Top Surgical Technician Programs in Florida: Your Guide to a Vital Healthcare Career

Navigating the options for surgical technician programs in Florida can be overwhelming. This article strips away the complexity to present you with a digestible outline of accredited programs, what to expect in terms of commitment, and straightforward insights into admissions. Gear up for your career in this critical healthcare role with the key information you need to decide on your educational journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Florida offers 29 accredited surgical tech programs that provide comprehensive education, meet the stringent standards of CAAHEP and ABHES, and prepare students for diverse roles in the surgical field.
  • Surgical technologists require a diverse set of skills that include mastery of surgical procedures and instrumentation, communication, collaboration, physical stamina, and maintaining a sterile environment during operations.
  • The pathway to becoming a surgical technologist in Florida includes various prerequisites like educational requirements, background checks, and completion of hands-on training, with certification being an essential credential post-graduation.

Exploring Surgical Technician Programs in Florida

Surgical technology program in Florida

Those interested in becoming surgical technologists will find numerous opportunities in Florida. With 29 accredited surgical tech programs, the state offers comprehensive education in a wide range of surgical techniques and procedures. These programs are designed to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in various surgical specialties. From learning about surgical instrumentation to understanding intricate surgical procedures, you’ll gain a complete overview of the surgical services field.

No matter your aspiration – whether working side by side with surgeons or specializing in a specific surgical technique – Florida’s surgical tech programs are tailored to help you reach your goals.

Accredited Programs

Accreditation serves as a guarantee of educational quality. They meet the stringent standards set by accreditation bodies such as the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Institutions like City College in Altamonte Springs, Keiser University in Clearwater, and Eastern Florida State College in Cocoa offer accredited surgical tech programs, which are part of their allied health programs.

Other notable institutions with accredited programs include:

  • Southern Technical College in Fort Myers
  • Indian River State College in Fort Pierce
  • Santa Fe College in Gainesville
  • College of Central Florida in Ocala

Each degree program has its unique curriculum and focus, providing diverse learning opportunities for aspiring surgical technologists.

City College in Altamonte Springs

Program Overview

The Surgical Technology program at City College offers an Associate of Science degree, preparing students for a rewarding career in surgical technology. The program is available at the Altamonte Springs and Hollywood campuses and can be completed in as little as six quarters. Both day and evening schedules are available to accommodate students.

Key Features

  • Degree: Associate of Science in Surgical Technology
  • Duration: Approximately six quarters (10 weeks each)
  • Accreditation: Programmatically accredited by ABHES
  • Clinical Experience: Includes 720 hours of clinical experience starting in the 4th quarter
  • Class Size: Small classes for personalized attention
  • Training: Hands-on clinical training, real-life patient simulation, and use of industry-standard equipment
  • Start Dates: New term begins on September 3, 2024, with mandatory orientation one week prior

Curriculum

  • Core Courses:
    • Anatomy & Physiology
    • Fundamentals of Surgical Technology
    • Microbiology
    • Surgical Procedures
    • Surgical Techniques

Certification

Graduates are prepared to apply for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

The Surgical Technology program at City College provides comprehensive training and practical experience to prepare students for certification and successful careers as surgical technologists. With small class sizes, hands-on training, and strong job prospects, it is an excellent choice for those looking to enter the healthcare field.

Keiser University in Clearwater

Program Overview

Keiser University offers an Associate of Science degree in Surgical Technology designed to prepare students for entry-level positions as surgical technologists in hospital or surgical center operating rooms. The program includes both theoretical and practical training to ensure students are well-equipped for the field.

Program Objectives

  • Mission: To provide instruction that prepares students for the national board examination and to demonstrate competency as entry-level surgical technologists.
  • Goals:
    • Apply scientific principles related to surgical patient care.
    • Collaborate effectively as part of a healthcare team.
    • Demonstrate skills in cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains for entry-level surgical technologists.

Prerequisites for Major Courses

  • Background check and drug screening
  • Immunization record signed by a physician
  • Successful completion of all general education requirements with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher

Program Outline

To earn the Associate of Science degree in Surgical Technology, students must complete 74.0 credit hours, including:

Major Courses (48.0 credit hours total)

  • Surgical Techniques and Procedures I, II, III
  • Surgical Specialties I-V with Anatomy and Physiology
  • Surgical Technology Externship I-IV

General Education Courses

  • Behavioral Science (3.0 credit hours)
    • Introduction to Psychology or Sociology
  • Communications (3.0 credit hours)
    • Speech Communications
  • Computers (3.0 credit hours)
    • Introduction to Computers
  • English (6.0 credit hours)
    • English Composition I & II
  • Humanities/Fine Arts (3.0 credit hours)
    • American Literature or English Literature
  • Mathematics (6.0 credit hours)
    • Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, or Statistics
  • Natural Science (8.0 credit hours)
    • Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II

Clinical Experience

Students complete a series of externships (I-IV) where they gain hands-on experience in real-world surgical settings. These externships are integral to the program, providing practical skills and knowledge application.

