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How to Become a Surgical Technician in New Jersey

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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 functions smoothly and safely. Some of their responsibilities include:

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

  • Assisting surgeons during procedures by passing instruments and supplies.

  • Monitoring patients' vital signs and providing support as needed.

  • Handling specimens for laboratory analysis.

  • Maintaining a sterile environment in the operating room.

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Where does a Surgical Technician work?

Surgical technicians can work in various healthcare settings, including:

  • Hospitals: They are a vital part of surgical teams in both general and specialized hospitals.

  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers: These facilities focus on providing outpatient surgical care.

  • Physician Offices: Some surgical technicians work directly with surgeons in their private practices.

  • Labor and Delivery Units: They may assist with cesarean sections and other obstetric procedures.

How to Become a Surgical Technician in New Jersey?

To become a Surgical Technician in New Jersey, one must first complete an accredited educational program, typically a diploma or associate's degree. Next, individuals must obtain certification by passing the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam. Once certified, they can then search for job opportunities in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and surgical centers, to start earning a competitive salary.

What are the requirements to become a Surgical Technician in New Jersey?

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

  • Education: You must complete 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 not mandatory, obtaining certification can enhance job prospects. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) offers the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential.

  • Legal Requirements: New Jersey does not have specific licensure requirements for surgical technicians. However, you may need to pass a background check and meet certain immunization requirements.

Exploring a Career in Surgical Technician Outside New Jersey

For those inspired to become a Surgical Technician but living in a different state, achieving your ambition is still very much a possibility. You could explore becoming a Surgical Technician in Florida, Maine, Missouri, Utah, or Wyoming. And if you're not near any of these, Dreambound is here to assist by offering an easy way to find and compare Surgical Technician classes by entering your zip code. With the right mindset and resources like Dreambound, starting a career in healthcare is possible from any place.

How do I get my Surgical Technician certification?

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a Surgical Technician, it is important to understand the steps involved in obtaining the necessary certification. Becoming a certified Surgical Technician not only enhances your job prospects but also ensures that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in this field.

Here are the steps to follow in order to get your Surgical Technician certification:

  1. Research the requirements: The first step is to research the specific requirements for becoming a Surgical Technician in your state. Each state may have different requirements, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations in your area. In addition, you should also research the certification requirements set by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), as this is the most recognized certification for Surgical Technicians.

  2. Complete an accredited program: The next step is to enroll in an accredited Surgical Technician program. These programs are offered by vocational schools, community colleges, and universities. It is important to choose a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). These accreditations ensure that the program meets the necessary standards and will provide you with the education and training needed to become a competent Surgical Technician.

  3. Complete the required clinical experience: Along with completing the educational component, you will also need to gain hands-on experience through a clinical internship or externship. This will give you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-life surgical settings. The duration of the clinical experience may vary, but it typically ranges from 120 to 600 hours, depending on the program and state requirements.

  4. Prepare for the certification exam: Once you have completed the educational and clinical requirements, you will need to prepare for the certification exam. The NBSTSA offers the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam, which is the most widely recognized certification in the field. The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that cover various aspects of surgical technology. It is important to study and review all the relevant topics to ensure that you are well-prepared for the exam.

  5. Take and pass the certification exam: After thorough preparation, you can schedule and take the CST exam. The exam is computer-based and can be taken at authorized testing centers across the country. Upon passing the exam, you will be awarded the CST designation, which demonstrates your competency as a Surgical Technician.

  6. Maintain your certification: Once you have obtained your certification, it is important to maintain it by fulfilling the continuing education requirements set by the NBSTSA. This ensures that you stay up-to-date with the latest advancements and best practices in the field. Continuing education courses and activities can be completed through various approved providers, including professional conferences, workshops, and online courses.

By following these steps, you can obtain your Surgical Technician certification and embark on a rewarding career in the healthcare field.

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How do I get a job as a Surgical Technician?

Once you have obtained your Surgical Technician certification, the next step is to secure a job in this field. As a Surgical Technician, you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, outpatient centers, and ambulatory surgical centers. Here are some steps to help you land a job as a Surgical Technician:

  1. Build a strong resume: Your resume is the first impression that potential employers will have of you, so it is important to make it stand out. Highlight your educational background, clinical experience, and any relevant certifications or specialized training. Include any relevant skills, such as knowledge of surgical instruments, sterile techniques, and patient care.

  2. Network: Networking is a valuable tool for finding job opportunities in any field. Attend professional conferences, workshops, and job fairs to connect with other professionals in the healthcare industry. Join professional organizations, such as the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), to gain access to networking events and job boards.

