Surgical Tech

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surgical tech certification

Surgical Tech

Career and Education Information for the Surgical Tech
A surgical tech is an allied healthcare professional who works by assisting RN's, anesthesiologists
and physicians with different types of surgical procedures. The tech will help to ensure operating
room and patient safety, in addition to the cleanliness and functionality of surgical instruments.
The education for the tech can be found through certificate or degree programs that train a student on
the correct way to assist surgeons and aide patients during, after and before a surgical procedure.
Certification for this profession is also available; however, it's not a requirement for this position.
Certificate Programs for this Profession
Many colleges, hospitals and vocational schools offer programs for surgical technicians in either
certificate or degree form.
The associate's degree program will take two years to complete and will feature an internship during
the last six months. Courses in this program will include advanced classes in medical terminology,
ethics and microbiology.
The certificate programs that are available will prepare a student to assist a surgeon by teaching
them how to handle and identify surgical instruments such as clamps, scalpels and sutures. Students
can also learn how to prep a patient and manage settings during a surgery. Hands on experience
and coursework will teach a student how to assess and solve operating room issues, communicate
effectively with other halthcare professionals and patients, perform vital and supportive assistance
during a surgery and sterilize equipment.
The participants in this program can obtain experience in a number of surgical facilities such as
orthopedics, cardiothoracic surgery, urology, gynecology, and neurosurgery. These certificate
programs can usually be completed in one to two years.
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Those individuals that apply to tech programs will be required to have a high school diploma,
although there are programs out there that are intended for professionals in the healthcare field that
have an undergraduate degree in applied science, which means stricter enrollment requirements. A
student may need to complete general education courses in math, human anatomy, physiology and
medical terminology in addition to having prior work experience in a volunteer or paid capacity. In
order to be eligible for participation in clinical rotations some schools will require the student to be
drug tested, have a criminal background check performed and have a physical exam.
A tech student can learn about this profession through lab studies, coursework, practical experiences
and lectures. This type of program will require extensive supervised training hours in operating
rooms, in order for the student to observe and apply what they've learned in the classroom in a
realistic setting. Courses for the program will generally include patient care, ethics and law and how
they apply to the healthcare field, microbiology, anesthesia, pharmacology, sterilization and surgical

practices.
During an internship the student will be required to observe surgical techs in action and view
surgeries, room preparation and sterilization procedures. Students will also have the ability to gain
hands on experience by acting as the professional tech's assistant.
Career Outlook and Certification
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for employment for this position are
anticipated to have a 20% growth. Hospitals primarily employ the majority of techs, with the higher
salary for this position being offered at physician offices and out-patient care centers. The salary for
this position will significantly vary and will be based on experience and the techs level of education.
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To become certified in this field you will need to go through an accredited organization, such as the
NBSTSA. In addition to completing a program the tech will generally need to have work experience or
some type of on the job training in order to qualify for taking the exam.
Role and Responsibilities for the Technician
For the technician, the main responsibility will be to maintain and sterilize medical instruments and
equipment and assist surgeons and RN's as needed. Setting up operating rooms and stocking them
with supplies on a daily basis is also part of the daily routine for the tech, in addition to prepping
patients for procedures by shaving them, disinfecting and washing incision sites and escorting
patients to and from an operating room.
During a surgery the tech will keep inventory of the hand instruments and supplies that's used by the
surgeons and nurses. They can also hold retractors, cut sutures, apply dressings and operate
diagnostic or suction equipment. After a procedure the techs restock and clean the room and prep it
for the next patient.
In order to advance in this position, techs can enroll in a six credit course for the sterile processing
technician, which compliments the surg tech program. This course will teach a student the proper
storage methods for medical equipment, inventory, distribution, how to prevent contamination,
infection control and medical terminology. After the course has been completed a student can take an
exam for certification.
License renewal for both of these career fields will require earning continuing education hours
through online study courses, lectures, seminars and workshops.

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