Certification

All students are prepared to sit for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam at the end of their final externship, ensuring they are ready for professional certification.

Keiser University’s Associate of Science in Surgical Technology provides comprehensive training, combining classroom instruction with extensive clinical experience. The program is designed to prepare students for certification and successful careers as surgical technologists, meeting the growing demand in the healthcare field.

Eastern Florida State College in Cocoa

Program Overview

The Associate in Science (A.S.) degree in Surgical Technology at Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) prepares students for entry-level employment in hospital operating rooms and other healthcare facilities where surgeries are performed. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and follows guidelines from the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) and the Florida Department of Education.

Key Features

  • Degree: Associate in Science (A.S.) in Surgical Technology
  • Delivery Method: On-campus
  • Location: Melbourne campus
  • Total Credit Hours: 64
  • Program Start: Core courses begin each August with an application deadline of March 15th annually

Curriculum

The program includes a 10-month series of core Surgical Technology courses featuring classroom, lab instruction, clinical rotations, and a surgical internship. General education and support courses must be completed prior to starting core courses.

Core Courses:

  • Surgical Procedures I: Preparation for various surgical procedures, such as laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
  • Fundamentals of Surgical Technology: Basics of surgery, aseptic technique, and surgical instruments.
  • Surgical Science & Pharmacology: Drug sources, medication administration, drug regulation, and anesthetic agents.
  • Surgical Internship: Hands-on experience in surgical suites.

General Education Courses:

  • Communication
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Science
  • Humanities/Fine Arts
  • Behavioral Science
  • Computers
  • English Composition

Admission Requirements

  • Meet with a Health Sciences advisor
  • Complete required prerequisite courses
  • Submit a Surgical Tech Application by March 15th
  • Attend mandatory orientation sessions with a government-issued driver’s license

Additional Certifications

The program includes an embedded Central Sterile Processing Technologist College Credit Certificate, enhancing students’ résumés and providing additional skills in sterilizing medical equipment.

Accreditation

The program is accredited by CAAHEP and adheres to standards set by ARC/STSA.

Eastern Florida State College’s Surgical Technology A.S. degree provides rigorous academic and practical training, preparing students for successful careers as surgical technologists. The program emphasizes hands-on experience, professional readiness, and offers pathways to further education and certification.

Southern Technical College in Fort Myers

Program Overview

Southern Technical College offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Surgical Technology designed to prepare students for careers as surgical technicians. The program equips students with the skills necessary to work in various healthcare settings such as hospitals, medical centers, and surgical centers.

Key Features

  • Degree: Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology
  • Duration: Approximately 24 months
  • Certification: Graduates are eligible to sit for the Certification Exam in Surgical Technology by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA)
  • Class Schedules: Day and evening classes available
  • Externships: Two 250-hour externships providing hands-on experience
  • Materials: Required materials and textbooks are provided at no additional cost

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum combines classroom instruction with hands-on learning and covers essential topics such as:

  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Microbiology and Infection Control
  • Medical Terminology
  • Fundamentals of Patient Care
  • Fundamentals of Surgical Technology
  • Surgical Procedures I, II, III
  • Surgical Skills I, II, III
  • Surgical Technician Externship I, II
  • Anatomy and Physiology for the Surgical Technician
  • Surgical Technician Certification Prep
  • Surgical Technician Content Review

Students learn about preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative principles of surgical technology, intraoperative pharmacology, anesthesia administration, surgical equipment and supplies, surgical wounds, and the healing process.

Program Benefits

  • Small Class Sizes: Ensuring personalized attention
  • Accredited Faculty: Instructors with industry experience
  • Financial Aid: Available to those who qualify
  • Career Preparation: Includes resume building and interview preparation

Career Opportunities

Graduates can pursue careers in:

  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Physicians’ Offices
  • Outpatient Surgical Centers

Locations

The Surgical Technician program is available at Southern Technical College’s various campuses.

