Scrub techs spend most of their work hours in the operating room, assisting surgeons and the rest of the surgical staff, sterilizing the instruments, and disinfecting the room. For those who want to become like them, proper education and training are necessary to qualify for the job.
Education of scrub technician
Those who want to apply as scrub techs need a degree or at least a certificate in surgical technology. To be on the safe side, it is best to enroll in a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. As of 2008, there were more than 450 accredited programs in the US, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There is a one-year certificate program that covers courses in anatomy, medical terminology, pharmacology, and physiology. Courses on clinical and surgical procedures are also tackled. Some schools also require students to participate in seminars and on-the-job training.
Another option is to take a two-year associate degree in surgical technology that will earn you an Associate of Applied Science. This program usually includes courses in surgical technology theories and procedures and operating room labs. Some of the courses in this program are pathophysiology, microbiology, physiology, and advanced anatomy.
There are accredited surgical technology programs offered in many vocational schools and community colleges. These programs may also be offered in some hospitals and universities. They may need several months up to two years. There are programs that offer a diploma, certificate, or an associate’s degree.
To enroll in a surgical technology program, one needs a high school diploma or GED.
According to the BLS, surgical technologists are educated about taking care and looking after the safety of the patients, how to sterilize surgical instruments, how to set up robotic equipment, and how to prevent or control infections. They are also required to accumulate hands-on experience in supervised clinical settings.
Scrub Tech Training Requirements
On-the-job training programs are available to aspiring scrub techs. These are often provided by hospitals and usually require two years. Some organizations require applicants for certification to have obtained their diploma or certificate from a formal, accredited program. Others require only a minimum of two years of hospital training for applicants to get certified. Certification as a scrub tech is not required by employers, but it really helps in career advancement.
Scrub Tech License and Certification
Being a certified scrub tech is an advantage. Scrub techs can earn certification from two organizations. Scrub techs can have the title “Certified Surgical Technologist” if they earn a certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. The organization grants certification to those who have completed a formal surgical technology program or a military training program and passed an exam.
Scrub techs can also earn the title “Tech in Surgery-Certified” from the National Center of Competency Testing. The organization grants certification to applicants who have passed and exam and have completed military training, formal education, or work experience.
Both certifications can be maintained through continuing education.
States in the US have varying certification requirements for scrub techs.
Scrub Technician Employment Outlook
As technology continues to evolve, surgery has become safer for the patients, even for the aging population. This ensures stable work for scrub techs. Employment opportunities are better for those who have finished an accredited education program and have a valid professional certification.
Scrub techs can advance to the position of surgical assistants after years of experience and continuing education. They may also choose to advance as registered nurses or physician assistants, as per the BLS.
Preparing for Online Surgical Tech Programs
Aspiring scrub techs can choose to complete their surgical tech programs online. In fact, many have chosen to go online because these accredited online institutions have better teaching facilities and their degrees are already considered authentic by credentialing organizations.
For those who have decided to take an online program in surgical technology, they need to prepare a reliable computer, an email account, and high-speed Internet access.
They can communicate better with their instructors and classmates if they have a reliable Internet connection. It also helps if they are familiar with the software used as instruction medium, the level of communication that the instructors require of the students, and the online forums used for classroom discussions.