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Earn Your Associate’s Degree in Surgical Technology

Majors Overview June 18, 2014

If you have considered pursuing a career in the rewarding field of surgical technology, it is a wonderful career choice. The field is growing, and getting started in this exciting career requires an associate’s degree. Here, you’ll learn more about the outlook and preparation process for becoming a surgical technologist.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for surgical technologists in 2012 was $41,790 annually, which translates to approximately $20 an hour. Beyond that, the outlook for this field is strong and expected to grow by 30 percent between 2012 and 2022. Now that the outlook for this field has been established, let’s learn a bit more about what the job entails.

Surgical technicians are sometimes referred to as operating room technicians. These well trained specialists actually assist physicians during surgery. Because most surgical procedures take place in hospitals or outpatient surgical centers, your search for a position in that field should start there. However, don’t overlook private physician’s offices which perform outpatient procedures.

Those working as surgical technicians are, in most cases, required to wear sterile clothing (scrubs) in the operating room during surgery. Of course, surgical procedures are often not “pretty”; thus, someone wishing to pursue this field would need to understand — and accept — that at times there may be exposure to difficult sights and unpleasant scents. Also, some surgical procedures can span several hours, so long hours often come “with the territory”, so to speak.

Hospitals and some medical offices are open around the clock, so surgical technicians are often scheduled to work long shifts — including night and weekend hours and certain holidays.

physical stamina is required for this position, as working in the operating room calls for standing for several hours at a time. Surgical technicians can – and often are – called upon to move patients physically from one surgical table to another or to transport the patient from the operating and recovery areas to their hospital rooms. Sometimes, the medical equipment or other supplies needed by the surgeon are handled by surgical technicians, making the job physically demanding.

still, the surgical technology field is rewarding, as technicians realize they play a vital role in helping patients get the medical treatment they need. Some of the surgical technicians trained to do so can actually help the physician through physically touching the patient during the surgical operation. Most, though, function as an integral part of the surgical team working alongside surgeons, registered nurses and other medical personnel.
Those best suited for this role possess the following characteristics: ability to remain calm under pressure, discipline and a tendency to be detail oriented.

But what does it take, you might ask, to become trained in surgical technology? Well, after obtaining a high school diploma or GED, your next step is to enroll in a preparatory program leading to an associates degree. Subjects learned in the degree program include human anatomy, medical terminology, biology, pharmacology and pre and post operative procedures.

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