Surgical technicians as autopsy assistants

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Mary Ellen in Las Vegas, Nevada

94 months ago

Do surgical technicians make better forensic autopsy assistants/technicians or do nurses get careers in that field more easily? I am currently going to school for criminal justice and surgical tech to be a forensic autopsy technician, as there are no special certificates or degrees for this sort of thing, and am wondering if nursing is a better route for me. Do surg techs do better in this capacity or has anyone assisted at the medical examiners office during internshipthat might clue me in?

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prospectiveadmin in Greenfield, Indiana

94 months ago

I think you are reaching a bit here.

I am not aware that you need to be anything, nurse, tech, etc., to do what it is you are referencing.

As far as which makes a better surgical scrub, techs are formally educated in surgery, nurses are on the job trained. Carrying this over to doing autopsies where no meds are administered and no sterile technique is required, as well as no necessary knowledge of the hundreds of surgical procedures, would seem to make a nurse or tech being the autopsy assistant to be way overkill.

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Jackie in Tampa

93 months ago

I think being a surgical Tech would be benefical because of knowledge of the anatomy. I have been a Tech for 14yrs. I am currently looking into working in the Medical Examiner's office as a Autospy Assit. But the positions dont come available very often. I'm open for any advice about this or what I could do to look into this further. Thanks.

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Mary Ellen in Las Vegas, Nevada

93 months ago

Jackie in Tampa said: I think being a surgical Tech would be benefical because of knowledge of the anatomy. I have been a Tech for 14yrs. I am currently looking into working in the Medical Examiner's office as a Autospy Assit. But the positions dont come available very often. I'm open for any advice about this or what I could do to look into this further. Thanks.

Thank you for your input. You gave me a more optimistic view than the last reply.

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Jill in Springboro, Ohio

91 months ago

I am an MLT who started out my education as a Surgical Tech. I too have been wondering the same thing. I am fascinated by this career and want to learn more. I have had difficulty finding any definitive educational requirements or certifications on the internet. Any advice would be helpful, as I want to pursue a Bachelors, but would like to take classes that would help me get a job as an autopsy assistant in the future. I would think sterile technique would still be required for autopsies, is it not? Arent specimens taken sometimes for further pathological or microbiological review? I dont know anything about it but it seems like sterile technique would still be involved. Any information would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

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Mary Ellen in Las Vegas, Nevada

91 months ago

I agree with you 100%, Jill. I'm currently taking the MLT program at the college and also a certificate in criminal justice. It's a start. They do have some online courses for forensic science, though. Good luck to you on your pursuit.

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Jill in Springboro, Ohio

91 months ago

Thanks! Ironically, last night I also happened across an article from a local newspaper that just this past week, a county near me decided to reopen their medical examiner's office, rather than contract out to another county like they have been doing. And they are hiring techs! Unfortunately, they want either a high school diploma and one year experience in a pathology lab, OR a Bachelors Degree, OR five years experience in a pathology lab. I am going to submit a resume anyways and see what happens. I love the MLT field, but I was always interested in the mortuary sciences and patho. I will keep you posted.

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Jill in Springboro, Ohio

91 months ago

Jackie in Tampa said: I think being a surgical Tech would be benefical because of knowledge of the anatomy. I have been a Tech for 14yrs. I am currently looking into working in the Medical Examiner's office as a Autospy Assit. But the positions dont come available very often. I'm open for any advice about this or what I could do to look into this further. Thanks.

Hi. I was wondering, does your hospital offer the opportunity for techs to sit in on an autopsy? Is there any way you could talk to the pathologist there and ask him how to pursue that career? I think that is what I am going to do at the hospital I am currently at. I am training at a smaller campus but when they move me over to the larger one, where they perform autopsies regularly, I am going to ask to sit in and then ask questions. Good luck!

