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What are the requirements for a CST

I am wanting to become a certified surgical tech. I am finishing basics right now but want more on traveling surgical tech vs just working in area hospital. ##surgical-technology #medicine #surgery #healthcare #hospital-and-health-care

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Axel’s Answer

I’ve been doing this for almost 4 years now.
If you truly want to be a great travel CST, id suggest gaining as much experience from as many services within the OR as possible. Although it is possible to get a contract as a travel ST without any work/paid experience, you’ll be doing yourself, the contractor, the patient, and the staff a disservice by working as a travel Tech with no experience. In all honesty, majority of places make travel techs work the hardest cases, the longest cases, the more involved cases and the cases nobody wants to be in, the most. So in that case you’ll have to know your stuff in order to be as successful as possible. Going into traveling straight out of school is highly discouraged.
Gain experience from a hospital first and be in all services (ESPECIALLY orthopedics, vascular, ophthalmology, Neuro, and spine) for about 2 years minimum. Once you feel like you can safely be in a vast majority of cases and services, you should be OK to start considering a travel assignment. Now there’s specially travel assignments in which you can choose to be in just one service, those services are usually CVOR which encompasses Peripheral Vascular, Cardiac (Open Heart Surgery), EndoVascular and Thoracic surgery (Open, VATS, Robotic). Orthopedic surgery which encompasses Sports surgery, Ortho Trauma, Ortho Spine and Joints.
Ophthalmic surgery. And Neuro/Spine.
In those contracts, usually those really experienced in those specialties are preferred for those contracts.
I hope this was some help.

Axel recommends the following next steps:

Become certified. Preferably through NBSTSA.
Obtain a job at a Hospital, not ASC.
Work all services, do not specialize in a service right off the bat.
Work a minimum of 2 years in all services and then apply to a Travel Agency and obtain a contract.

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Leobardo’s Answer

well since you are doing basics, that's a degreed CST. there are two types of certification.

one through NCCT. ( trade school) non degree accelerated and about 13 months to complete , and the other through a college ( generally a community college), a two year program.

Mine being through NCCT , I so far have not had any issues with being employable in the state of Texas.

the degree route will help to advance to a team lead/ supervisor role and possibly more wage negotiation power.

they both perform the same duties in the surgical setting. the main goal is to get experience under as many services as you can ( the broader the base the taller the tower), you will be very employable after two years experience.

you may like one specialty than the others, but learn the one you dislike the most, it's not fun being scrubbed in, the surgeon wants instruments you know nothing about.

if you have no family commitments, maximize your earnings by travel, but get advice, no travel assignment is the same nor pays the same.

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Carlos’s Answer

CST is a great career. I suggest once you are done, you find a job locally. Learn As many specialties as possible. It’ll make you more valuable. You’ll have more opportunities and the ability to climb up the ladder. Once you get at least a year or two in, you can try traveling. Start locally, give yourself a good rep. Then try going outta state. Make sure your contract is enough to cover your stay and expenses. You never know, you may find a place you’d like to relocate to.

Carlos recommends the following next steps:

Finish tech school
Find work asap
Learn as much as you can do that you can rack up your experience

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Oakley’s Answer

You’re on the right track if you’re in a surgical technology program. I highly recommend getting 2 years of experience before traveling. Travel companies seek at least 1 year experience but you’re more likely to be hired if you have two years. I also suggest getting cardiac experience before traveling. You will make more money and get more job offers. If you don’t want to do cardiac, then I would be well versed in all general, orthopedic, and neuro cases. Robots are in high demand, so learn robotic GYN, urology, and general cases. Even thoracic. The more you can scrub, the better. It’s really about comfort ability. It takes a few years to really learn how to anticipate, and though you may feel you have enough experience to float through a contract, two years will benefit you and your patients more. When traveling, you’ll be expecting to be good with three days of orientation and you will have to scrub wherever they put you. Travelers should be the most knowledgeable, and should be able to scrub anything.

I hope this helps! Get a job in a bigger teaching hospital, preferably a research facility and a trauma center. This will prepare you the best for traveling. If you’re looking for per diem travel (shift by shift basis in smaller surgery centers) then this isn’t as important. But if you want 13-week contracts in hospitals, I’d start here.

Best of luck!

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Michelle’s Answer

Your school can and will provide any information regarding CST exam. If your like me and not certified after 25 years. Well it cost 500$ and you on line to get that information.

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

Work in the industry for a good year. Gain your experience before traveling. Travelers must have experience in ortho, totals. Learn that.and you will be able to go anyplace you want.

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Dat’s Answer

I believe in order to be a CST, experiences count the most. The more experiences the better you are. If you are not experienced with CST, you'll need to have an education on surgical technology program to get the license. Last, being passionate with science and surgical technology at any point. In conclusion:

  1. Experience
  2. CST license / education
  3. Passion


<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">“CST Certification.” </span>The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">, www.nbstsa.org/cst-certification.</span>

Dat recommends the following next steps:

Let's get started and experience it!

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Ruth’s Answer

You must have completed an accredited program for surgical technology then you can apply for certification exam . If you are currently in a program this process usually is or will be accommodated by that program. Many of the facilities are making certification a requirement for employment. You can go to NBSTSA. Homepage

I hope this is helpful. This is a job that required emotional stamina and caring. I hope your up for it. The reward is very gratifying.

Good Luck!

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Erick’s Answer

To be certified

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Christina’s Answer

At least 1 year of experience is needed to become a traveling tech, I suggest working at either a smaller state hospital for good experience and on job training. If you would like training in emergency surgery then I would suggest bigger medical centers.

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Leobardo’s Answer

Find a trauma level one hospital, the more you get under your belt the better, and get at least two years experience in it. Most agencies will not take you with less. Unless they know you worked at a place like Parkland hospital Dallas, they get everything under the sun there.

At a level one you won't come across everything but it should be a good foundation, also get experience in a surgery center, the speed and efficiency will help you tremendously in prioritizing how you do things!

Leobardo recommends the following next steps:

Get 2 years at least, one year may not cut it. Especially a level 1 trauma center. Do not touch l&d untill you have experience (l&d is not true tech experience )
Talk to other agency techs to see how to negotiate, that may be your biggest weakness.

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Rana’s Answer

Most travel companies want at least 1 year of experience and certification. They also want you to be well rounded with different specialties. Since robotics is very common now, it is best you know all the aspects of it. Neuro and ortho are what get your foot in the door as well. You really want to work in a hospital setting first. Surgery centers do not give you the best experience as a new grad, and the cases are short and fast paced.

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Brian’s Answer

Typical requirements include two year associate degree and certification as a surgical technician

Brian recommends the following next steps:

Make sure your school is regionally accredited
Get at least one year acute care general surgery experience
Pick a specialty that you enjoy such as plastic surgery or cardiovascular
continue your education as a CFA certified first assistant
Maximize your salary by taking traveling assignments and crossing picket lines