Surgical Technician Programs

What is a Surgical Technician?

Assisting in surgical operations, a Surgical Technician, also known as an operating room technician or surgical tech, works under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, and other surgical personnel. They wear scrubs, which are sterile clothing, when they are in the operating room. They might assist in moving patients or lifting medical supply trays. Surgical Technicians are typically on their feet for long periods of time since they are helping in the operating room.

Medical Assistant vs Surgical Technician – What’s the Difference?

Both a medical assistant and a surgical technician provide services support patients. A medical assisted are allied health professionals. They provide numerous clinical duties, as well as some administrative services, in some type of medical facility. These professionals help with tasks such as checking patients in and scheduling their appointments. They also file insurance forms and track care through medical records. Medical assistance also collect lab samples. They may talk to patients to gather medical histories. They can also provide medications to a patient if a physician orders those medications.

A surgical technician is a bit different. These individuals provide care during a surgical procedure. This may include services beyond the actual surgery as well. This may include helping with surgery prep and education. It may include handling tasks during the surgery as well. Surgical technicians also provide post-surgery support. They may handle preparation of equipment prior to procedures. They help prepare patients as well. These technicians do not perform the procedure itself. They do provide assistance, such as handing equipment and tools, to the surgeon.

The educational requirements are sometimes different. Many employers require medical assistants to have certification. Surgical technicians typically have completed a specialized surgical tech program.

The skills in both areas are different. The type of work done is also different. What does not differ is providing high quality care to patients and working directly with patients.

Top 15 Schools With Medical Assisting Programs in Surgical Technician Programs

The medical assistant schools in Surgical Technician Programs below are ranked according to total number of graduates reported by NCES in the 2018 school year. With a total of 843 students either completing either a 2 year degree or less than two year program. Salary information provided by College Scorecard.

Description: This is a 12 month program that is designed to certify students in the field and then provide the opportunity to continue on to an associate’s degree.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
353
Surgical Assistant Certificate Program
$7,745 for the program

Description: This is a fully accredited program that can be completed in two years including a summer session. Graduates of this program are prepared for taking the certification exam and to enter the workforce.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
142
AAS in Surgical Technology
$15,240 per year

Description: This is a five semester program that provides students with the ability to enter the workforce in an entry level position. It takes 68 credit hours to complete.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
101
AAS in Surgical Technology
$8,927 per year

Description: This program is a combination of clinical and practicum. The degree includes completing a 12 month certificate program to allow students to be certified upon graduation.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
92
AAS in Surgical Technology
$5,040 per year

Description: This is a two year program that is both online and in person format. The program does prepare students to immediately enter the workforce.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
67
Associate of Occupational Science in Surgical Technology
$36,900 per year

Description: This is a two year program that requires 67 credits to complete. This program is designed to prepare students for the field of surgical technology.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
64
Associate of Occupational Science in Surgical Technology
$10,160 per year

Description: This is a two year program designed to prepare students to pass the National Certificate Exam

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
63
Additional Programs: Central Processing Technician Certificate
$5,636 per year

Description: This is a two year program preparing students for National Certificate Exam. Students are prepared to enter the workforce upon completion of the program.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
61
AAS in Surgical Technology
$18,450 per year

Description: This program can be completed in as little as fifteen months. The program will prepare students for the exam and entering the workforce.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
59
AAS in Surgical Technology
$18,526 per year

Description: This is a two year program that prepares students for the Surgical Technology Certification. The program provides students with the ability to start a career in the field.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
57
AAS as a Surgical Technician
$13,895 per year

Description: This is a two year program that is both online and in person format. The program does prepare students to immediately enter the workforce.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
56
Associate of Occupational Science in Surgical Technology
$18,550 per year

Description: This is a two year program that is both online and in person format. The program does prepare students to immediately enter the workforce.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
55
Associate of Occupational Studies in Surgical Technology
$24,040 per year

Description: This is a two year program that prepares you to sit for the National Board of Surgical Technologists and Surgical Assistants (NBSTSA) surgical technology exam.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
53
AS in Surgical Assisting
$8,633 per year

Description: This is a 75 week program designed to help students prepare for the certification exam as well as for entering the work force.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
51
Respiratory Therapy, Diagnostic Medical Sonography
$14,600 per yea

