What are the best surgical technician qualifications and training to get ahead?

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Z in Dallas, Texas

50 months ago

Host said: What is the best training for becoming a surgical technician? What types of ongoing training or certifications are necessary to be an effective surgical technician?

What do non-traditional career paths look like?


Hate to disappoint u but surg tech is not what the schools and instructors make it out to be! 1st of all there are alot of accredited schools (yes even CAAHEP accredited) popping up everywhere so there are alot of new grads looking 4 work(contrary to what the schools and gov figures say). I was a recent grad from a CAAHEP accredited school, passed the nat board exam and all the hosp's (even the ones in the middle of nowhere) are looking 4 CST's with at least 2 yrs experience! If u don't believe me go to a job web site and call these hospitals and ask them if they have any jobs 4 someone with no exp! The private schools are very expensive except 4 your local junior college that offers that program. The fed stud loans will cover a very small portion of a priv schools tuition which means you will have 2 take out a huge private loan with a high interest rate! Also, the schools make the profession out to be glamorous but it's anything but that. The pay is not good 4 the working conditions u are exposed to. If you don't believe me go 2 your local large hosp, ask them if u could sit in on various surgeries for a 2 week period because u are thinking about becoming a CST (remember u are making a potentially life changing career choice) and want to see if its the right career for u. The OR atmosphere is very unpleasant. The surgeons (are very impressive people considering the amt of education, stress and are to be commended) but some can be moody and "mean" and if something goes wrong they will quickly blame u(a CST told me this)! Some of the OR nurses and CST's have strange personalities. A CST told me that this career attracts "mean people"! Z

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bumbleb2na in Kannapolis, North Carolina

50 months ago

I attended a surgical technology program at a private school, and while it was expensive, it didnt cost anywhere near $30,000. And yes, the school I attended is an accredited school. We were told from the get go that the OR is not a glamorous place to work...I mean really, how can you expect to be glamorous with a cap, gown ans gloves on sweating under the OR lights?! I also do not agree with the comment that this profession "attracts mean people" While it is true that you have some mean people, just as you do with any job, in my experience the majority of the people I have worked with have all been very nice, decent professional people. Some surgeons can be a little moody, but most are fine when they realize that you take your job seriously and can perform your job well. The OR is a world of it`s own, and you have to absolutely love that world and your part in it to be happy there, anyone who doesnt sadly chose the wrong career

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Z in Dallas, Texas

50 months ago

I guess that you are very fortunate to have found a job as a CST in a good working environment. I have had many CST's (not just my observation)tell me that the profession does attract "mean people". I challenge any prospective student to call up some of these CST job ad's and ask them "I just graduated from school do you have any openings" and the answer will always be "we need someone with experience!"(unless its a hospital in the middle of nowwhere but then you have to ask yourself do you want to live there? Also the pay level does not equal the bad working conditions and bad hours. This is my opinion but "there are plenty of other health care related fields to get into that are much more appealing."

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Hayesbo in Rockmart, Georgia

47 months ago

Mean people? The team is cutting on an innocent person that has placed their complete faith in the skill of people they generally do not know. The only times I have seen surgeons/nurses/supervisors get "mean" is when someone enters that work environment with no skills or a bad attitude. There are times when the job is stressful but you hold the lives of others in your hands. What do you expect. There are jerks in all professions. This field attracts those that are healers in general, not "meanies". I have over 13 years experience scrubbing and assisting. We are not a field that attracts "mean" people.

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Z in Dallas, Texas

47 months ago

The CST who told me that the profession does attract "mean people" has over 15 years experience. But everyone is entitled to their opinion. Anyway, all a potential Surg Tech student has to do is to call these job ads posing as a recent grad from a Surg Tech school and ask them "Hi, I just graduated from school and I am interested in the job opening". The answer they will receive will tell them if its worth going to surg tech school!

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Dana in Butner, North Carolina

46 months ago

Is there a list of states available that require certification?

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Hello All in Mckinney, Texas

45 months ago

What I dont understand is how a private company can get the mandate for making surgical tech get certified. I have had a lot of "certified tech's" come thru my establishment and they have proven to be worse off that my non-certified techs who didn't and have no plans to take the test. This certification is B.S. and is a false sense of security. I have had to put more training and resources into these worthless techs, who have this "certification" and have to pay them more, so I do not see where the hospital is gaining an asset.

