The growing importance of the American healthcare sector has resulted in a vast expansion of available healthcare careers. Due to the increase in elective and non-elective surgeries, surgical technicians have become increasingly important when it comes to providing high quality healthcare to the American people.
With a promising job outlook in terms of career openings and salary options, becoming a surgical technician can be an excellent career decision.
Surgical technicians, sometimes known as “scrubs,” assist surgeons, anesthesiologists and other medical personnel before, during and after a surgical procedure. Working as a surgical technician requires the ability to function under pressure, to effectively communicate with the surgical team, to follow instructions exactly and to behave in a professional manner at all times.
Among the most common duties of a surgical technician are the following:
• Preparing the operating room for use, including cleaning the room and ensuring that it is in a sterile condition.
• Preparing the tools and supplies for the operation.
• Transporting the patient to the operating room.
• Before the surgery, the surgical tech will assist in positioning the patient for the operation.
• The surgical technician will pass tools and materials to the surgeon.
• After the operation, the technician will move the patient back to his or her room.
• Finally, surgical technicians will clean the operating room in order to prepare it for the next surgery.
Surgical technicians have a variety of resources that can help them become an effective technologist. These include accreditation services for surgical tech programs as well as professional licensing and credentialing programs to improve the qualifications of new and experienced surgical techs alike.
A surgical technician requires a firm backing in biology, math and other sciences. Individuals interested in becoming a surgical tech should be certain to focus on these subjects in high school and consult with their school’s career counselor in order to choose the proper classes. Finally, some high schools offer work experience programs that may assist the student in preparing for a career in surgical technology.
Surgical technician programs are currently accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The CAAHEP ensures that all accredited programs have complied with strict professional guidelines involving the nature of the curriculum and the qualifications of the program’s instructors. By attending an accredited school, a surgical technician can radically improve his or her qualifications. In those states that require surgical technicians to be licensed, attending an accredited program may be required by state law.
While few states require certification, becoming a certified surgical tech demonstrates that the technician is a highly skilled professional. Many organizations require technicians to be certified and even when certification is not required, certified surgical techs enjoy superior career and salary opportunities.
Certification normally requires that the surgical tech complete an accredited technology program, and then pass a comprehensive examination that will evaluate the technician’s academic and practical surgical technology skills. In addition, the surgical tech must remain up to date with the field of surgical technology by taking approved continuing education courses in order to renew his or her certification.
Currently, three groups provide certification for qualified surgical technicians:
In most cases, any one of the three certifications can be used by a surgical technician and becoming certified with all three bodies is not required. However, surgical techs who are intending to work at a specific establishment should discuss their certification with their superiors to help them determine which organization to obtain certification from.
Finally, there are a number of state and federal surgical technologist organizations that provide a wide variety of services to their members. Most surgical technicians should strongly consider joining the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), which is a national professional association and advocacy group that can keep the surgical tech informed of important laws and other issues that might impact his or her career.
Whether the individual is preparing to enter a surgical technology program or is already an experienced surgical technologist, there are many resources that can help them in their career. By taking advantage of all possible resources, the surgical technician can drastically improve his or her career and salary options.
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