Training to become a surgical technician typically means earning a 2-year associate degree with courses in microbiology, medical ethics, anatomy, physiology and surgical instrument techniques. The Liaison Council on Certification for the Surgical Technologist offers national certification for surgical technicians. Surgical technician training programs can be found in community and junior colleges, vocational schools, four-year colleges and universities, and in hospitals, as well as in full-fledged medical colleges.
Surgical technician training will vary accordingly, but training programs will take nine months to two years. Surgical technician education will allow for obtaining certificates, diplomas, or associate degrees. Students will need to have some background and interest in health, biology, chemistry, and mathematics to enter into surgical technician training programs.
Those interested in becoming a surgical tech should attend and graduate from a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredited education program. All of the schools with accredited programs are listed on the CAAHEP website, and there are currently 452 accredited surgical tech programs available.
CAAHEP accredited surgical technician programs are available in many states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
For those who do not have surgical technician programs near them or who want to attend a distance learning or online program, there are eight accredited surgical tech programs. These are at Gulf Coast Community College in Florida, Kirkwood Community College in Iowa, Spencerian College in Kentucky, Southeast Community College in Nebraska, Canadian Valley Technology Center in Oklahoma, Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Presentation College in South Dakota and Laramie County Community College in Wyoming.
The accredited training programs usually last anywhere from nine months to twenty-four months to complete, and result in a diploma, certificate, or associates degree. In order to get accepted into surgical technologist programs you normally have to have a high school degree, and it will be helpful if you took math, biology, health and chemistry while you were in high school, though this is not always required to get into a program. These courses will give you a good background your coursework during the program.
Surgical technician programs of study will include classroom and supervised clinical experience. Students will begin their training as surgical technicians with courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology and medical terminology. Studies will include sterilization of instruments, infection prevention and control, care and safety of patients, professional ethics, surgical procedures, techniques, and equipment for completion of the certificate, diploma, or degree.
Completing one of the many accredited surgical tech programs is not always enough to get a job as a surgical tech. Many employers prefer that their surgical techs be certified, which requires passing an exam from the Liaison Council on Certification for the Surgical Technologist. Certification is good for four years, during which you need to either complete some continuing education credits or retake the exam in order to keep your certification.