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Jackie in Tampa

91 months ago

Hi Jill, Thanks for your reply. That is a good idea and I have breifly talked to the pathologist about it and he was kinda talking me out of trying at the Medical Examiners office, said it wasn't a pretty sight but I would still like to check it out. I tried at the hospital I work at and supposedley they dont go into great detail there. I'll continue to try other ways. Good luck to you too, keep in touch with what you decide to do. Thanks again, Jackie

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Craig in Columbus, Ohio

91 months ago

Jill in Springboro, Ohio said: I am an MLT who started out my education as a Surgical Tech. I too have been wondering the same thing. I am fascinated by this career and want to learn more. I have had difficulty finding any definitive educational requirements or certifications on the internet. Any advice would be helpful, as I want to pursue a Bachelors, but would like to take classes that would help me get a job as an autopsy assistant in the future. I would think sterile technique would still be required for autopsies, is it not? Arent specimens taken sometimes for further pathological or microbiological review? I dont know anything about it but it seems like sterile technique would still be involved. Any information would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

Specimens for pathology do not need to be sterile. In fact, there is no sterile technique whatsoever in an autopsy. Having surgical tech training for being an autopsy assistant isn't required, or necessary.

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Grant in Las Vegas, Nevada

90 months ago

I work for a pathology lab now as a lic. lab asst. I know here in Las Vegas you have to have a BS and do some OJT in order to get your autopsy tech lic. If you really want to know what your state or county requires call the medical examiners office they can tell you everything you need to know. You may have to start out as a volunteer till a position opens up. Good luck to you all.

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Neil Herring in Clinton, North Carolina

89 months ago

I am also interested in this field and hoping to find the avenue to get me in there. I am taking classes in criminal justice and wondering how to incorporate this into autopsy exams. I do know that sterile technique is used in autopsy procedures because of the specimens that they collect for trace and other needs.

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JP in Ft Mitchell, Kentucky

89 months ago

I am a forensic autopsy tech and I have a degree in mortuary science. I think any of the degrees that have extensive human anatomy classes will work the best. Our area likes to use Mortuary science student because of the comfort with the dead bodies.

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Mary Ellen in Las Vegas, Nevada

89 months ago

Thank you JP in Kentucky. I appreciate the insight. Mortuary Science is really where my heart is at. Caring for the decedents families wishes and preparing him/her at their end of life is the occupation that most calls to me, but unfortunately, where I live does not have any Mortuary sciences programs. My husband and I plan to move to Philadelphia, where they have a great one and will be enrolling as soon as I get there. Forensic autopsy tech is what I wanted to do in the meantime, because it is a search for truth. And I always search for the truth in all I do. Thanks again for the tip.

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kuietstorm in Irving, Texas

89 months ago

I am about to begin a program at Concorde Career Institute in Arlington, Texas. I've searched and search online to find information that will help me prepare for the program. Can anyone give me some insight as to what I'm about to get myself into? Also, can anyone give me some links to view different articles about ST?

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ann in Seattle, Washington

89 months ago

kuietstorm in Irving, Texas said: I am about to begin a program at Concorde Career Institute in Arlington, Texas. I've searched and search online to find information that will help me prepare for the program. Can anyone give me some insight as to what I'm about to get myself into? Also, can anyone give me some links to view different articles about ST?

Kuietstorm,

How easy was it to get into the ST program at Concorde? Did you have to take the Wordlic exam? When do you start? I am thinking of doing the ST program at Concorde too. Please keep me update on your progress.

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kuietstorm in Irving, Texas

89 months ago

Ann,

It was pretty easy despite the .NET exam. The .NET actually tripped me up because I hadn't taken a "timed" exam since taking the SAT and ACT so fortunately, I was able to retake the exam within a month. However, once I re-acclimated myself with everything, I passed without a problem. So, once you've passed the .NET, it home free. I did have to take the Wonderlic exam (which was a breeze). I'm going for my final review which consists of review financial aid, getting fitted for your scrubs and speaking with the Director of Admissions...it's like a mini orientation. I start classes on Feb. 4th 2008 and will complete the program on Mar. 6th 2009. Ann I'll be honest with you, I feel that the ST program will be a rewarding career however, it's going to require some major discipline and dedication on your part. My admissions rep indicated that it is a VERY intense course so you'll definitely have to prepare yourself. If you have any question about the admissions process or anything else for that matter, don't hesitate to email me.

