A Surgical Technologist is a critical member of a surgery team, helping with preparation for surgery, assisting during surgery, and cleaning up after surgery. Typically, they work under the supervision of another member of the operation room staff. They may be supervised directly by the surgeon, a registered nurse, or another member of the team. It’s a position of responsibility which is not to be taken lightly. To become an effective member of a operating team requires training, dedication, and focus. You will be in a position to have a tremendously positive impact on the lives of many people. If that is something that sounds appealing then this may be an ideal career for you.
Starting as a Surgical Tech
Before you can be hired as a surgical tech you must complete an accredited training program. There are multiple program options available and can range from 9 months to 2 years, resulting in the ability to obtain an official certification. These training programs focus on areas of medicine specific to surgery and operating procedures. You will begin by learning medical terminology. Then you’ll begin studying different types of surgical procedures, sterilization techniques, and types of tools used in the operating room. Once you have a solid foundation of medical knowledge you will be able to put that knowledge in use in your clinical training. During this phase of training you will work in a hospital, developing valuable experience, preparing you for your first job.
Getting Certified and Types of Certifications
Once you’ve completed your schooling you will want to get certified. Certification is voluntary, but the majority of employers require it from their new employees. The National Board of Surgical Technologist and Surgical Assistants, abbreviated NBSTSA, is one of the common certification boards. After finishing your training you can apply to take the certification exam. Passing their certification exam will allow you to use the professional CST designation. While it’s not mandatory to have a professional designation to get work as an operating room assistant, it is required by most employers.
Once you’ve established yourself within the job field you may find there are subsets of the job which you want to explore. Some of these are only available to people with medical experience, specific training, or specific types of certification.
- Scrub Tech, CST – This is the entry level certification you will hold as you begin your career as a scrub tech.
- Circulating Assistant – This is a specially designated member of the team responsible for preparing items that will be used during surgery.
- Surgical First Assistant – The surgical first plays a larger role during the operation. This position requires additional schooling and typically comes with additional pay.
- Getting Specialized – Specializing in a particular field of surgery can allow you to deepen your knowledge base, increasing your effectiveness as a operating room assistant.
The job of a scrub tech begins before the operation starts and continues after the operation is finished. Among their many responsibilities is preparing the patient for surgery. This can include cleaning and preparing the surgical site, performing patient interviews, reviewing charts, and transporting patients to the surgery room. Once surgery begins the operation assistant must make sure that the proper tools needed are available to ensure that the surgeon can smoothly and effectively perform the surgery. Often time they need to provide an additional pair of hands, holding tools, controlling equipment, or assisting with bandages. Once the operation is completed the job of cleaning up the operation room frequently falls to the scrub tech.
You will enjoy many benefits if you choose to enter this profession, including competitive salary, job security, and multiple schooling options. Given the narrow focus of the job, someone eager to start working, can enroll in a vocational program which can be completed in under 1 year, allowing them to quickly begin working, and earning money, in the medical field.
So what’s next? Well, now that you’ve had the opportunity to get an overview of what this job is all about you can continue reading more in depth about specific areas by following the links below.
- Surgical Technologist Salary – before committing to the job you are probably curious about how much money you can make. Well, we’ll let you know…
- Finding The Right Schools – There are many options for education with over 450 accredited programs in the united states. Find the option that is best for you.
- Getting Your Certification – An important step in your education, typically the culminating achievement of your training program
- Surgical Technologist Jobs – The profession is enjoying a boom with the number of available jobs constantly growing. That doesn’t mean finding a job will be easy. It’s good to know the tricks.
- Surgical Technologist Programs – Which type of program is going to be best for you? We’ll explore some of the more common options available to you, helping you to decide.
- Surgical Technologist Qualifications – Achieving all the necessary qualifications is needed before you can start working. Find out what you’re in for.
- Getting Training – Take a look inside what you can expect to find in your training programs.
- Scrub Tech vs Medical Assistant – You have multiple options when considering professions in the medical field. We take a look at the similarities and differences of two commons ones.
- The Job Description – Read about some of the things you may be expected to do.
- Surgical Technologist Career – Many people dedicate their careers to the profession, but many go on to other areas of medicine. Find out what options could be available to you.
- Preparing Your Resume – Some ideas to get you thinking on the best way to showcase your experience, helping you get hired.
Bureau of Labor Statistics – Surgical Tech information
National Board of Surgical Technologist and Surgical Assisting
Association of Surgical Technologist