Surgical medicine is rapidly becoming one of the most specialized categories in the health care industry. Thousands of opportunities now exist for qualified surgical techs and surgical assistants. Training to become a licensed, certified surgical technician is available at several Dallas area community colleges and vocational schools.
The primary duties of the surgical assistant include preparation of the operating room, sterilizing and laying out the instruments needed to perform the medical procedure, and recording patient information. These jobs require an advanced training program that involves class lectures, laboratory work, and research into the field of nursing and patient care.
Surgical techs perform invaluable services for the hospital or clinic. The vast number of health care facilities in and around Dallas, Texas provide excellent opportunities for the newly graduated student to find suitable employment.
These clinics and health care centers are staffed with trained physicians who perform both exploratory and repair surgery, and the doctors depend on the services of qualified assistants both during and after the procedure. Most job opportunities for surgical technicians stipulate that the successful candidate will have earned either a diploma or degree from an accredited institution of learning.
Specialized courses for students are packaged in a way that will cover not only the basics of health care but also train individuals in the preparation of instruments and the use of medical terminology.
Most of the technical schools and community colleges in Dallas and surrounding communities have nursing programs and pre-med coursework designed to give students an overview of the medical field as well as provide many of the required credits for a degree program. However, a limited number of schools have a complete surgical technology course. Learning to become a surgical assistant involves a one- or two-year commitment to a series of core courses, many hours of laboratory work, and a set of research assignments.
Upon completion of the required coursework, students are awarded a diploma and the opportunity for licensure and certification. Most of the schools in the Dallas area that offer programs for surgical assistants have an Associate’s degree program that can be tailored to meet the desires of the student and his/her job expectations.
The High-Tech Institute in Dallas offers one of the most comprehensive surgical technician training programs in the area. Practical instruction covers the basics of nursing and patient care skills, detailed learning of human anatomy and the body’s systems, theoretical study of medicine in general, and an introduction to the surgical environment.
Students are taught the proper procedure for the handling of specialized equipment, how to prepare an operating room, and the basics of sterilization and laying out of tools. Most importantly, students are exposed to the medical terminology and shown how to interpret medical reports as a means for preparing an operating room for a specific procedure.
The MedVance Institute has a campus in Grand Prairie. This school offers a one-year program that includes simulated operating room procedures, courses in general nursing skills, and extensive drills that cover most situations that arise in a health care facility. Students completing the course are awarded a diploma and may be eligible for national certification as a surgical technologist if they have earned a minimum number of credits and hold a Bachelor’s degree.
Schools offering training for surgical tech students in the Dallas area do not certify their graduates unless a minimum number of credits in various education departments have been earned. Not all programs offering classes for surgical tech students lead to a Bachelor’s or Associate degree. Interested students are encouraged to contact the school directly and find out if the classes offered are in line with the type of work desired.
National certification is awarded to students who have earned their degree and are ready to enter the workforce. This certificate is not required in order to obtain employment as a surgical tech. However, it is a positive mark on any resume. Many hospitals and clinics may require certification in addition to an Associate’s degree.
Several entities offer testing programs to determine eligibility for national certification. These include the National Board of Surgical Technology and the National Center for Competency Testing. This certificate is invaluable for job seekers holding a degree in surgical technology because many employers will give preference to those who have passed this rigid examination. Certification is valid so long as the individual continues his/her education or works continuously in the field. The certificate must be renewed on a periodic basis.
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