Southern Technical College’s Surgical Technology program offers comprehensive training and hands-on experience to prepare students for successful careers as surgical technicians. With small class sizes, accredited faculty, and a focus on real-world skills, graduates are well-equipped to enter the healthcare field and excel in their roles.

Indian River State College in Fort Pierce

Program Overview

Indian River State College (IRSC) offers an Associate in Science degree in Surgical Technology, preparing students to become skilled surgical technologists. These professionals are essential members of medical teams, working under the supervision of surgeons to ensure the safety and efficiency of surgical procedures.

Key Features

  • Degree: Associate in Science (A.S.) in Surgical Technology
  • Delivery Method: On-campus
  • Location: IRSC campuses
  • Accreditation: Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)

Program Goals

  • Prepare entry-level surgical technologists who are competent in knowledge, skills, and behavior.
  • Equip students to take a certification exam, which is an industry-recognized credential.

Admission Requirements

  • Selection is on a first-come, first-served basis based on the submission of required documents.
  • Background checks, drug screening, and immunization status are mandatory.
  • Prospective students must read the Surgical Services Technology Application Booklet and complete the IRSC application, including a $30 non-refundable fee.

Curriculum

The program curriculum includes both classroom instruction and hands-on training, covering:

  • Fundamentals of Surgical Technology
  • Surgical Procedures I, II, III
  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Microbiology and Infection Control
  • Anatomy and Physiology for the Surgical Technician
  • Surgical Technician Externship I, II
  • Surgical Technician Certification Prep

Externships

Students are required to complete clinical externships, providing real-world experience in surgical settings.

Certification

Upon completing the program, students are eligible to take the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam.

The Surgical Technology program at IRSC provides comprehensive training and education, preparing students for successful careers as surgical technologists. With strong accreditation, a blend of theoretical and practical learning, and eligibility for national certification, graduates are well-equipped to enter the healthcare field.

Santa Fe College in Gainesville

Program Overview

The Surgical Technology program at Santa Fe College is a certificate program designed to prepare students for careers as surgical technologists. The program focuses on developing cognitive, sensory, affective, and psychomotor skills required for the profession.

Key Features

  • Program Type: Certificate in Surgical Technology
  • Performance Standards: The program includes various performance standards in critical thinking, interpersonal skills, communication, mobility, tactile and motor skills, hearing, and visual abilities.
  • Support for Disabilities: Applicants with potential difficulties in meeting performance standards due to disabilities are encouraged to contact the Disabilities Resource Center for reasonable accommodations.

Performance Standards and Examples

  • Critical Thinking: Handle multiple priorities, exercise independent judgment, and concentrate for prolonged periods.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Display patience and empathy, work with diverse backgrounds, and handle stressful situations calmly.
  • Communication: Communicate clearly and concisely, interact professionally, and document information accurately.
  • Mobility: Maneuver in small spaces, respond swiftly to patient needs, lift and move equipment, and stand for long periods.
  • Tactile and Motor Skills: Grasp and handle instruments accurately, assemble surgical equipment, and perceive objects through touch.
  • Hearing: Monitor surgical equipment sounds, follow verbal instructions, and detect alarms.
  • Visual: Observe patients and surgical environments, assist in surgery under various lighting conditions, and distinguish colors and spatial attributes.

Professional Appearance

  • Guidelines: Students must adhere to specific appearance guidelines, including conservative hair color and style, appropriate clothing and footwear, and neat facial hair.

Santa Fe College’s Surgical Technology certificate program equips students with essential skills and knowledge to excel as surgical technologists. The program emphasizes a comprehensive set of performance standards and offers support for students with disabilities to ensure they can meet program requirements and succeed in their careers.

College of Central Florida in Ocala

Program Overview

The Surgical Technology program at the College of Central Florida offers a Career and Technical Certificate designed to prepare students to become professional surgical technologists. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP).

Key Features

  • Program Type: Career and Technical Certificate in Surgical Technology
  • Accreditation: Accredited by CAAHEP
  • Certification: Graduates are eligible to sit for the certification exam by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) to become Certified Surgical Technologists (CST)

Curriculum and Training

  • Training: Includes classroom lectures, directed self-study, interactive group projects, oral presentations, homework, computerized testing, mock surgery, skills lab performance, and hands-on clinical experience.
  • Core Skills:
    • Setting up sterile and non-sterile equipment
    • Assisting surgeons during operations
    • Reacting quickly in emergencies
    • Performing as a second circulator or assistant
    • Scrubbing a minimum of 120 surgical cases

Admission Requirements

  • Limited Access: Admission to the program is competitive, and applicants must meet specific criteria outlined in the application information packet.

