How to Become a Surgical Tech: The Essentials

HealthcareJuly 07, 2014

The average person will go through four different careers in their lifetime. Those that get into the medical field as their first career have a tendency to stay and retire. If the medical field is something that sounds good to you, then you should look into how to become a surgical tech. It is a great opportunity to work with a team that makes a difference.

Education Requirements

Requirements will differ slightly depending on the school and the state, but there will always be a core set of classes that must be taken. There are some schools out there that still offer certificates for their surgical tech programs. However, this option is generally not recommended unless you already have medical experience. To become certified, you have to graduate with an Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) or Associate of Arts (AA) Degree, so make sure your school is Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) certified before you take the program.

Basic skills, like math and English, and some not so basic skills, such as Anatomy and Physiology (A&P), will be required. A&P classes are some of the toughest courses out there, and many counselors recommend to their students that they take no other classes during the same quarter. So, talk to your Intake Counselor about the time requirements that will be required — especially if you will be working while going to school.

Certification Requirements

To apply for certification, you must fall into one of the following criteria:

  • you are already a certified surgical technologist and wish to renew your license
  • you are a graduate from a surgical technology or surgical first assistant program
  • you graduated from a military program in surgical technology

You should consult the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) to determine the complete requirements, including testing costs, to take the certification exam.

Job Outlook

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for surgical techs is projected to grow nationally by 30 percent in the next 10 years, which is considered a high growth rate compared to other professions. If you join the ranks of surgical techs, you will be expected to be a team player who gets along well with others and shows up for work diligently.

Now that you know how to become a surgical tech, talk to different schools and see which one fits you the best. Read over the certification and education requirements and make sure you can put in the time necessary to commit to this career. In the long run, you will be glad you did.

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