If you’re interested in becoming a surgical tech, you might be wondering what degree you need to pursue this career. Keep reading to learn more about the education requirements for surgical techs.
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Surgical Technician Job Description
A surgical technician is an allied health professional who works closely with surgeons, registrars, nurses and anaesthetists during surgical procedures. They are responsible for ensuring that the operating theatre is prepared for surgery and that all of the necessary equipment is sterilised and functioning properly. Surgical technicians also assist surgeons during operations, handing them instruments and supplies and generally assisting with any tasks that need to be carried out in order to ensure a successful procedure.
In order to become a surgical technician, you will need to complete an accredited surgical technology program. These programs are typically offered at community colleges, technical schools and some universities. Upon completion of a surgical tech program, you will be awarded a certificate or diploma, although some programs may lead to an associate’s degree.
Surgical Technician Education and Training Requirements
Most surgical tech programs are certificate or diploma programs that typically last about 9 to 15 months, although some may last up to two years. A few schools offer associate’s degree programs in surgical technology, but these programs generally take longer to complete.
Surgical Technician Programs
While some surgical techs may have on-the-job training, most of them complete a postsecondary education program. These programs typically last about 9 months to 2 years and lead to a certificate or an associate’s degree.
Certificate programs in surgical technology generally take about 1 year to complete and are usually offered by technical schools, community colleges, and some hospitals. Associate’s degree programs in surgical technology typically take about 2 years to complete and are offered by community colleges and some 4-year colleges.
Some states regulate surgical technologists. In these states, surgical technologists may need to have a license or certification. Typically, licensure or certification requires the completion of an accredited educational program and passing an exam.
Surgical Technician Certification
To work as a surgical technologist, you must complete formal training and become certified. Although certification is not required in all states, many employers prefer to hire workers who are certified.
There are several professional organizations that offer certification for surgical technologists. To be eligible for certification, you must have completed an accredited surgical technology program and pass a written exam. Once you are certified, you will need to renew your certification every few years by completing continuing education credits or re-taking the exam.
Surgical Technician Salary and Job Outlook
With an aging population and advances in medical technology, the demand for surgical technicians is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As a result, those with formal training and certification will have the best job prospects.
The median annual salary for surgical techs was $47,300 in 2017, according to the BLS. The top 10 percent earning more than $68,490 while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $33,780.