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kelvinebberhart in Sanford, Florida

45 months ago

I could not agree with you more. Then there is this accredidation situation. As a military trained Surgical Technologist and with vast experience, I am not eligible to even sit for the AST nor the NBSTA certification exam, since the program that I attened is not accredited. But on the other hand, most hospitals and surgeons perfer to hire and work with the military trained technologist. Not to slight our civilian trained technologist, but those are the facts. After serving my country in peace and war time as a Surgical technologist; performing this skill in the most adverse situations; experiencing injuries that most physicians,nurses and technicians will never encounter; and to top things off, Surgical technology was created by the US Military.How ironic is that, but yet military personell are not qualifed enough to sit for those two certifying agencies. Now that is the real B.S. The certification for Surgical Technologist should be based on the same format as the AORN. To have one agency governing al Surgical Technologist and developing some type of unity and more professionalism amongst ourselves. We dont even know what to call outselves most of the time ie scrub techs; or techs; surgical techs etc.Once there is symmetry is accomplished within the field then Surgical Technologist will gain more respect for their unique talent/skill and be more financially rewarded. K.EBBERHART CST,CRCST

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psscrub

45 months ago

I am curious (lol) what your position is in heathcare? When you state you have had to put more training and resources into these techs. Certification is there to protect the patient. Remember, the patient first. Whether or not a tech "performs" on the clinical level, I understand, But you have to have the book knowledge for a start. And yes I do believe certification is important. It has become, if you will...a right of passage for many long painstaking hours not only of studying, but a baseline of requirements in one's pre reqs, and clinical experience. The Natonal Board Of Surigcal TEch and Surgical Assistance is JUST THAT, a national board. Just like the American Medical Association
I hear your frustration, but it makes no sense. There are many overachievers in the tech role.
Could you please elaborate on what you have to do to help these "suposide techs" or knowledge you have that they didn't and your position is?

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I AM THE TECH KING in Austin, Texas

45 months ago

My job, my job is to educate worthless techs who have their certification into a productive member of the O.R. Team. My job is to clean up the mess that these inexperienced "Certified Techs" don't have the first clue on how to pass on a simple General procedure. My job is to get rid of the ones that cannot perform to the high standards of which I need them to perform. I tell them that after they are hired, they get 60 days. If they seem trainable, then I keep them. If not, I fire them. I have gone through 20 "Certified" techs in the last year and a half. So ultimately my job is protecting the patient. Good enough for you?
Why is it that the ones that I kept are all military trained? It's because they have the morals, and values that protect the patient. not like these self centered, what about me? tech's. This certification process is flawed and worthless. It is a waste of my time and resources. Not to mention a waste of your money.

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kelvinebberhart in Lake Mary, Florida

45 months ago

Good day Mr. King in Austin,
Let me commend you on your recognition of the military trained Surgical Technologist. Yes it is true that the military surgical technicians have a higher standard of patient care than their civilian counterparts. The morals and values that are instilled within the military tech are unsurpassed by any other training program. As a military trained technologist and a former Teacher, not instructor of the course, by comparison the civilian programs seem to lack the luster, professionalism and caring of the patient compared to the military trained technologist. The person that commented on your job status, has no idea of what is required to develope a strong surgical team and team player. I would say that at least 85% of the technicians that I have encountered from so called accredited promgrams as you say, are clueless when it comes to having a basic working knowledge of what goes on in the OR let alone the surgical procedures.In defense of the person that commented on your job status, maybe a better screening of you perspected new hires should be screened more intensely. This will probably help you in maintaqining a more proficient and efficient staff. Trust me, been there and did that. Good Luck.
K.Ebberhart CST,CRCSR

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surgical first assistant and CST in Lisle, Illinois

40 months ago

Host said: What is the best training for becoming a surgical technician? What types of ongoing training or certifications are necessary to be an effective surgical technician?

What do non-traditional career paths look like?

I went to college and learned all the book work and did all the simulations. But the best thing that helped me was shadowing the surgeons. You learn way more than you could in a book. After doing this I knew more than my class mates because I learned skills that we actually use in Surgery rooms.

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rosa colon in New York, New York

38 months ago

i am studying surgical technology, and the certification that i will have is ncct, can i apply for ast certification?

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Brandon CST in Boise, Idaho

38 months ago

april in Gadsden, Alabama said: Does anyone know what to do or who to contact about getting certified. I went to a non credited school and did not know it until i called to ask. Then that was to late!!!!!! I really would love to be certified if anyone knows let me know okay!!!!!!!!!!!

I had a similar experience, I spent 2 years in school for surgical tech only to find out upon graduation that they were not CAAHEP accredited. You want to be certified? Go back to school to an accredited school thats what I did and am now a CST.

