Certified Surgical Technician Education Requirements and Career Info

Certified surgical technicians assist surgeons in the operating room environment by preparing surgical equipment and supplies, as well as preparing patients ready for surgery. Surgical technicians may also be known as scrubs,surgical technologists and operating room technicians.

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Certified Surgical Technician Education Requirements

Surgical technicians, also commonly called surgical technologists or operating room technicians, are typically required to have a certificate or associate's degree from a community college or a technical school. Surgical technology programs include a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience at a hospital or medical office. Common courses include medical terminology, human anatomy, pharmacology, surgical technology skills, microbiology, surgical technology theory and professional ethics.

Surgical technology programs also place an emphasis on instrument sterilization, patient preparation and surgical aseptic techniques. Many surgical technician programs are approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and prepare graduates to take the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting certification examination.

Career Information

Working under the supervision of surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and other operating room personnel, certified surgical technicians assist in the preparation and execution of surgical procedures. Surgical technicians assist surgeons by preparing surgical equipment and instruments. They also prepare sterile solutions and linens.

During the actual surgery, technicians supply surgeons with surgical instruments and other supplies. They prep surgery patients by washing and disinfecting the incision sites. They also wheel patients into the operating room and position them on an operating table.

Surgical technicians usually work in hospital operating and delivery rooms. However, there are also employment opportunities with doctors' offices and ambulatory surgical centers. Between 2008 and 2018, employment for surgical technicians is expected to increase by 25% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports median annual earnings for surgical technologists in 2008 of nearly $39,000.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics