Surgical Technician

How to Become a Surgical Technician in Maryland

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What is a Surgical Technician?

A surgical technician, also known as a surgical technologist, is a healthcare professional who assists surgeons and other medical staff during surgical procedures. They play a crucial role in ensuring the operating room is prepared and equipped for surgery, handling surgical instruments, and providing support to the surgical team.

Responsibilities of a surgical technician may include:

  • Preparing the operating room by sterilizing and arranging surgical instruments, equipment, and supplies.

  • Assisting the surgical team in donning sterile gowns and gloves.

  • Passing instruments and supplies to surgeons during procedures.

  • Maintaining a sterile field during surgery.

  • Anticipating the needs of the surgical team and providing necessary assistance.

  • Handling specimens for laboratory analysis.

  • Cleaning and restocking the operating room after procedures.

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Where does a Surgical Technician work?

Surgical technicians can work in various healthcare settings, including:

  • Hospitals: Surgical technicians are commonly employed in hospital operating rooms, assisting with a wide range of surgical procedures.

  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers: These outpatient facilities also require surgical technicians to support surgeons during procedures.

  • Physician's Offices: Some surgical technicians may work in private practices or clinics, assisting surgeons with minor surgical procedures.

How to Become a Surgical Technician in Maryland?

To become a Surgical Technician in Maryland, one must first complete an accredited education program, typically an associate's degree or certificate. Next, they must obtain certification by passing the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam. Once certified, they can search for job opportunities in hospitals, surgical centers, and other healthcare facilities, earning a competitive salary commensurate with their skills and experience.

What are the requirements to become a Surgical Technician in Maryland?

To become a surgical technician in Maryland, you need to fulfill certain education and legal requirements. These may include:

  • Education: Completing a surgical technology program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). These programs typically result in a diploma, certificate, or associate degree.

  • Certification: While certification is not legally required in Maryland, many employers prefer to hire certified surgical technicians. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) offers the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential, which can enhance job prospects.

  • Legal Requirements: In Maryland, surgical technicians are not required to obtain a state license or register with any regulatory body.

Exploring a Career in Surgical Technician Outside Maryland

If you're dreaming of being a Surgical Technician but find yourself in a different state, fear not — your dreams are still achievable. You might find your path to becoming a Surgical Technician in locations such as Georgia, Idaho, New Mexico, Tennessee, or Wyoming. And if these don't match your current location, Dreambound simplifies the journey by helping you easily search and compare Surgical Technician classes using just your zip code. With commitment and the right resources like Dreambound, entering healthcare is possible from anywhere.

How do I get my Surgical Technician certification?

Becoming a Surgical Technician is a rewarding career choice for individuals who are interested in the medical field and have a passion for helping others. Surgical Technicians, also known as Operating Room Technicians or Scrub Technicians, play a crucial role in the operating room by assisting surgeons and nurses during surgical procedures.

To become a certified Surgical Technician, you must complete a formal education program and pass a certification exam. Here are the steps you need to follow to obtain your Surgical Technician certification:

  1. Research Accredited Programs: Start by researching and identifying accredited Surgical Technician programs. Accreditation ensures that the program meets certain standards of education and training. Look for programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

  2. Complete a Surgical Technician Program: Enroll in a Surgical Technician program that meets your educational needs and goals. These programs can typically be completed in 9 to 24 months, depending on whether you choose a certificate, diploma, or associate degree program. During your program, you will learn about surgical procedures, sterile techniques, anatomy, medical terminology, and patient care.

  3. Gain Hands-on Experience: Most Surgical Technician programs include a clinical component where you will gain hands-on experience in a healthcare setting. This clinical experience is essential for applying the knowledge and skills you learned in the classroom to real-life situations. It also provides an opportunity to network with professionals in the field and gain valuable references for future job applications.

  4. Apply for Certification: After completing your Surgical Technician program, you are eligible to apply for certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) or the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). The certification exam assesses your knowledge and skills in various areas, such as patient care, surgical procedures, and sterile techniques. Passing the exam demonstrates your competency as a Surgical Technician.

  5. Maintain Certification: Once you pass the certification exam, you will need to maintain your certification by meeting certain requirements, such as continuing education credits. This ensures that you stay updated with the latest advancements and best practices in the field.

