A surgical technician (ST) is an allied health professional who works as a part of a surgical team. Their role is to assist the surgeon in placing the instruments correctly by creating a sterile environment. They also help the surgeons to put on an off their gloves or place the sterile drapes properly during the surgery. In short, the role of surgical technician is to assist the surgeons by passing the necessary instruments and tools, provide medications and medical solutions and to ensure that the sterile environment is not disturbed which may lead to a surgical site infection for the patient.
Surgical Tech Certification programs and organizations
Individuals who seek surgical assistant career require a formal education in the field. There are a lot of community and colleges which offer surgical technology education. A 2 year degree is the most popular kind of education, but a 12 month certificate program is also there for those who just need a certification. Apart from the certification course and degree programs, there are surgical technology programs available at certain hospitals. In hospitals, they provide a training of 2 year duration. Certain organizations that provide certification for surgical technicians require the aspiring candidates to have a formal degree earn through an accredited education program. However, at times a 2 year training in hospital is enough for other organizations.
Candidates should always choose a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
A one year certification program includes sections on physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology and anatomy. Students also get the opportunity to learn about different clinical and surgical procedures. Some schools also teach clinical practice and provide various seminars related to medical field.
The National Board of Surgical Technology (NBSTSA) offers certified surgical technician designation for those who have completed an accredited surgical technology education and pass the basic exam. The advanced credential is also available for more experienced surgical technologists. Those who prefer pursuing education in Tech in Surgery-Certified (TS-C) can do the program from the NCCT. Certification renewal should be done every 4 years or 5 years, according to the training chosen.
At present there are no online programs for surgical technician training recognized by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. However, there are online programs which helps you to get started in the medical field including surgical and medical assisting. This can be considered as a foundation course, if you want to enroll in a tech program in future.
There are many seminars and conferences in the surgical technology field which are conducted as part of degree or certificate programs. Association of Surgical Technologists conducts an annual conference for surgical technicians which is a 5 day event including many workshops and sessions.
For a candidate seeking a certification in surgical technology, previous job experience in the field is helpful. Normally, Practical experience is gained while pursuing a formal education program.
NBSTA offers and National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) offers voluntary surgical technician certification. Certified technicians will have better job opportunities.