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Medical Support

Surgical Technician

Career data updated last on 9/30/2009
Surgical Technician Surgical technologists work in the operating room, helping to provide a safe, sterile environment and adding to the efficiency of the operating room team. Surgical technologists help set up the operating room with surgical instruments and equipment, sterile linens, and sterile solutions. Technologists prepare patients for surgery, transport patients to the operating room, help position them on the operating table, and cover them with sterile surgical "drapes." Technologists also observe patients' vital signs, check charts, and help the surgical team scrub and put on gloves, gowns, and masks. After an operation, surgical technologists may help transfer patients to the recovery room.
Salary $21,900-$36,700-$43,470
Significant Points Hospitals will continue to be the primary employer of surgical technologists, although much faster employment growth is expected in offices of physicians and in outpatient care centers, including ambulatory surgical centers.
Specializations Technologists advance by specializing in a particular area of surgery, such as neurosurgery or open heart surgery. They also may work as circulating technologists. A circulating technologist is the "unsterile" member of the surgical team who prepares patients; helps with anesthesia; obtains and opens packages for the "sterile" persons to remove the sterile contents during the procedure; interviews the patient before surgery; keeps a written account of the surgical procedure; and answers the surgeon's questions about the patient during the surgery. With additional training, some technologists advance to first assistants, who help with retracting, sponging, suturing, cauterizing bleeders, and closing and treating wounds. Some surgical technologists manage central supply departments in hospitals, or take positions with insurance companies, sterile supply services, and operating equipment firms.
Work Environment Surgical technologists usually work in a hospital's surgical units, day-surgery centers, the emergency room, labor and delivery unit or in a physician's office. They work in clean, well-lighted, cool environments. They must stand for long periods and remain alert during operations. At times they may be exposed to communicable diseases and unpleasant sights, odors, and materials. Most surgical technologists work a regular 40-hour week, although they may be on call or work nights, weekends and holidays on a rotating basis.
High School Prep A high school diploma or equivalent is required. Courses in mathematics, biology and other sciences are helpful.
Academic Requirements Programs in Colorado vary in length from nine to twelve months. The programs involve classroom instruction and practical experience in medical terminology, ethics, medical aspects of surgical care, asepsis (sterile techniques), anatomy and anesthesia. Most employers prefer to hire certified technologists. Technologists may obtain voluntary professional certification from the Liaison Council on Certification for the Surgical Technologist by graduating from a CAAHEP-accredited program and passing a national certification examination. They may then use the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) designation. Continuing education or reexamination is required to maintain certification, which must be renewed every 4 years. Certification may also be obtained from the National Center for Competency Testing.

Schools/Organizations

Aims Community College-Greeley Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Anthem College
Associate Degree Associate
Colorado Technical University-Denver North Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Colorado Technical University-Denver South Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Everest College-Thorton Campus
Certificate Degree Certificate

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