic technique and surgical procedures.
both examinations are offered year-round at testing centers across the country. Candidates can register for either examination online or by mail.
Step Five: Consider Employment Options
Most surgical techs work in hospitals, but there are a number of other employers that may be worth considering. For example, some surgical techs work in outpatient surgery centers, which are usually associated with a hospital but have their own staff and facilities. There are also a number of specialty surgical centers that focus on one type of surgery, such as orthopedics or ophthalmology. These centers usually have their own surgical teams and may be affiliated with a hospital or be entirely independent. Another option to consider is working in a private doctor’s office that performs surgery. These practices usually have one or two surgeons and a small support staff.