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Online Education (bachelor Degree Surgical Technology)

By Expert Author: John Srob

Associate of Science in Surgical Technology

An associate's degree program in surgical technology consists of both clinical and classroom instruction. Courses teach students how to maintain a sterile environment in the operating room, utilize surgical equipment and assist doctors and nurses in surgical procedures. Students also learn the basics of medical terminology, maintenance of patient charts and preparation of patients for surgery. Surgical technology students learn to take vital signs, prepare and restock the operating room and safely transport patients.

Educational Prerequisites

Students entering an associate's degree program are required to have a high school diploma or GED (general education degree). High school students who are planning to enter a surgical technology program should take courses in mathematics, biology, chemistry and physiology. Schools may also require applicants to pass a background check, provide proof of up-to-date immunizations or possess current CPR certification.

Program Coursework

This associate's degree program includes study pathology and medical procedures. Hands-on training is found in practicum courses held at local hospitals and medical centers. Typical coursework in this program includes:

Patient care
Medical ethics
Sterilization and disinfection

Continuing Education

Graduates with an associate's degree in surgical technology are eligible to sit for the certified surgical technologist exam through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Professional certification is not always a requirement of employment but it can increase a graduate's chance of finding work in the field. Certified surgical technicians (CSTs) must complete up to 60 hours of continuing education requirements in order to maintain their certification. CST's without continuing education requirements are required to retake the test after four years.
Do I Need a Bachelor's Degree in Surgical Technology to Work in This Field?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most surgical technologists receive professional training through a certificate, diploma or associate's degree program (www.bls.gov). However, earning a Bachelor of Science in Applied Health Studies or Health Sciences with a specialization in surgical technology could lead to career advancement. Most bachelor's programs are designed for students who have completed an associate's program in surgical technology. Some programs are available online.
What Kinds of Classes Will I Take?
You'll probably need to take some general education courses in mathematics or the sciences. You might explore core topics like public policy in healthcare, promoting healthy lifestyles, medical ethics, epidemiology and foreign healthcare systems. Completion of a capstone project may be required; in some cases, you might need to complete a field experience at an authorized healthcare center.
What Can I Do With This Degree?
Surgical technologists usually work in an operating room. Common duties include preparing surgical instruments, calibrating equipment, laying out sterile drapes and checking medications. During surgery, technologists may hold tools, keep track of needles and sponges, cut stitches and apply medical dressing.

The BLS notes that employers in this field prefer job applicants who are certified. In order to earn certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, you'll need to graduate from a program that's accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Programs accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools are acceptable as well. Completion of an exam is required in order to receive certification.

You May Qualify For Financial Aid.

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