Picture yourself in an operating room. The patient is lying on the table while a machine breathes for them, making a steady, rhythmic beep. The room is full of nurses and doctors clad in scrubs. The head surgeon turns to you and barks “Scalpel!” You entered the room earlier to prepare all of the necessary equipment. You know your tray is full of ordered, sterile tools, and you know exactly which scalpel the surgeon needs. You pick up the scalpel, hand it to the surgeon, and the surgery begins.
If that sounds exciting to you, consider training as a surgical technologist. You can complete your training in several months or take two years to earn an associate’s degree, depending on the program you enter. After you are trained in surgical technology, you can a growing field that allows you to be a valued member of surgical teams responsible for saving patients’ lives. You will be able to make a difference in your community while providing for your family.
Most programs require only a high school degree to start training. You will learn anatomy, medical terminology, and biology. Surgical technology classes offer clinical training to ensure you are ready to start working the first day you start a new job. You will be fully trained in sterilization and preventing infections. Although certification is not required, you can become certified after passing an exam or working in the field for a year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for surgical technologists is expected to grow 19 percent by 2020 in response to the aging population. Although most technologists work in hospitals, some also work at outpatient surgery centers, doctors’ offices, or dentists’ offices. Work schedules vary, with some positions requiring nights, time on call, or long shifts. Surgical technology requires a strong stomach and the ability to handle blood, bodily fluids, and gore.
Working in surgical technology gives you the opportunity to learn about the human body and the human psyche. You may be responsible for interviewing patients before surgery or giving post-surgery instructions. You will participate in a variety of surgeries and work with nurses and doctors on a regular basis. Surgical technology is an excellent stepping stone to advanced medical positions or a good career for compassionate individuals looking for excitement. If you can handle the gore, the training, and the long hours, you can enjoy working in surgical technology.