The decision to become a surgical technologist is a big one but one that’s guaranteed to lead to a rewarding career as a vital member of a hospital staff or assisting physicians in private practice. Pursuing a career as a surgical tech is easier than you’d think, especially if you do your research.
First things first: Find a good school. No matter what you’re studying, it’s imperative that you graduate from an accredited college or university. Accredited schools are those that have passed muster with regional or national accrediting agencies and have been judged as worthy institutions. They provide a quality education that’s respected by employers, and more importantly, only graduates from accredited universities are eligible to take certification exams in the surgical technologist field.
The U.S. Department of Education maintains a searchable database of higher education institutions that have been accredited by legitimate agencies, and a pair of other organizations — the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools — provide searchable lists of accredited programs that will allow you to sit for the exam to become a certified surgical technologist.
With a degree from an accredited university, you will be ready to study for and take the certification exam. Becoming a certified surgical technologist will greatly improve your earning potential and job opportunities, though you’ll need to retake certification exams every few years in order to maintain your CST status. You can also choose to advance to the role of surgical first assistant, which requires more training and study. There are a variety of career resources available for surgical technologists, too. The Association of Surgical Technologists, a professional organization for the field, devotes a section of its website to job opportunities for qualified surgical techs.
It’s also a good idea to stay in touch with local hospitals and the surgeons you worked with during your schooling and internship period. Often, the best way to learn about available jobs is to know someone who needs a qualified tech and will think of you. Becoming a surgical technologist is an easier goal to achieve than you might think. With the right preparation before choosing a school, and taking the certification exam after graduation, you’ll be able to enter the medical field and become an integral part of a surgical team.