How to Become a Surgical Tech

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How to Become a Surgical Tech. Surgical techs get the instruments and operating room ready for surgery. They may also assemble equipment and monitor instruments used during an operation. During surgery they can operate machines such as a suction machine, cut sutures and apply dressings. Surgical techs work mainly in hospitals and outpatient surgical centers.

Learn what a surgical tech does. Read about the profession and talk with those already in the field. Surgical techs need to work long hours on their feet. They also see blood and body organs up close. It is not a career for the squeamish.

Contact the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). They can provide you with a list of accredited schools in your area that have a surgical tech program.

Earn an associate degree in surgical technology. You will take classes in biology, anatomy and physiology. Clinical work will also be part of the curriculum. Some schools offer a certificate program which takes about a year to complete, however most employers prefer to hire someone with an associate degree.

Pass a certification exam. The Liaison Council on Certification for Surgical Techs offers a professional certification after passing the exam. Although not mandatory for employment it will give you the edge with employers.

Apply for a position. Hospitals are the primary employers of surgical techs. Employment agencies specializing in allied health workers will hire surgical techs for traveling assignments.

Take continuing education classes. If you have a certification you will need to renew it every 4 years. The Liaison Council on Certification for Surgical Techs will have information on their website on where to find approved classes in your area.


Consider specializing. Some surgical techs work primary on heart, orthopedic or gastrointestinal surgeries. Salaries may be higher for those who specialize. Stay current on advances in your field. Medicine and surgery are changing all the time.

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