Becoming an Illinois Surgical Technician
In today’s healthcare sector, the need for surgical technologists is becoming more important than ever before. Driven by the increasing number of elective surgeries, the expansion of healthcare and the rising number of the elderly, the number of elective and non-elective surgeries performed in the United States continues to steadily increase.
This will require an increasing number of trained medical personnel, including surgical techs, to ensure that all patients can receive the care that they require.
The Duties of the Surgical Tech
Surgical techs operate under the direction of surgeons and registered nurses, providing vital supportive services before, during and after a surgical procedure. For some surgeries they may be part of a large team of surgical technologists, while in other cases, they may work as an individual assistant to the surgeon. In all cases, their duties require great attention to detail, excellent communication skills and the ability to work under stress.
The specific duties of the surgical technologist include the following:
- Preparing the surgical equipment and supplies for use. This includes sterilizing them to avoid the danger of infection.
- Assisting the surgeon, nurses, and other personnel in dressing for the surgical procedure in order to ensure that they are in a sterile condition.
- During the surgical procedure, the surgical tech will pass tools to the surgeon at his or her direction.
- Surgical technicians must keep track of all tools and supplies such as sponges, in order to ensure that nothing is left in the patient by mistake.
- After the surgical procedure, the surgical tech will assist in moving the patient back to a recovery room.
- The surgical tech will also assist in cleaning the operating room and preparing it for the next surgery.
Where Do Surgical Techs Work
Surgical techs work in a variety of positions. While the majority of technicians still work in the traditional hospital setting a growing number are finding employment in other areas.
Many surgical techs have found employment in urgent care clinics and individual doctor’s offices, where they assist in performing minor surgeries. Additionally, cosmetic and weigh-loss surgeries are growing in popularity and clinics offering them are employing an increasing number of surgical technicians.
Becoming a Surgical Tech in Illinois
Illinois requires that all surgical technicians who practice in the state be licensed. Individuals intending to practice as surgical technicians in the state must make certain that they comply with all state credentialing guidelines.
Surgical Tech Programs
In order to become a surgical technician, the student must finish an accredited surgical tech program. Accreditation is most commonly provided by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), or the American Board of Surgical Assistants (ABSA). Accreditation ensures that the program adheres to strict educational and professional standards in all aspects of its instruction.
Most programs take approximately two years for a full-time student. Many programs also offer part-time and distance learning programs. These options can be especially helpful for students who are supporting themselves during the program, or who simply desire to study at their own pace.
Becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist
After completion of the surgical tech program, the student must become certified. Illinois accepts certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology & Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) for surgical technicians. Becoming certified by the NBSTSA requires the completion of a comprehensive national exam that is designed to ensure that those who pass it are fully qualified in all areas of the surgical technician’s duties.
Once the individual has become certified, he or she may then apply to the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation and obtain a license that is good for three years. In order to practice in Illinois, the individual must be certified and have received a license from the state.
Finally, the surgical technician must maintain his or her certification with the NBSTSA, requiring that he or she renew the certification every four years. This includes the completion of at least 60 credits of approved continuing education or the decision to retake the exam in order to demonstrate the individual’s continued competency in surgical technology.
The Benefits of Becoming a Surgical Technologist
Becoming a surgical technologist is an excellent choice for those who are just entering the job market and those who are seeking to transition to a more rewarding career alike. In addition to generous salaries and career options, the surgical technologist services a vital role in America’s healthcare sector.
In Illinois, surgical technicians earn a median salary of over $41,000 dollars, and the profession continues to expand at the national average of 19 percent through 2020. For these reasons, becoming a certified Illinois surgical technician is an excellent career choice in the modern job market.