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What does an operative technician do?
Even though the surgeon gets all the credit for a successful surgery, a patient’s life depends a lot on how hard and skilled the surgical technologist is.
Surgical technologists are important members of the surgical team. To do your job well, you’ll need to keep a cool head, think quickly, and have a strong stomach. You will have to clean and prepare the OR for surgery, bring patients to and from the OR, pass instruments to the surgeon in charge, pull back the patient’s tissues, and sew up cuts.
The importance of the surgical tech can’t be overstated because contamination in the OR could kill the patient on the table.
Surgical technologists help with everyday tasks in and around the operating room.
First of all, surgical technologists get the operating room ready for surgeries. This can include things like making sure the equipment is clean and that all the needed supplies are there and in good supply. When it’s time for surgery, they help move the patient to the operating table and clean the incision site.
Surgical techs give the nurses and surgeons the right tools and make sure everything stays clean during the procedure. They might also hook up drains and tubes, use suction machines, or get samples ready for testing. When the surgery is over, they usually have to dress the wound, take the patient back to their room, and get the operating room ready for the next surgery.
Surgical procedures are happening more often than ever before because people are living longer and because medical technology and techniques are getting better.
With an overall growth rate of 9% from now until 2030, the field of surgical technology is likely to have more job openings.
How to Find Jobs for Surgical Technologists As you just read, most surgical technologists, or about 70% of them, work in hospitals. But even though that may be the most common place to work, it’s not the only place to work. Surgical technologists and CSTs work in places like doctors’ offices, outpatient care centers, and even dentists’ offices.
When you start looking for a job, you can see if there are any openings in any of these places in your area. There are also groups that help that are made for surgical technologists. Both the National Board of Surgical Technology and the Association of Surgical Technologists have online resources for finding jobs.
Getting Your Degree: It usually takes between 12 and 24 months to finish a surgical tech program.
Surgical technologists can get into the field with a certificate, a diploma, or an associate degree. This is different from most medical jobs, which require a certain degree.
For people who want to get into the field as soon as possible, certificates and diplomas can usually be earned in as little as one year. This is because the coursework focuses only on surgical technology and does not include general knowledge or elective classes. Most of the time, these programs are done at technical or vocational schools.
Most students take between 18 and 24 months to finish an associate degree.
Getting an associate degree in surgical technology is different from getting a certificate or diploma because you will have to take classes in general science, English, and math.
These are usually done at community colleges, but you can also find them at technical and vocational schools and even some universities.
If you want to be able to take the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam, the program you choose must be approved by either the CAAHEP or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Some states require CST certification for surgical technologists to get a job, but even if your state doesn’t, most employers will expect you to be a CST.
Programs to become a surgical technologist require applicants to have at least a high school diploma or a GED.
Some schools might require you to take classes in biology, English, and probably CPR as well. Because part of your education is working with real patients, many schools require students to pass a criminal background check before they can start the program.
Are there online programs to become a surgical tech?
If this is your first step into the field of surgical technology, you won’t be able to take courses online because they are so hands-on.
Still, more and more programs are trying to meet students where they are, so you might be able to find flexible options like classes at night or on the weekend.
But if you already know how to use surgical technology, there may be online options for you.
These are for students who have worked as surgical technologists or who have graduated from a program that isn’t accredited. Because these kinds of candidates already have work experience, these programs can often be done faster.
Professional Certification: Getting Ahead
Getting a certification is a great way to show that you have the skills and knowledge needed to do tasks at an entry-level job. There are two steps to becoming a certified surgical tech:
Complete a program: Finish a recognized program to become a surgical technician.
To pass the test: Take the Certified Surgical Technologist exam and do well on it.
Some states now make it necessary for surgical technologists to get certified before they can work. By 2021, this license will be needed in Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Since the list is likely to grow, you should think about getting your CST no matter what state you live in. In Colorado, North Dakota, and Washington, surgical techs have to register in order to work there.
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