Surgical Technologist School

What courses will be included in surgical technologist programs?

Training through most surgical technologist schools will take as many as two years when pursing an associate’s level degree, or as few as nine months as is the case for certificate programs. These programs involve didactic classroom instruction, but the more crucial experiential component of these programs comes from clinical exposure. Didactic courses that are a standard part of these programs would include microbiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, professional ethics, physiology, and anatomy.

The clinical component of surgical technologist programs will involve more specialized skill-based training that would include sterilization techniques, surgical procedures, patient assessment methods, drug and instrument handling techniques, as well as methods by which to prevent and control infection.

What are the skills taught through surgical technologist schools?

The skill training that will be a standard part of all programs offered by surgical technologist schools will prepare graduates for the core function of surgical tech work. Some of the trained skills will include:

  • Dressing a closed incision
  • Pre-surgery patient prep
  • Post-operative operating room clean up
  • Isolating proper instruments for surgery
  • Patient transfer to and from the operating room
  • Pre-closure count of surgical instruments

What specialized training is reserved for circulating surgical technologists?

Surgical techs can be trained in a number of different capacities. A higher level of surgical technologist training can prepare techs for the specialized role of circulating surgical technologist. This is a role that requires a greater level of involvement during the surgical procedure, though these professionals are no less involved in pre-operative and post-operative patient care.

During surgery, a circulating surgical technologist will actively assess the needs of both the patient and the operating room staff. The assessment may involve everything from monitoring a patient’s vital signs and comfort level, to making certain the surgeon and anesthesiologist are well accommodated and properly supplied with all necessary items. Specialized training provided to aspiring circulating surgical technologists would include:

  • Assisting with anesthesia prior to and during surgery
  • Patient assessment during surgery
  • Patient reassurance during surgery
  • Electrocautery clamping
  • Monitoring patient charts during surgery
  • Suction and sponge application during surgery
  • Maintaining records during surgery
  • Holding retractors during surgery

How can surgical technologists advance through additional training?

Advanced levels of training and the time spent in school are directly related to advancement and opportunities for moving into more specialized surgical technologist jobs. The specialized work of circulating surgical technologists is reserved for those who have aspired to bachelor’s level training. Those who are interested in moving out of the operating room pay pursue managerial positions within a hospital or clinic as the head of the central supply department. However, most who choose this profession express an interest in higher levels of responsibility and involvement during surgical procedures. Through more advanced training and job experience, surgical technologists can also aspire to becoming surgical assistants where they’ll work as the right hand to a hospital’s resident surgeon.

Surgical Technologist Schools