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How closely related are Surgical Technicians and Emergency Physican's Assistant? and which college would be best if I wanted to pursue those career fields?

I have narrowed my career choices down to either becoming a surgical technician or an emergency physican's assistant but I cant make a choice because both seem to fit me perfectly? #college #medicine #emergency-medicine #surgical-assisting #pharmacy-technicians

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Leo’s Answer

this question was posted in 2016, I'm sure you chose a great career.

having said that , they both work with the surgeon in surgery, the difference is , education and income for the PA is that they will do more clinical ( hands on with patient ) than a CST.

the PA can round ( see patients post/pre op) for the surgeon.

the surgical tech is there to allocate most everything that is needed during the surgical case and then break it down to set up for the next case. in short they will strictly stay in the surgical/O.R setting.

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Stephanie’s Answer

What do you want to do long-term? Some states require the national certification for surgical technology in order to practice in that state. That in turn means that you must enroll and complete a program that is credentialed and accepted by the NBSTSA, then take the national test. I am a CST. I have not been working as such and am currently working on my masters in public health. That did help give me a stable informed background that can be applied through experience. Depending upon where you work, duties of a ST will vary greatly and certain specialties are more desired than others such as orthopedics. Hospital, outpatient surgery centers and some clinics will utilize a CST. This can be a stressful field, yet emergency medicine is also. As to PA's, I've only worked with PA's that attained their BS through the PA program or went to the PA program after having completed a BS. Many PA's work in the clinic setting and occasionally in surgery. When in surgery they are only there as an assistant to the surgeon during the surgical procedure. I am not familiar with EPA's.


I would advise checking the NBSTSA site; https://www.nbstsa.org and the AST site; http://www.ast.org

for more information on CST. There you can also find information on First Assisting.

Stephanie recommends the following next steps:

Ask to volunteer at a hospital. Tell them the two areas you are interested in as a career. You might score several interviews and perhaps even spend some time in those areas.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Roniah,

Surgical technicians and Emergency Physician Assistants (PAs) are not closely related in terms of their roles and responsibilities.

Surgical Technicians: Surgical technicians, also known as surgical technologists, work in operating rooms alongside surgeons and nurses. They assist in surgical procedures by preparing the operating room, sterilizing equipment, handing instruments to surgeons, and ensuring a safe surgical environment.

Emergency Physician’s Assistants: Emergency PAs work in emergency departments under the supervision of physicians. They assess patients, order diagnostic tests, provide treatment, suture wounds, and assist in emergency medical procedures.

While both careers are essential in healthcare settings, they have distinct job duties and educational requirements. To pursue a career as a surgical technician, you typically need a certificate or associate degree from a community college or technical school. On the other hand, becoming an Emergency PA requires a bachelor’s degree followed by completion of a PA program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

If you are interested in pursuing either career field:

For Surgical Technology: Consider colleges that offer accredited programs such as Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne or Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).

For Emergency Physician Assistant: Look into universities with reputable PA programs like Butler University in Indianapolis or Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Ultimately, your choice should align with your interests, career goals, and preferred work environment.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used:

Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA): Provides accreditation to physician assistant programs to ensure they meet established standards for quality education.

Ivy Tech Community College: A reputable community college offering various healthcare programs including Surgical Technology.

Butler University: Known for its distinguished PA program with a focus on producing competent healthcare professionals.

God Bless You, Richly, JC.
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