Surgical technologists, also known as operating room technicians, serve as assistants in surgical operations. Online surgical tech programs focus on preparing students to work in operating rooms under the supervision of surgeons and other healthcare professionals. Students learn how to hand different instruments to the surgeon in the correct manner and at the correct time. They also learn how to prepare operating rooms, sterilize equipment, prepare patients for surgery, prevent and control infections, and count supplies. If you would like to become an important member of operating room teams, learn more about surgical tech schools online.
What You Learn in Online Surgical Tech Programs
Prerequisites & Program Length
The prerequisite for online surgical tech schools is usually a high school diploma or GED. You can elect to pursue either a postsecondary certificate, which can take several months to complete, or an associate’s degree, which typically takes two years to complete.
Coursework may cover the following topics:
- Medical terminology
- Introduction to surgical technology
- Techniques in surgical asepsis
- Clinical orientation
- Surgical procedures
While it is possible to complete surgical tech training online, students in online programs are required to fulfil supervised clinical time in-person. Surgical technology students also typically gain hands-on experience in a surgical technology lab that replicates a real-life operating room environment.
At this time, only a small number of states regulate surgical technologists, and the requirements will vary. Certification is available through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, the National Surgical Assistant Association, and the American Board of Surgical Assistants.
Surgical Tech Job Overview
Responsibilities Before Surgery
As a surgical technologist, you will be working in a challenging, fast-paced environment. Before an operation, surgical technologists prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment. They also prepare patients for surgery by taking patients to and from the operating room, positioning patients on the operating table, washing and disinfecting incision sites, and covering patients with sterile drapes.
Responsibilities After Surgery
During an operation, surgical technologists pass instruments and supplies to surgeons and first assistants. They may also hold retractors and internal organs in place during a procedure or handle specimens for laboratory analysis. After the operation is complete, surgical technologists might apply bandages and dressings to the incision site, help transfer patients to recovery rooms, and restock the operating room.
Surgical Tech Employment Outlook
Salary & Growth
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgical technologists earned a median annual wage of $41,790 in 2012. The employment of surgical technologists is expected to grow 30% from 2012 to 2022, which is much faster than average for all occupations.
Factors that are leading to an increasing demand for surgical technologists include the aging baby-boomer population and advancements in medical technology that have made surgery safer. Hospitals often employ surgical technologists because it is more cost-effective than hiring registered nurses (RNs). Job prospects will be best for surgical technologists who have completed an accredited education program.
Taking the Next Step
Surgical technologists are important members of the operating room team. They work closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and other medical personnel to deliver patient care before, during, and after surgery. If you would like to build a rewarding career in the healthcare field that requires short-term education, explore the certificates, diplomas, and degrees offered by surgical tech schools online today.
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