Description: This is a two year program designed to train and prepare students to work in this field as well as to pass the certification exam.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
47
Respiratory Therapist, Medical Laboratory Technology
$6,736 per year

Description: This is a six semester program that is designed to prepare the student for the certification exam as well as getting into the field.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
46
AAS in Surgical Technology
$5,526 per year

Description: This is a two year program that provides students with he ability to be prepared to enter the field immediately. The program also prepares students to pass the certification exam.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
45
AAS in Surgical Technology
$11,850 per year

Description: This is a certificate program in which students may apply their credits towards the completion of an associate’s degree.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
44
Surgical Processing Technician Certificate Program
$27,00 per year

Description: This is a two year program that prepares students to complete and pass the certification exam. The students perform class and practical work.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
44
AAS in Surgical Technology
$7,535 per year

Description: This is an 18 month full time program. This program prepares students to take and pass the certification exam as well as be ready to enter the work force.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
44
Associate Degree in Surgical Technology
$16,516 per year

Description: This is a two year program that is available either on campus or as a hybrid option. This program prepares students for the certification exam as well as for real world work.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
39
AS in Surgical Technology
$20,246 per year

Description: This is a two year program that requires the completion of 60 credit hours. This program prepares students for the certification exam as well as for work in the field.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
39
AAS in Surgical Technology
$5,482 per year

Description: This is an 18 month full time program. This program prepares students to take and pass the certification exam as well as be ready to enter the work force.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
38
AAS in Surgical Technology
$16,875 per year

Description: This is an 18 month full time program. This program prepares students to take and pass the certification exam as well as be ready to enter the work force.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
38
AAS in Surgical Technology
$3,998 per year

Description: This is a two year 60 credit program designed to provide students with the ability to pass the certification exam and to work in a surgery setting.

Programs Offered
Total Number of Graduates in 2018
Other Medical Assistant Programs
Average Net Price
Certificate
37
Level 1 Certificate in Central Sterile Processing, Advanced Technical Certificate in Surgical Assisting
$5,014 per year

What type of job responsibilities does a Surgical Technician typically have?

Since a Surgical Technician works within operating rooms and with a variety of healthcare personnel, they have different tasks to perform like:

  • Provide technical assistance to surgeons, surgical nurses, or anesthesiologists
  • Wash and sterilize equipment with sterilizers and germicides
  • Monitor and assess operating rooms, including patients and surgical team needs
  • Count sponges, needles, and instruments to maintain a sterile environment
  • Prepare operating rooms for surgery
  • Prepare, care for, and dispose of tissue specimens taken for lab analysis
  • Use critical thinking skills while in the operating room
  • Prepare patients for surgery

Where do Surgical Technicians work?

Many Surgical Technician jobs are within hospitals and others are in outpatient care centers or doctors’ offices that perform outpatient surgery.

What Surgical Technician courses will I need to take?

In a surgical technician program, you will probably take classes similar to the ones listed below:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Surgical Procedures
  • Surgical Techniques
  • Fundamentals of Surgical Technology
  • Surgical Pharmacology
  • Clinical Rotation

How can you pursue a career as a Surgical Technician?

If you want to enroll in Surgical Technician programs, you’ll probably need a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree according to the BLS. Various community colleges, vocational schools, and even some hospitals and universities offer accredited surgical technology programs. The programs may take a few months to two years to complete and you might earn a diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree after completing the program. In order to enroll in such a program, you usually need to have your high school diploma or GED.

Surgical technician programs emphasize biology, pharmacology, medical terminology, among other topics. You may want to earn certification since it could help you pursue a career as a Surgical Technician. You can pursue certification through either the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting or the National Center for Competency Testing. Both certifications require Surgical Technicians to maintain their certification by finishing continuing education.

Surgical Technician Salary Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • The median Surgical tech salary is $49,710 per year.
  • Job outlook from 2019-2029 is expected to grow at 7%.

This job outlook is faster than the average for all occupations, and great news for you if you’re pursuing a career in this field! And, per the BLS, states with the highest employment levels within this occupation are: Texas, California, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania.

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