Surgical Technologist Career
In order to conduct a successful surgical procedure, a surgeon needs the help of his operating room team which, among others, include surgical technologists. A surgical technologist or surgical tech is an integral part of the medical team responsible mainly for providing assistance during surgical procedures. People aspiring to become a surgical tech must be able to stand the sight of people being cut open, or organs being handled since this will be a typical day in their job. Among their most important duties include: sterilization and handing over of surgical instruments, helping patients prepare for surgery, and dressing of surgical wounds.
One must understand that, like any other career,
becoming a surgical technologist requires hard work,
patience and dedication in undergoing schooling and
training. Becoming a surgical tech can also open new
doors of opportunities to other careers in the field of
medicine - it is an excellent stepping stone for higher
careers. To get started in this field, you must first
look for a surgical tech training program, which can
usually be found in community colleges, vocational
schools and surgical tech schools. Keep in mind though
that the training program you wish to enroll in must be
accredited by the CAAHEP or Commission on Accreditation
of Allied Health Education Programs.
After completing the training program, one is eligible to take a certification exam provided by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting or NBSTSA. Passing the certification exam grants one the right to use the designation of Certified Surgical Technologist or CST. Certification helps guarantee competency and proficiency of an individual, and also opens up better employment opportunities. Certified surgical technologists are required to renew their licenses every five years and are required to pursue continuing education in order to be updated on the constant changes happening in this medical field.
Because a surgical technologist is involved with a wide range of strenuous physical and mental work, he must also possess certain attributes besides the required education and training. Excellent physical fitness, superior manual dexterity, ability to handle pressure, keen eye for details, fast reflexes, and ability to follow instructions are just some of the important characteristics a surgical tech must have in order to perform his duties properly. Surgical techs are generally able to find employment with relative ease, especially as the number of people requiring surgery increases. In 2008 alone, they were reported to have held 91,500 jobs, 71 percent of whom were employed in hospitals.
Job outlook for surgical technologists is one of the reasons many aspire to make a career in this medical field. You won’t run out of options once you become a surgical technologist as demand for this profession is predicted to increase by 25 percent in the next 6 to 8 years, with those who receive certification more likely to get the best employment opportunities. The increase in demand is primarily due to the increasing population, especially of the elderly, and also because of the recent technological advancements in surgery, prompting the need for more surgical techs. Salaries are pretty much variable depending on your place of work, education and training credentials, geographical location and level of experience/expertise, but earnings usually can be as low as $25,000 and as high as $50,000, sometimes even more.