The career path of an operating room technician (ORT) or certified surgical technologist (CST) depends on where you are in life when you begin it! Perhaps you are on a wait list to get into nursing school, beginning a surgical tech program or working in sterile tech processing with aspirations of more challenging work and better pay. For some, the decision to work in ORT/CST jobs is made in high school when math and science emerge as favorite subjects.
Here are five tips to help aspiring OR techs meet and transcend their career goals!
Stay on top of your continuing education (CE)
Allied healthcare professionals looking to spend their workdays “scrubbing in” should become members of The Association of Surgical Technologists (AST). The group offers multiple opportunities for gaining CE credits, including forums and webinars — not to mention attendance at the annual AST national conference where networking with future healthcare employers is a possibility. Getting acquainted with AST is smart! They maintain a continuing education file for each member that behooves your surgical tech career now and down the road.
Use your work experience to the upmost advantage
The National Healthcare Association’s “Operating Room Surgical Technician Certification” allows those who have been working in the field for more than one year to take the certification exam without having to complete an accredited training program.
Recognize accredited training programs
Keep in mind that teaching hospitals offer training programs similar to ORT courses at a community or vocational college. Students can expect training to last for one or two years, with coursework that includes – but is not limited to – medical terminology, physiology and sterilization methods. Aspiring ORTs will ideally enroll in programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Enroll in a surgical technician program
CST training programs are offered at most major universities with an associated medical school, and at many community colleges and vocational schools throughout the U.S. Try to find a surgical technologist training program that leads to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, as healthcare employers prefer degreed candidates.
Make sure The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) oversees your training and testing
NBSTSA should be overseeing all aspects of your surgical technology national certification examination, including developing and administering the exams, as well as establishing the policies for eligibility to take the exam.
The Next Step for Transitioning into OR Tech is to Call a Recruiter!
Following these tips will help you pass the surgical tech certification exam, and ultimately become a CST/Operating Room Surgical Technician. Because some U.S. states regulate surgical techs, set unique training standards and require licensing, it’s nice to enlist the services of a healthcare recruiter. They can help you navigate and meet criteria until you are well on your way to landing great ORT/CST jobs! Call 310 436 3650 or apply online today to learn more!