  3. Utilize online job search platforms: There are several online job search platforms that cater specifically to healthcare professionals. Websites such as Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn have dedicated sections for healthcare jobs. Create a profile, upload your resume, and start searching for Surgical Technician positions in your area.

  4. Contact local hospitals and surgical centers: Reach out directly to hospitals and surgical centers in your area to inquire about job openings. Many healthcare facilities have their own job boards or HR departments that handle the hiring process. Submit your resume and cover letter to these organizations, and follow up with a phone call or email to express your interest.

  5. Prepare for interviews: Once you start receiving interview invitations, it is important to prepare thoroughly. Research the organization and familiarize yourself with their surgical department and procedures. Review common interview questions and practice your responses. Be prepared to discuss your educational background, clinical experience, and any relevant skills or certifications.

  6. Consider additional certifications: While not always required, obtaining additional certifications can enhance your job prospects and make you a more competitive candidate. For example, you may consider obtaining the Certified Surgical First Assistant (CSFA) certification, which allows you to assist surgeons directly during surgical procedures. This additional certification can open up new opportunities and potentially lead to higher salaries.

By following these steps and being proactive in your job search, you can increase your chances of securing a job as a Surgical Technician.

Career Paths and Opportunities after Becoming a Surgical Technician

Becoming a Surgical Technician opens the door to various career paths and opportunities within the healthcare industry. While many Surgical Technicians work in hospitals and surgical centers, there are other avenues to explore. Here are some career paths and opportunities you can consider after becoming a Surgical Technician:

  1. Specialize in a specific surgical field: As a Surgical Technician, you may have the opportunity to specialize in a specific surgical field, such as orthopedics, neurology, or cardiovascular surgery. Specializing in a specific field allows you to develop expertise and knowledge in that area, making you a valuable asset in surgical teams.

  2. Pursue further education: If you are interested in advancing your career, you may consider pursuing further education in a related field. For example, you can pursue a degree in Surgical Assisting, which allows you to work directly with surgeons during surgical procedures. This role involves more advanced tasks, such as suturing and wound closure. Additionally, you can pursue a nursing degree and become a Registered Nurse (RN) or pursue a degree in healthcare management to work in a managerial position within a surgical department.

  3. Explore teaching opportunities: If you have a passion for education, you may consider becoming a Surgical Technology instructor. Many vocational schools and community colleges offer Surgical Technician programs and are in need of qualified instructors. This role allows you to share your knowledge and skills with aspiring Surgical Technicians, while also staying connected to the field.

  4. Work in research and development: Another career path to consider is working in research and development within the medical device industry. Surgical Technicians have a deep understanding of surgical procedures and the instruments used, making them valuable contributors to the development and testing of new surgical technologies and devices.

  5. Pursue travel opportunities: Some Surgical Technicians choose to work as travel Surgical Technicians, also known as ""travelers"". These individuals work on short-term assignments in different healthcare facilities across the country. This allows them to gain experience in different settings and locations while enjoying the flexibility and adventure of travel.

  6. Consider leadership roles: With experience and further education, you can also explore leadership roles within surgical departments. These roles may include Surgical Technology supervisor, Surgical Services manager, or Director of Surgical Services. In these positions, you will be responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the surgical department, managing staff, and ensuring the highest quality of patient care.

The field of Surgical Technology offers a wide range of career paths and opportunities for growth and advancement. By exploring these options, you can find a career path that aligns with your interests and goals.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a Surgical Technician is a rewarding career choice for those interested in working in the healthcare field. By obtaining the necessary certification and gaining hands-on experience, you can enter this field with confidence and expertise. Remember to research the specific requirements in your state, complete an accredited program, and prepare for the certification exam. Once certified, you can start your job search by networking, utilizing online job search platforms, and contacting local healthcare facilities. Consider specializing in a specific surgical field, pursuing further education, or exploring teaching and research opportunities. With the right mindset and dedication, a career as a Surgical Technician can open doors to various paths and opportunities within the healthcare industry.

New Jersey is a great place to pursue a career as a Surgical Technician, with numerous healthcare facilities and job opportunities available. Whether you are just starting your journey or looking for a change, the field of Surgical Technology offers a promising future. Take the necessary steps to obtain your certification, gain experience, and explore the various career paths available. With hard work and dedication, you can build a successful and fulfilling career as a Surgical Technician in New Jersey.

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Athena Kan
Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

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