Becoming a Surgical Tech in the State of California
In today’s economy, becoming a surgical technician can be a very wise career decision. This career is open to both newly graduated students and those individuals who have decided the time has come to transition from some other job in order to improve their professional standing.
With a growing demand for trained medical personnel, the long-term career prospects for surgical technicians will continue to improve in terms of salary and stability alike.
In order to become a surgical technician, the candidate must successfully complete a surgical technologists program. There are a number of surgical tech schools in California, ranging from community colleges to vocational training institutions. Entering these programs requires that the student have a high school diploma or a graduate equivalency diploma (GED).
Over the course of his or her studies, the student will receive training in the following areas:
The duration of a surgical technology program can vary depending on the school and the schedule of the student. A full-time program can take anywhere from several months to two years to complete. Many institutions offer part-time programs, including weekend and evening classes, for individuals who are currently working or otherwise unable to attending during regular school hours.
In addition, online courses are available at some schools, allowing the student to study at his or her own pace. In addition, online classes allow individuals who cannot easily attend in person to continue their studies from home.
When planning to attend surgical tech schools in California, in cities like San Diego, a potential student should ensure that they are properly accredited. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) has provided accreditation services since 2010, ensuring that all accredited schools adhere to the highest professional standards. Many employers consider attending an accredited program mandatory for their workers, so it is important that the student verify that the school is currently accredited by checking with CAAHEP.
While not mandatory in California, becoming a certified surgical technologist can improve the career prospects of a surgical tech. Becoming certified requires that the surgical tech successfully complete an accredited program, after which he or she will take a comprehensive exam what demonstrates the tech’s professional and academic skills. Currently, certification is offered by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), National Board of Surgical Technology (NBST), and the National Healthcare Association (NHA).
Certified surgical techs are generally capable of commanding higher salaries, and are also hired in preference to non-certified candidates.
Some organizations will only consider a certified surgical tech for certain duties, such as assisting in specialized operations. In addition, some states require certification for all surgical techs, so individuals considering moving to another state should verify what that state’s professional licensing requirements are.
California has a large and dynamic healthcare sector, which has resulted in an increased demand for qualified surgical technicians. With the continuing rise in the number of elective surgeries, in addition in a continuing emphasis on quality health care for the elderly, the state’s healthcare sector is likely to continue growing for the foreseeable future.
For surgical technicians, there are a wide variety of job positions available, with varying salaries and duties. Employers focusing on elective surgeries will have regular employment schedules, while hospitals and other institutions that operate on a 24-hour basis will have a need for a larger number of surgical technicians to cover all shifts.
Among the common careers a surgical technician can find in California are the following:
In all of these cases, a surgical technician will become a valued part of the medical team, assisting his or her colleagues in providing the best possible care for their patients.
The surgical technician’s profession is currently growing at a rate of approximately 19 percent through 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS). Combined with the retirement of older technicians the establishment of new hospitals and clinics will ensure that newly graduated and experienced technicians alike will have a growing number of job opportunities in California.
Additionally, surgical technicians are well compensated compared to other careers with equivalent professional requirements. The median salary for a surgical tech is over $39,000. Some fields, such as outpatient care centers, provide a higher wage to the surgical tech. Finally, given their training and experience, a surgical tech can decide to transition to other medical specialties in order to advance his or her career.
The field of surgical technology is a highly respected part of the healthcare sector. Whether as a member of a hospital surgical team, or an assistant in a dental surgery clinic, the surgical technician provides a vital service to society.
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