It's important to note that certification requirements may vary by state. Some states may have additional requirements, such as licensure or registration. Therefore, it's essential to research the specific requirements of the state in which you plan to practice as a Surgical Technician.

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How do I get a job as a Surgical Technician?

After obtaining your Surgical Technician certification, the next step is to find a job in the field. Here are some tips to help you secure a job as a Surgical Technician:

  1. Build a Professional Resume: Create a well-written resume that highlights your education, clinical experience, and any relevant certifications. Tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying for, showcasing your skills and qualifications that align with the job requirements.

  2. Network: Utilize your network of classmates, instructors, and healthcare professionals you met during your clinical experience. They may be able to provide job leads, recommend you for positions, or offer guidance on the job search process. Additionally, consider joining professional organizations, such as the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), to expand your network and access job opportunities.

  3. Apply for Positions: Search for Surgical Technician job openings on job boards, hospital websites, and healthcare staffing agencies. Tailor your application materials to each job you apply for, highlighting the skills and experiences that make you a strong candidate. Follow up with employers after submitting your application to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the position.

  4. Prepare for Interviews: Research common interview questions for Surgical Technicians and practice your responses. Be prepared to discuss your technical skills, teamwork abilities, and experiences working in high-pressure environments. Dress professionally, arrive on time, and bring copies of your resume and certifications to the interview.

  5. Continuing Education: Stay current in your field by pursuing continuing education opportunities. This not only helps you stay updated with the latest advancements in surgical technology but also demonstrates your commitment to professional growth and development. Continuing education can be obtained through conferences, workshops, online courses, or advanced certifications.

  6. Consider Specialization: As you gain experience as a Surgical Technician, you may have the opportunity to specialize in a specific area, such as neurosurgery, orthopedics, or cardiovascular surgery. Specializing can enhance your skills, open up new career opportunities, and potentially lead to higher salaries.

Remember, the job market for Surgical Technicians may vary by location. Consider exploring job opportunities in different healthcare settings, such as hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, or ambulatory care facilities, to increase your chances of finding a job.

Career Paths and Opportunities after Becoming a Surgical Technician

Becoming a Surgical Technician can lead to various career paths and opportunities for advancement within the healthcare industry. Here are some potential career paths you can pursue after gaining experience as a Surgical Technician:

  1. First Assistant: With additional education and training, Surgical Technicians can become First Assistants. First Assistants work closely with surgeons during procedures, providing exposure, hemostasis, and suturing. This role requires advanced knowledge and skills in surgical techniques and patient care.

  2. Surgical Technology Instructor: Experienced Surgical Technicians can transition into teaching roles, training future generations of Surgical Technicians. This career path allows you to share your knowledge and passion for the field while contributing to the education and development of others.

  3. Surgical Technology Sales Representative: Surgical Technology Sales Representatives work for medical device companies, promoting and selling surgical equipment and supplies. This role requires a deep understanding of surgical procedures, as well as excellent communication and sales skills.

  4. Surgical Services Supervisor/Manager: With experience and leadership skills, Surgical Technicians can advance into supervisory or managerial roles within surgical departments. In these positions, you would be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations, managing staff, and ensuring the efficient and safe delivery of surgical services.

  5. Operating Room Nurse: Some Surgical Technicians choose to further their education and become Registered Nurses. With a background in surgical technology, these individuals bring valuable knowledge and skills to the nursing profession, particularly in surgical and perioperative settings.

It's important to note that the availability of these career paths may vary by location and the specific healthcare facility you work for. Additionally, pursuing advanced education, such as a bachelor's or master's degree in a related field, can further expand your career opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a Surgical Technician requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to lifelong learning. By completing a formal education program, obtaining certification, and gaining hands-on experience, you can enter the field and start a rewarding career in healthcare.

Remember to research accredited programs, network with professionals in the field, and tailor your job applications to each position you apply for. Continuing education and specialization can also enhance your career prospects and open up new opportunities for advancement.

Whether you choose to remain a Surgical Technician or pursue a different career path within the healthcare industry, your skills and knowledge as a Surgical Technician will always be in demand. So, take the first step towards your Surgical Technician certification and embark on a fulfilling career in healthcare.

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Athena Kan
Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

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