Both the aging population and the cost saving measures of hospitals to replace nurses in the operating room are instigating the advancement of the surgical tech salary and job opportunities. This specialty field is anticipated as being one of the most sought after positions in the medical arena.
So, you may be wondering what it takes to get a job in this field and earn this surgical tech salary. Currently, there are over 400 accredited programs that offer the needed training to become a surgical tech. Most of these programs are offered by community or junior colleges, but also may be found in universities or hospitals. Applicants are generally required to have a high school diploma or GED and a background of classes in math, chemistry and biology.
The accredited job training programs can last anywhere between 9 and 24 months, leading to either diplomas or certificates. Classes included in the training will include physiology, pharmacology, anatomy, microbiology and ethics. A student will also take classes that instruct on patient care, safety, sterile techniques and procedures for surgery.
Certification is not always required in all states, but as a rule, most employers prefer to hire those with certification. Certification will also lead to a higher surgical tech salary. The certification needed is obtained after finishing the course load by taking an exam that will lead to the title of Certified Surgical Technologist or CST. This certification must be updated every four years.
The cost of the certification classes varies from program to program. There are some programs that charges close to $25,000 for a 13 month program while junior colleges and community colleges may only charge between $4,000 and $10,000 for the same certification. It’s always best to shop around for the right program for your needs. Being willing to travel to a lower cost school is always a plus too. In some cases, a hospital may be willing to pay off student loans that you’ve incurred in return for the signing of a multi-year contract with them. It’s a bargaining chip to look into that goes along with a surgical tech salary.