Online Surgical Tech Schools
Surgical technologists and operating room technicians are also known as surgical technicians or surgical techs. They assist surgeons and anesthesiologists before, during, and after surgery.
Very few schools offer an online degree in surgical technology. However, if you want to study online to get a good foundation for surgical technology, you could take an accredited online medical assisting program. If you are able to specialize in the clinical aspects of medical assisting, you are likely to learn the following subjects: Anatomy and physiology, and also pharmacology (study of medication). You would also learn practical skills such as taking vital signs (blood pressure, respiration, and pulse), taking blood from patients and preparing samples for laboratory work, giving injections and immunizations, disposing of contaminated waste, and sterilizing medical instruments. Those are good skills for prospective surgical technicians.
Types of Surgical Tech Programs
Some people learn how to become a surgical technologist via on-the-job training. However, many employers prefer to hire people who have a certificate or an associate’s degree.
Surgical technologist schools are usually community colleges and vocational schools. Sometimes training is offered at hospitals. Community colleges offering surgical tech training often offer both certificates and associate’s degrees. You have a better chance of getting a job in that field if you take a program approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Internships may be available for prospective surgical technologists. They get in-class training and supervised clinical experience. To qualify for internships, you may need to learn anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. In addition to what you may learn from a clinical medical assistant program, you may learn about anesthesia and nursing procedures.
This occupation is expected to grow 19 percent from 2010 through 2020, and it is growing as fast as average for all occupations. Most of the hiring is done through hospitals, because the salaries of surgical technologists are lower than the salaries of registered nurses. Surgical technologists from accredited training programs and maintain career certification have the best chances of getting jobs in that field.
The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting gives a test to qualified applicants. An applicant who passes the test becomes a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). People who work as surgical technicians are advised to become members of the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST).
The average pay for surgical technologists was $42,460 a year in May 2011. Surgical technologists working in doctor’s offices and outpatient centers earn more money on the average than the ones working in hospitals. Surgical technicians may advance to become surgical assistants, who have more responsibilities than surgical techs. Many surgical technicians eventually become nurses, respiratory therapists, or get imaging technology jobs. Salaries vary from state to state.
The states with the highest employment levels are Texas with an average wage of $41,600, California with an average wage of $51,940, Florida with an average wage of $38,140, New York with an average wage of $46,310, and Ohio with an average wage of $40,330. The four metropolitan areas with the highest employment levels are the New York City metropolitan area, the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the Houston metropolitan area, and the Dallas metropolitan area.
You can become a surgical tech with an Associate’s degree or less academic training. Some on-the-job training may be involved before you get certified as a surgical technician. It is a great way to start your career in the healthcare field because you have many opportunities for advancement after becoming a surgical technician.