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ann in Seattle, Washington

89 months ago

Kuietstorm,

I am aiming to enter Concorde's program for April 08 and finish in May of 09. However, I have already taken the Wonderlic exam but did not achieve a passing score, which I am a bit discouraged now. I didn't know you were required to take the NET exam, I only thought that was for the Nursing program according to my admiss. rep.

I would have to retake the Wonderlic exam again, what would you recommend to prepare that?

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kuietstorm in Irving, Texas

89 months ago

Ann,

Don't become discouraged about not achieving a passing score on the exam...it's nothing to beat yourself up about. I'm sure you are a very intelligent person and are able to put your fears about the exam behind you. Secondly, don't allow the devil to defeat you by making you feel like you can't do it. You can do it, just take your time and use critial thinking on some of the questions. The .NET is required however, check with your admissions rep again just to be for certain.

All the Wonderlic exam is, an exam that measures your common sense level (if you will). So, there is no real way to prepare for the Wonderlic exam. It's based on information that an individual has learned during their educational experience however, here is a link to view/use to help you prepare for some of the questions that are asked. www.professormoney.com/wonderlic%20sample%20test.htm & www.testprepreview.com/wonderlic_practice.htm When are you taking the Wonderlic exam again?

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ann in Seattle, Washington

89 months ago

Kuietstorm,

I'm not sure. Probably next week. The admission rep. made no reference to the NET exam, expect for the LPN, which I had gone in for originally.

I'm just a bit scared.

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ann in Seattle, Washington

89 months ago

i forgot to ask you when I was reviewing the course outline for ST at Concorde they mention about Program assement, do you know what that's about?

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kuietstorm in Irving, Texas

89 months ago

Ann,

Well, look over those two websites I gave you and that should help you out alot. Hmmm, that's weird that it wasn't mentioned to you. The .NET was the next exam I had to take once I passed the Wonderlic. Ann, don't be afraid, you'll be just fine. Program Assessment are exams that are administered after the completion of both ST310 and ST320 Clinical Practices. There will be one given after each clinical practice.

Just curious, why did you change you mind from LPN to ST?

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ann in Seattle, Washington

89 months ago

Kuietstorm,

I felt discouraged and the competivitness to score high on the NET exam in order to get a seat in the program. I don't test very well.

What got you interested in becoming a ST?

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kuietstorm in Irving, Texas

89 months ago

I can understand that. Concorde does require you to have a very high score on the .NET. FYI, there are courses you can utilize to gain some insight on the .NET exam. If I were you, I'd look into those courses just to help you with the exam. I'm not a really good test taker either but, once I dedicate my time and effort, I prevail.

ST became interesting to me because I like to be a part of the team where you feel like you've made a difference in someone's life other than taking their BP and administering meds. Also, ST will provide a rush especially in ER and that my dear is what make work exciting...there's never a dull moment.

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ann in Seattle, Washington

89 months ago

I totally understand the feeling of "rush."

How long ago did you take your exams? How long were was the NET exam? Have you had any experience in the medical field? I have a BA, and I just feel like my time is running out because I'm 28 and haven't really established a "career."

Thank you for taking the time to share your progress with me. I really appericate it. I didn't know one anyone on the forum that was considering Concorde to get their training from.

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kuietstorm in Irving, Texas

89 months ago

Ann,

The rush is want makes any job worth while in my opinion.

I intially took both the Wonderlic and .NET on October 9...passed the Wonderlic and missed the reading portion of the .NET by two points. I enrolled myself in a .NET prep course and I took the .NET again on Nov. 20th and passed both parts by increasing both scores by 10 points. The .NET is said to take 3hrs however, it took me 2hrs to complete all sections of the exam. I do have experience in the medical field which is why I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. I currently have a BA in Accounting but the profession just doesn't make me happy anymore. I can understand how you feel about your age and you feeling like you're running out of time, I feel the same also.

No problem, Ann. I don't mind speaking to or helping anyone accomplish their goals to make themselves a more successful person. Well, you know me now so feel free to contact me.

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ann in Seattle, Washington

89 months ago

Did you the .NET course through Concorde? How much do those courses cost?

Thanks for all the encouragements. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Please, you do the same.

