Becoming a Colorado Surgical Tech
In today’s medical field, surgeries, both elective and non-elective have become increasingly common. Whether it is a lifesaving emergency surgery performed at a trauma care center, or a minor surgical procedure that occurs in the doctor’s office, the number and types of surgical procedures continue to increase.
This has resulted in a growing demand for surgical technologists to support the surgeon and other professionals inside and outside of the surgery.
The Duties of the Surgical Technician
A surgical technician assists the surgeon, nurses and other personnel during all stages of the surgery. Their duties commonly include the following:
- Transporting the patient to the surgical theatre, and there positioning the patient so that the surgeon is best able to operate. This may include assisting with clamping the patient’s body into a certain position, requiring great precision on the part of the tech.
- Preparing the patient for surgery by cleaning and marking incision points. This is especially important, as incision areas must be completely sterile to avoid the danger of infection.
- Sterilizing and preparing medical equipment such as scalpels and sterile dressings.
- During the surgical procedure, assisting the surgeon by providing needed instruments and supplies.
- After the surgery, the technician will assist in transporting the patient back to their room or a recovery ward. Additionally, the surgical tech will work to clean and prepare the operating room for the next surgical procedure.
Surgical technicians must be capable of quickly and accurately following instructions from the surgeon and other medical personnel. In addition, they must be able to accurately communicate with their fellow professionals, especially during time critical operations.
Surgical technicians who are working in emergency rooms or trauma care centers must be capable of carrying out their duties calmly even during emergencies. Finally, they must be professional and courteous, especially when dealing with patients and their families.
Becoming a Surgical Tech
In order to become a skilled surgical technician, the student must attend a program focusing in surgical technology. These programs are offered by community colleges as well as vocational schools. Only surgical tech schools in Colorado that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) should be considered. CAAHEP ensures that the program maintains the highest educational standards and is fully up to date with the current practice of surgical technology.
In most cases, these programs take about two years to complete. However, there are a number of other options available to students. Part-time and online programs allow students to study at their own pace and even take classes from home. This is especially useful for students who are currently working or caring for a family.
Becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist
Becoming a certified surgical technologist can radically improve the individual’s career options. There are several different programs that can allow this, all of which are nationally recognized. In most cases, becoming a technologist will involve taking an exam to demonstrate the individual’s skill, proof of graduation from a CAAHEP accredited program, and in some cases, work experience as a surgical technologist. In addition, certified surgical techs must renew their certification on a regular basis by demonstrating that they have taken continuing education courses to remain current with the state of their profession.
The three certifying agencies are:
- The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.
- The National Center for Competency Testing.
- The National Healthcare Association.
Licensure in Colorado
Colorado does not require the surgical tech to have any specific training or certification, but it does require that any individual serving primarily as a surgical technician be registered with the state. However, many organizations will only hire surgical technicians who have completed accredited programs, or in some cases only certified technicians. A certified surgical technician will definitely enjoy better career options than non-certified techs, for example.
The Professional Outlook for Surgical Techs
Surgical techs currently enjoy a bright professional outlook. With the rise of outpatient clinics and urgent care centers, surgical technicians have a wide range of potential employers.
Those wishing to work in a traditional hospital setting will find that surgical procedures remain a major component of modern medicine, requiring highly trained technicians in the operating room.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that by 2020 there will be over 110,000 surgical technicians in the United States. The median salary of over $39,000 compares favorably with other professions requiring similar levels of education and training.
Whether for a currently working individual seeking to transfer to a more rewarding career or for a newly graduated student, becoming a surgical technician offers a well-regarded and secure career. With its excellent salary and advancement options, this profession can be an excellent career choice in today’s economy.