Entry Level Education
Postsecondary nondegree award
Body Fluid Interaction
Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, cut sutures, and help count sponges, needles, supplies, and instruments.
What Surgical Technologist Do:
Surgical technologists work as members of a healthcare team alongside physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, and other healthcare workers.
Before an operation, surgical technologists prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment. They also prepare patients for surgery by washing and disinfecting incision sites, positioning the patients on the operating table, covering them with sterile drapes, and taking them to and from the operating room. Surgical technologists prepare sterile solutions and medications used in surgery and check that all surgical equipment is working properly. They help the surgical team put on sterile gowns and gloves.
During an operation, surgical technologists pass instruments and supplies to surgeons and first assistants. They also hold retractors, hold internal organs in place during the procedure, or set up robotic surgical equipment. Technologists also may handle specimens taken for laboratory analysis.
Once the operation is complete, surgical technologists may apply bandages and other dressings to the incision site. They may also help transfer patients to recovery rooms and restock operating rooms after a procedure.
How to Become One:
Complete a diploma, certificate or associate's degree program to work in the field. Diploma and certificate programs may be completed in under a year and an associate's degree program in two years. Students may want to consider programs that have earned accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) since this is a requirement for taking the certification exam and many positions require this credential.
The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting offers the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential. To become a CST, individuals must graduate from a CAAHEP-approved program and pass the certifying exam.
Licensure and certification is not required in West Virginia but is recommended.