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kuietstorm in Irving, Texas

89 months ago

No I didn't however, my admissions rep referred my to a local community college where they offered the course for $25. The course is 6hrs on a Saturday and you will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the day.

No problem. Everyone needs support so, if you need to talk, feel free to email me. I will most definitely keep you posted on my progress as I would hope you would.

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AshClarke in Jacksonville, Florida

85 months ago

I am currently a in a Surg Tech program with Concorde here in Jax. If anyone has any questions please e-mail me at Ashleyclarke1@yahoo.com Im sure I will seldom visit this site.

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Jenny in Sacramento, California

80 months ago

I currently work in a pathology lab and can say that specimens are taken to pathology to be grossed (described what is seen with the naked eye),then cut up in histology to be made into slides for pathologist to determine his/her microscopic diagnosis. In certain cases fresh portions of the specimen are sent to different laboratories for specific tests. Fresh specimens can be sent to the Clinical Lab, Microbiology lab, or other labs like Cytometry.
Most of the time I accession and prep specimens for the Pathologist's Assistant that come out of the OR such as gallbladders, appendixes, portions of colons, placentas, breast tissue, etc. We do perform autopsies about 20-30 times a year when either the doctor or the guardian/family requests an autopsy or when an autopsy needs to be done but the Coroner's office declines taking the case. Its an awesome job and I love what I do. My position only requires a strong stomach and classes in Anatomy and Physiology. The next level up, the Pathology Technician, requires a bachelors degree in the biological sciences. They do some brief and easy grossing . The next level above that is the Pathologist's Assistant. This now requires a masters degree at an American Academy of Pathologist's Assistants certified masters training program.

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deanne in Ann Arbor, Michigan

80 months ago

Jenny in Sacramento, California said: I currently work in a pathology lab and can say that specimens are taken to pathology to be grossed (described what is seen with the naked eye),then cut up in histology to be made into slides for pathologist to determine his/her microscopic diagnosis. In certain cases fresh portions of the specimen are sent to different laboratories for specific tests. Fresh specimens can be sent to the Clinical Lab, Microbiology lab, or other labs like Cytometry.
Most of the time I accession and prep specimens for the Pathologist's Assistant that come out of the OR such as gallbladders, appendixes, portions of colons, placentas, breast tissue, etc. We do perform autopsies about 20-30 times a year when either the doctor or the guardian/family requests an autopsy or when an autopsy needs to be done but the Coroner's office declines taking the case. Its an awesome job and I love what I do. My position only requires a strong stomach and classes in Anatomy and Physiology. The next level up, the Pathology Technician, requires a bachelors degree in the biological sciences. They do some brief and easy grossing . The next level above that is the Pathologist's Assistant. This now requires a masters degree at an American Academy of Pathologist's Assistants certified masters training program.

Jenny, what is your title where you work?
Thank you for your comments; they were quite interesting to me since I have a biology BS and am currently a lab tech for university teaching labs, and looking to do something different.

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Jenny in Sacramento, California

80 months ago

My title is Grossing Assistant. But I have seen the same position listed under titles such as Pathology Lab Assistant, Pathology Technician Assistant, and Lab Assistant Classified- Pathology.

That you have a Biology degree will help you a lot. I can see now how my choices are severely limited due to not having a biology degree.

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JILL in Caledonia, Michigan

80 months ago

Thank you for that information. It will help me make decisions as to what the next degree is that I want to obtain. I work at a small hospital that performs autopsies and will hopefully get a chance to sit in on a couple to see if I can handle it. I am a Med Tech but I know I will want to do something else in the future.

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PA Bob in Ann Arbor, Michigan

80 months ago

deanne in Ann Arbor, Michigan said: Jenny, what is your title where you work?
Thank you for your comments; they were quite interesting to me since I have a biology BS and am currently a lab tech for university teaching labs, and looking to do something different.

Hi Deanne,
I too am in Ann Arbor. I saw this thread and thought I could add a little. Check out the Wayne State website for Pathologists Assistant. It is the last Bachelors Program in the country for being a PA. Soon to be bumped up to a Masters but no word exactly as to when.

They only accept 10 each year. I will be starting the program in a few weeks. If you have any questions about the applying, what to do to prepare, ect. feel free to ask.

