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How long does it take to become a Surgical Tech?

Share your journey & guide aspiring Surgical Techs on their path!

Note: We've seen a lot of interest in this career, so we're looking for guidance from our community of professionals.

Thank you comment icon It depends by jurisdictions, state, etc You have to inform Giacomo Paini

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Doc’s Answer

Some medical professions require years of classes and internships before you can start working in your field. Surgical Technologists, however, can complete their surgical tech programs within 18 to 24 months.
Less school means less debt. Since you don’t have to commit to four to six years of education, you can avoid taking out huge loans that eat away at your earnings.

SURGICAL TECH
EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS
Associate degrees typically take students between 18 and 24 months to complete. Unlike with certificates and diplomas, an associate degree in surgical technology will include coursework in general science, English, and math. These are often completed at community colleges, but can also be found at technical and vocational schools and even some universities.
Surgical technologist programs require candidates to hold a high school diploma or GED at minimum. Some schools might require prerequisite courses ranging from biology to English, and it’s likely that you’ll need to complete a course in CPR as well. Because your education also includes hands-on experience with patients, many schools require students to complete a criminal background check before beginning the program.

No matter what program you choose, it must be accredited by either the CAAHEP or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) if you want to be eligible to take the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam. Some states require CST certification for the employment of surgical technologists, but even if your state doesn’t, you’ll likely come across employers who will expect you to be a CST.

WORKING ENVIRONMENT
Surgical technologists work in hospital operating rooms, outpatient centers, and doctors’ offices. They spend much of their working day in the operating room, preparing for, assisting with, and cleaning up after surgeries. It can become quite warm working under surgical lights in the operating room, especially wearing sterile surgical gowns and gloves. The surgical technologist will need to stand for long periods of time, and must remain alert and ready for anything during operations.
Surgical technologists typically work full-time, which may include nights, weekends, holidays, and on-call work.
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Marvin Anthony’s Answer

A surgical tech would begin their career with an Associate degree that will prepare them to take the NBSTSA CST or NCCT-TC examination and become certified in the field. Many people have taken this route though few have managed to get on the job training and are able to find jobs. To be experienced and confident, it will take another few years before anyone really recognizes your skill and marketability. The best way to start, is to talk with a surgical tech who could explain in more detail.

Marvin Anthony recommends the following next steps:

Apply at local college. Find surgical techs to talk about the field.
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