To succeed in a surgical technology program, you'll need a knowledge of
anatomy and an ability to stay calm under pressure. These students learn to
assist surgeons and nurses in the operating room.
Several colleges offer two-year programs in surgical technology.
"Our graduates possess patient care skills, communication skills and technical
proficiency to assist physicians during surgical procedures," says Katherine
Snyder. She is the department chair of the the surgical technology program
at Pueblo Community College in Colorado.
"Our program prepares them for the workplace by several means," she says.
"Program-specific courses utilize real-life situations to demonstrate and
explain ST [surgical technology] theory. Graduates will have had approximately
720 hours of supervised hands-on experience in a clinical facility operating
Teamwork is key, says Jeannie Hurd of Spokane Community College's surgical
"Each surgery is unique and the student must be able to apply decision-making
skills and communicate well with the surgical team. The graduate should
be beginning to function under stressful situations while remaining focused
on the patient care needs."
In high school, take science, math and English.
Deborah Wilson is dean of health sciences at the Pennsylvania College of
Technology. She advises students to take biology, algebra, English and
social studies. She also recommends psychology.
Computer skills are also important. "As hospitals, health-care systems
and physician offices are moving and have moved toward computerized record
keeping, it is very important that the surgical technologist have applied
computer skills," says Wilson.
There are also extracurricular activities that might help prepare you for
a program in surgical technology.
Volunteer experience within the medical community is good, Hurd
says. Snyder adds that professors also look for students who have held leadership
positions in clubs and community organizations.
There are the usual costs of tuition and books. You might also have to
pay for immunizations, CPR certification, malpractice insurance and lab fees.
Surgical technology programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation
of Allied Health Education Program (CAAHEP).
Occupational Outlook HandbookFor more information related to this field, see Surgical Technologists
Liaison Council for the Certification for the Surgical TechnologistsThe certifying agency for the field
Surgical Technology InternationalCheck out this online publication
Want a quick overview of what this program is about? Check out Just the Facts for
a simple description.