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It would be difficult to imagine the Surgical Unit of any busy hospital functioning properly without Certified Surgical Technologists. Following training and certification, these vital members of the surgical team can expect to become members of a surgical team in any hospital, clinic or doctor’s office that performs surgery.
What Are Certified Surgical Technologists?
Certified Surgical Technologists – also known as surgical techs – assist the surgical team before, during and after surgery. They clean and prep the operating room. Jobs include setting up equipment, checking equipment to see that it operates correctly, and setting up sterile surgical instruments, drapes, and IV solutions.
Certified Surgical Technologists prep patients for surgery, which includes shaving and cleansing the surgical site. They transport patients to Surgery, get patients positioned on the operating table, and arrange sterile surgical drapes over patients. They transfer the patient to the recovery room, and then to their hospital room following surgery.
During surgery, surgical techs assist the operating staff by helping them put on sterile gowns and gloves, monitoring patient vital signs, checking patient charts, and applying dressings. count surgical supplies (i.e.sponges, instruments) to be sure the end count is the same as the instrument count before surgery started. Surgical techs prep surgical specimens before transporting them to the lab. Other job duties include equipment and instrument sterilization, aiming surgical lights during surgery, using the suction machines and running diagnostic equipment as necessary during surgery.
Certified Surgical Technologist training programs run from 9 to 24 months and are offered through Junior Colleges, Community Colleges and some specialty schools. Upon completion, the students earn either a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree depending on the length of the program they attended. The programs offer classroom instruction as well as supervised training in a clinical setting.
Certified Surgical Technologist are required to take and pass a certification exam, which are taken at the State level. To maintain their certification, they are required to take an additional 60 hours of continuing education courses every 4 years. Alternatively, they can opt to retake and pass the certification exam every 4 years. With additional training, nay surgical tech can specialize in specific surgical specialty such as open heart surgery or neurosurgery.
Employment and Pay
According to the US Department of Labor, there were an approximately 91,500 Certified Surgical Technologists in the US in 2008. That number is expected to increase by 25%, to an estimated 117,700 positions by the year 2018. The Department of Labor lists the average salary for for the job at the following job sites:
· Dentists’ offices – $36,380
· Physicians’ Offices – $38,520
· General Medical/Surgical Hospitals – $38,640
· Outpatient Care Centers – $39,650
· Specialty Hospitals (i.e. psychiatric or substance abuse) – $40,800
Of course, these salaries may vary based on experience, education, required responsibilities, the number of hours he or she works, the shift being worked, and the regional economy in the part of the country where he or she works.
The demand for people to fill these jobs will rise quickly. With great pay and benefits, surgical techs can expect a relatively easy time finding a job in hospitals, outpatient surgeries, clinics, or in doctors and dentists’ offices, and surgical centers nationwide.