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jess

79 months ago

I am currently as surgical tech and have been in the o.r. now for 5 years. I REALLY want to assist during autopsises. Its what I have wanted to do for a while. How can I get my foot in the door? Does anyone know who I need to contact first? I really don't care to work in the lab I would just like to assist the autopsies.
Thanks!

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Jenny in Fair Oaks, California

79 months ago

I would like to know what you know for Surgical Technician. I want to get a part time position at the hospital where i work.

Best bet, show you have a good stomach, familiar with anatomy and have attention to detail and protect patient confidentiality. You have all the skills they are looking for, just be proactive about it. I was underexperienced but I showed them that I really wanted the job by studying pathology before the interview, signing up for classes to refresh my memory of some subjects, etc.

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jess in Moody, Alabama

79 months ago

jenny in fair oaks,
i went to a two year course and i have been scrubbing various cases up until about 3 years ago and now i work for a group of urologists. i love it and i love being in the operating room. they do on the job training at some hospitals. do you have o.r. experience yet? and are you now assisting autopsies? i am really interested in the forensic field. i just dont know who to speak with. if you are assisting autopsies how did you get your start??? i have extensive knowledge in anatomy and medical termonology due to my ST college background. i know that i have the skills and could handle the job and all the gross things that come along with the profession. also do you know a round about salary for autospy tech?
thanks

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cynthia binda in Edison, New Jersey

77 months ago

if anyone could give me some advise, i am trying to finsih my clinical hours atan endoscopic
center but it s not an operating room, where i need to keep up my skills and knowledge,

if you know a contact person i could possible talk to, who could help me know of a hospital
who will hire tech, will be taking my cst exam in 2009. i would appreciate any advise or help.

sincerely, cynthiA

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Thomas in Charlottesville, Virginia

76 months ago

I am a cert surg tech. After working in the OR for 10 years I was looking for a change. I applied as an autopsy tech at a local hospital and was basically hired on the spot. This was due to my vast knowledge of anatomy and disease process. After working there for a couple of months the department of aerospace engineering started doing some autopsies on there specimens. I became very interested and was invited to watch and come to their lab. This was fantastic. After a couple more months their autopsy person was moving and asked me if I would want his job. I jumped at this opportunity. And now I work for the department of aerospace engineering and love every moment of it.

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Mark in Yucaipa, California

74 months ago

I am an autopsy assisatnt at a coroners office for the past 20 years and I think that any of the degrees that any of you asking about to get into this feild would help all of you to get a job in this feild when they become available. That is the one problem with this feild is that they are hard to find. Thomas in Virginia it sounds like you have a great job. I work on about 2,000 cases a year, it seems that most hospital autopsy assitants work on less than 50 a year and get paid about the same as a forensic assistant. I feel there should be a change in that area not to say that they do less but the skill level is higher in the forensic area. If any of you have any questions please ask.

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theresa in Mansfield, Texas

73 months ago

kuietstorm in Irving, Texas said: I am about to begin a program at Concorde Career Institute in Arlington, Texas. I've searched and search online to find information that will help me prepare for the program. Can anyone give me some insight as to what I'm about to get myself into? Also, can anyone give me some links to view different articles about ST?

Dear Kuietstorm,
I am considering enrolling in Concorde for the ST program. I would really love your feedback about your experience with Concorde and your job search. I have never been in the medical field but would like to do something that made a difference. Any info you can give me would help. Thanks!

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dgonsalves 2 in Springfield, Illinois

67 months ago

Hello out there!

I have been a Surgical Technician for 20 years and have been certified as a First assistant for 6 years, I would love to change my current career into either a Forensic Autopsy or Autopsy Assistant/Technician position. I've been looking online all day to find a suitable school for this degree or certificate, where I can either combine my life experiences with my skills and education that I have now with some additional classes that would help me obtain a certificate as a Autopsy Technician or build on a Bachelors in the applied science degree. However,My thoughts on continuing education...Your never to old to learn! But the job industry says otherwise! At 51; Does anyone think this could or would be possible in this day and age. To make this change and still be employable when you finish school.
I would like to hear all your honest opinions. Also any potential employers;What do you say?! Is it age or experience!!! Thanks to all in advance who reply back;)

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Tam in Dahlgren, Virginia

67 months ago

dgonsalves 2 in Springfield, Illinois said: Hello out there!