The Surgical Technology program at the College of Central Florida provides comprehensive training and prepares students for certification and professional practice as surgical technologists. The program’s rigorous curriculum and hands-on experience ensure that graduates are well-equipped for successful careers in the healthcare industry.

Essential Skills for Surgical Technologists

Surgical technologist demonstrating technical ability

The role of a surgical technologist is multifaceted. They must:

  • Have a thorough knowledge of surgical instruments and equipment for effective operation setup
  • Master the aseptic technique to prevent infections
  • Communicate effectively and work as part of a team to ensure patient safety
  • Assist surgeons during procedures

Interpersonal abilities, critical thinking, and clear communication are all key skills that enhance a surgical technologist’s compatibility with the surgical team and patient interactions.

Technical Ability and Sterile Environment Maintenance

Being a surgical technologist involves physical tasks, such as lifting at least 30 lbs, pushing/pulling heavy equipment, and standing for prolonged periods. Additionally, they must have well-developed auditory and visual abilities for effective health monitoring and assistance in varied lighting conditions during surgery. Motor skills are also crucial for surgical technologists. They should possess good manual dexterity and the ability to accurately handle tissues and organs with care. Working swiftly and precisely under stress and in emergent situations is a key skill set for surgical technologists.

On top of these, surgical technologists need to maintain sterility during procedures. Detecting odors is part of maintaining environmental safety and managing patient care within the operating room. Due to persistent bacteria, surgical staff must constantly uphold sterility throughout the procedure to prevent contamination. Sterile gowns, gloves, and drapes are standard protocol, with careful handling of sterile instruments being critical to minimize contamination. Techniques to reduce airborne contamination in the operating room include:

  • Keeping doors closed
  • Utilizing high-efficiency particulate air filters
  • Maintaining positive air pressure
  • Using directional airflow.

Communication and Collaboration with Surgeons

Effective communication and collaboration are at the heart of a surgical technologist’s role. Proficiency in English, both in verbal and written communication, is essential for understanding and exchanging instructions effectively with the surgical team. Employing closed-loop communication and structured language techniques such as the ‘CUS’ method is crucial to prevent misunderstandings and address safety concerns during surgical procedures.

Surgical technology students must have the interpersonal ability to interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds and understand muffled communications within the operating room. Training programs include a curriculum focused on interdisciplinary collaboration, equipping students to work efficiently as part of a healthcare team in a surgical setting.

Admission Requirements and Application Process

Admission into a surgical tech program entails a comprehensive application process. This typically includes:

  • Submitting an application information packet detailing admissions and acceptance criteria
  • Completing a two-hour observation session within the program’s skills laboratory as part of the admission requirements
  • Meeting with a Health Science Advisor during the semester they apply to the program

The core courses for the Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) Surgical Technology Services A.S. program begin every August, with an annual application deadline of March 15th.

For the Fall 2024 EFSC program, the application deadline is set for April 26, 2024. Points are awarded to applicants who have relevant work experience or health sciences education, based on predefined criteria for experience amount and type of degree or certification.

Prerequisites and Background Checks

Certain prerequisites must be met before applying to a surgical tech program. These typically include:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent, with some institutions requiring coursework in biology or math
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, although certain programs may accept a 2.5 GPA
  • Passing a background check
  • Undergoing drug screening, depending on the program’s policy

A confirmed immunization record signed by healthcare providers must also be submitted as part of the application process. Specific programs require a separate application procedure which includes various components such as observation in a skills lab, a personal essay, and proof of prior educational or work experience.

Deadlines and Application Materials

Adherence to application deadlines and submission of required materials is vital when applying to a surgical tech program. These typically include academic transcripts, a completed application form, proof of completed prerequisites, and an immunization record. Some institutions may also require an essay or personal statement, letters of recommendation, and documentation of any healthcare-related work experience.

All general education and prerequisite/support coursework must be completed by the application deadline. By fulfilling these requirements, you can ensure a smooth application process and increase your chances of admission.

Financial Aid and Tuition Costs

Financial aid options for surgical technology program

Enrolling in a surgical tech program is an investment in your future career. However, the cost can be daunting. Thankfully, financial aid options such as federal aid and scholarships are available for students enrolled in Eastern Florida State College’s Surgical Services Technology A.S. program, making quality education more accessible.