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Craig in Clarksville, Tennessee

38 months ago

I was a technician trained in the military for 14 years then went on to nursing school and am now a director of surgery. In all my experience I have seen both very good uncertified techs and very bad certified techs. From this I conclude that the AST and NBSTSA are both organizations that are self promoting. There requirements are meant to elevate a position their position not the true advancement of surgical technology. To discredit a tech who was trained on the job because they didn't complete one the NBSTSA programs is ridiculous. As for the NCCT or NHANOW, I have seen no difference in the quality of the techs they certify versus that of the NBSTSA. My question would be why does the NBSTSA hold themselves in such high regards? Being a senior leader in surgery and having held almost every job in the surgical department, I would not let certification be the sole determination of who I would hire until it becomes a state requirement. After all any of these organizations will allow someone who just completed a course to sit for the exam. This means that a new tech right out of school can be certified with no real experience. To me this invalidates the entire process. Even AORN requires you to work in the OR for two years before sitting for certification.

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shelly in Oak Creek, Wisconsin

38 months ago

That is so true, truely you dont make that much more for being Certified. I am a Tech of 11 years and not cerified and have encountered ALOT of Certified Techs that knows NOTHING> I plan on getting Certified Only because I want to teach.

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Marsha in Hixson, Tennessee

36 months ago

to all working surg techs, i was fired almost 4 years ago from a large trauma hospital in chatt, after 11 years scrubbing at that hospital. missing too much work and a neuro dr complaint, my dr had moved and now teachs and operates due to health, helps to have one or two drs who really like you. I was so stressed due to doing spines which Idon't like and family stuff. don't ever give your employer a reason to fire you, even though the person who fired me lost her teaching CPR privilages and was/is an eduator and a nurse she sucked, If I get back into scrubbing am I going to have problem, neuro, brains was my thing, some general and such, ortho ok, ortho trauma ugh, a lot depends on dr and first assist vs dr and residents,

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lazykr in Saint Louis, Missouri

35 months ago

Can someone with an assoicate degree in applied sceince take the exam?

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im_josie in Pomona, California

33 months ago

Does anyone know anything about the National Healthcareer Association for Surgical Tech certification?

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Jasmine in Mesa, Arizona

30 months ago

Hi, I was wondering if there is any way to become a certified scrub tech if I have been working for a surgeon in the O.R. for 3 years now. I am a certified M.A.
Am I eligible to take the exam? Are there any classes out there that can be taken prior to taking the certification exam?

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LpJ22 in Santa Fe Springs, California

30 months ago

Craig in Clarksville, Tennessee said: I was a technician trained in the military for 14 years then went on to nursing school and am now a director of surgery. In all my experience I have seen both very good uncertified techs and very bad certified techs. From this I conclude that the AST and NBSTSA are both organizations that are self promoting. There requirements are meant to elevate a position their position not the true advancement of surgical technology. To discredit a tech who was trained on the job because they didn't complete one the NBSTSA programs is ridiculous. As for the NCCT or NHANOW, I have seen no difference in the quality of the techs they certify versus that of the NBSTSA. My question would be why does the NBSTSA hold themselves in such high regards? Being a senior leader in surgery and having held almost every job in the surgical department, I would not let certification be the sole determination of who I would hire until it becomes a state requirement. After all any of these organizations will allow someone who just completed a course to sit for the exam. This means that a new tech right out of school can be certified with no real experience. To me this invalidates the entire process. Even AORN requires you to work in the OR for two years before sitting for certification.

I am about to apply for a surgical tech program. What do you suggest I do as to gaining experience other than the internship?

Thank you

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lovly212 in Brooklyn, New York

30 months ago

anancy1010 in Fort Worth, Texas said: You can take the NCCT test then at least you have your certification thats what i did i know ast is trying to push through legislation that all techs be certified so that may be a way to go and if you decide later to get granfathered in 2010 then you can but for certification purposes i think ncct is the way to go

hi i am trying to move to houstan in a year time any advice you can gave me on finding jobs over there i have been i tech for five years now thank you and do they take the ncct certification over there because that is what i have

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Leo in Mesquite, Texas

27 months ago

Kathy said: NCCT IS NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The are NOT RECOGNIZED. call or research on line ast.org or NBSTSA.org

You will find your piece of paper from ncctinc
is useless

I am ncct cst certified in texas and i had 2 job offers and wokring at Forest park Medical center Dallas ( not a hospital in the traditional sense). But it is a growing institution that will have 4 more locations opening up in DFW area, San Antonio and Austin. So I am a bit confused as to why one certification matters more than the other.

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DOAM in Houston, Texas

27 months ago

lovly212 in Brooklyn, New York said: hi i am trying to move to houstan in a year time any advice you can gave me on finding jobs over there i have been i tech for five years now thank you and do they take the ncct certification over there because that is what i have

5 years exp you will find a job quick!!!

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Donna in Cincinnati, Ohio

24 months ago

Which is the least expensive way to take CST exam? Join AST or just take exam

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