I have been a Surgical Technician for 20 years and have been certified as a First assistant for 6 years, I would love to change my current career into either a Forensic Autopsy or Autopsy Assistant/Technician position. I've been looking online all day to find a suitable school for this degree or certificate, where I can either combine my life experiences with my skills and education that I have now with some additional classes that would help me obtain a certificate as a Autopsy Technician or build on a Bachelors in the applied science degree. However,My thoughts on continuing education...Your never to old to learn! But the job industry says otherwise! At 51; Does anyone think this could or would be possible in this day and age. To make this change and still be employable when you finish school.
I would like to hear all your honest opinions. Also any potential employers;What do you say?! Is it age or experience!!! Thanks to all in advance who reply back;)

Hi, I emailed the actual Chief Medical Examiner of my county and asked these same questions. He informed me that all autopsy technicians are trained on site. They are required to have knowledge in anatomy ( Anatomy and Physiology). He also stated that having a Surg tech degree as an autopsy assistant is a plus!! Good luck to you all.

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dgonsalves 2 in Springfield, Illinois

67 months ago

Hello,

I just wanted to thank you for E-mailing me back as soon as you did regarding the information on Autopsy Technician/Assistant. All of the information I have found online so far stated; A college degree in biology or nursing is required.I would love to be trained on site for this profession; "I would start tomorrow!... "just kidding"; OK!...not having to go four or more years of school;"That would be GREAT!
"Would it be possible for one of you to E-mail me back with a little more information about this on site training? If so,I would greatly appreciate any feedback I can get regarding who to contact and or where to go to find on site training. Again,Thank you so much for your time and help!

Respectfully,
D.Gonsalves

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amichelle in Columbus, Georgia

66 months ago

Hi, I am starting school to become a surgical tech. I stay in georgia. I was trying to get some feedback on the job market field as a surgical tech in Georgia.

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carla wiggins in Wallingford, Connecticut

66 months ago

amichelle in Columbus, Georgia said: Hi, I am starting school to become a surgical tech. I stay in georgia. I was trying to get some feedback on the job market field as a surgical tech in Georgia.[/

I am in the same position as you are when you find out any info please contact me at cateyes1@comcast.net thanks

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carla wiggins in Wallingford, Connecticut

66 months ago

I am a cna living in ct and is going to move to ga in november to go back to school for a refresher class as a phlybotomist and e.k.g. tech. I also will start classes for surgical tech in january. what is the chances of getting a job as a c.n.a.,patient care tech and surgical tech at my age 51 i love the medical field thats why i decided to stay in it. what is the pay like compared to ct.Are there full benifit jobs? please contact me at cateyes1@comcast.net thanks

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Redd in Columbus, Georgia

66 months ago

carla wiggins in Wallingford, Connecticut said: I am a cna living in ct and is going to move to ga in november to go back to school for a refresher class as a phlybotomist and e.k.g. tech. I also will start classes for surgical tech in january. what is the chances of getting a job as a c.n.a.,patient care tech and surgical tech at my age 51 i love the medical field thats why i decided to stay in it. what is the pay like compared to ct.Are there full benifit jobs? please contact me at cateyes1@comcast.net thanks

Hi, There are a lot of CNA positions here in Georgia.

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carla wiggins in Wallingford, Connecticut

66 months ago

Hi redd thanks for the reply. I still need to know where are the jobs for c.n.a I will be moving to conyers ga and i know that covington,stone mountain ga are close to conyers. Do you have any contact names and numbers of agencys or companies? I prefer working in a hospital,but i have over 33 yrs as a c.n.a. with experience in home care,curently working in nursing home,worked at georgetown university hospital for two yrs before moving back to ct. private-duty I just want to be able to line up a job before i get there (part-time) thanks carla

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cynthia in East Brunswick, New Jersey

66 months ago

i am asurgical tech i work for a hospital as spd tech. considering
going to college for my rn. newly graduated from receiving my st degree. do you think rn is the right decision . can you give me some advise.

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