Surgical Technician Training

A surgical technician or surgical technologist is one of the many health care professionals we have today. They are a team of medical practitioners who help provide surgical care in many different situations. Just as their title suggests, they generally work under the supervision of surgeons, and they are part of the operating room team which usually includes other medical practitioners such as registered nurses and anaesthesiologists. They help ensure that surgical procedures go smoothly, conduct regular maintenance with surgical tools and equipment to ensure that they are in proper working order, and see to it that conditions for surgery are at the safest possible for patients.

Surgical technologists are also known as "scrubs," and they are usually involved with the prepping up of the operating room prior to a surgical procedure. They prepare surgical instruments and equipments to be used, making sure that everything is sterilized and safe for use. Before surgery, patients are attended to by surgical technicians in making sure that incision areas are washed and disinfected properly. A surgical technician’s job also includes transferring patients to the operating room, setting them up on the operating table, and placing a sterilized surgical drape over them.

As the surgical procedure commences, it will be up to the surgical technologist to hold and pass surgical instruments (such as scalpels, forceps, cut sutures and retractors) to surgeons and their assistants. Any specimens which are scheduled for laboratory analysis will be assembled, taken care of, and properly disposed of by the surgical technician. Once the surgical procedure has been completed, the surgical technologist assists in the transporting of patients to the recovery room. They also help take care of a patient’s surgical wounds and attend to the application and regular changing of dressings.

As with every other careers, individuals aspiring to become a surgical technician need undergo both education and training in order to provide efficient and quality service, which is especially needed in the medical field. Generally, one needs to undergo an accredited surgical technician program which could take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on the degree you wish to attain (certificate, diploma or associate). The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or CAAHEP is the governing body for accreditation of training programs. CAAHEP-accredited training programs are usually available in vocational schools, hospitals, community/junior colleges, and other reputable surgical technician schools.

A high school diploma or an equivalent GED is generally a requirement for admission to a surgical technician training program. Having a strong background is subjects such as mathematics, chemistry, health, and biology will prove to be an advantage in entering surgical technician schools. While enrolled in a training program, you will be provided with both classroom instruction and clinical experience which is supervised by medical practitioners. You will also be lectured in important subjects such as medical terminology, physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, microbiology and professional ethics.

With the increasing demand for the profession based on reports by the United States Labor Department, you will definitely be amazed with just how many surgical tech jobs are available. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS), this profession has a high growth rate as compared to other careers, with employment opportunities predicted to increase by 25 percent in the next 6 to 8 years. When it comes to surgical technician salary, the BLS reported an average salary of $38,470 during 2008. Entry-level positions were reported to have earned an average of below $27,510, mid-level positions at $32,490 to $46,910, and top-ranking scrubs earned an average of more than $54,300. Of course salaries will always be dictated by factors such as the geographical place of employment, certification credentials, and level of expertise/experience.