Scholarships and Grants

There are several scholarships and grants available to help surgical technology students with tuition or educational debt. The Foundation for Surgical Technology, for example, offers academic scholarships based on superior academic ability, financial need, and enrollment in an accredited program.

While the scholarship award amounts vary from year to year, they are typically announced in May and can provide substantial financial relief.

Estimated Expenses and Florida Resident Discounts

The estimated expenses for Eastern Florida State College’s Surgical Services Technology A.S. program are approximately $8,500 for Florida residents, including:

  • Tuition
  • Textbooks
  • Lab fees
  • Accident/liability insurance

For 64 credit hours, Florida residents pay about $6,656, substantially less than the approximately $25,968.64 charged to non-residents.

Non-Florida residents attending the Surgical Technology program at Eastern Florida State College face an estimated total program cost of approximately $27,831. These figures offer a realistic picture of the financial commitment involved in pursuing a surgical tech program but remember that financial aid options can significantly reduce these costs.

Clinical Hours and Hands-on Training

Clinical hours and hands-on training in surgical technology program

Gaining real-world experience is a crucial component of surgical tech programs. To ensure thorough training, students are required to complete hands-on training by scrubbing in a minimum of 120 surgical cases during their clinical experience.

Such practical training imparts invaluable experience, fostering proficiency in a variety of surgical procedures and medical procedures.

Surgical Procedures and Techniques

During the hands-on training phase, students engage in an array of surgical procedures and techniques. They play multiple roles, acting as the primary surgical scrub, a second circulator, and a second assistant. Clinical rotations involve exposure to mock surgeries and skill lab exercises to deepen students’ comprehension of different surgical procedures and techniques. Students are taught how to safely transfer, position, prep, and drape patients, steps that are pivotal in the execution of surgical procedures.

The program at Santa Fe College emphasizes the ability to manage multiple priorities during stressful scenarios and maintain concentration for extended periods, all essential skills for surgical technicians.

Externship Opportunities

Externship opportunities afford students the chance to gain practical experience in real surgical environments, which is an integral part of their training. These externships allow students to gain practical experience in anticipating the needs of the surgeon and efficiently reacting to different surgical scenarios.

This real-world experience is invaluable in preparing students for a successful career as surgical technologists.

Certification and Licensure Requirements

After graduating from a surgical tech program, the subsequent step towards becoming a professional surgical technologist is certification. This credential demonstrates expertise and qualification for employment in the field.

The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) administers the certification examination that graduates in Florida will sit for to obtain Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credentials. The Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) recommends that individuals should:

  • Graduate from a CAAHEP-accredited or ABHES-accredited program
  • Pass the NBSTSA certification exam to be hired
  • Emphasize the importance of maintaining the CST credential through continuing education.

Certified Surgical Technologist Exam

The Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam, administered by the NBSTSA, is a crucial benchmark for surgical technologists. By passing this exam, graduates demonstrate their competence and readiness to enter the professional field. It’s important to note that graduates from surgical technician programs in Florida are expected to become board Certified Surgical Technologists (CST) by sitting for the NBSTSA certification examination.

The Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) provides critical information regarding the ongoing requirements to maintain CST credentials, including continuing education and testing requirements specific to Florida.

Professional Licensure in Florida

While Florida does not currently have state laws mandating surgical technologist licensure, professional organizations, including the AST, encourage Florida’s surgical technologists to obtain and maintain national certification even in the absence of state-mandated licensure requirements. The AST is pushing for legislation in Florida that would set specific educational, certification, and continuing education standards for surgical technologists.

This proactive approach aims to enhance the professionalism and credibility of surgical technologists in the state.

Career Opportunities and Employment Outlook

Florida presents a highly positive career outlook for surgical technologists. Here are some key points:

  • Expected increase of 9% in job growth from 2018 to 2028
  • Ample opportunities for aspiring surgical technologists
  • The median annual wage for surgical technologists in May 2022 was $55,960

This indicates a rewarding career path in the field, especially for those with a science degree, after the successful completion of their studies.

Hospitals are the main employers for entry-level surgical technologists, offering varied experiences and learning opportunities.

Entry-Level Employment

Newly certified surgical technologists can gain valuable experience and kickstart their careers through entry-level positions. Hospitals, in particular, are key employers, providing a dynamic and challenging environment where surgical technologists become integral members of the surgical team. These positions are often available due to the need to replace personnel who retire or change occupations.

This means that newly certified surgical technologists usually have a good chance of securing employment soon after graduation.

Job Growth and Salary Expectations

The employment landscape for surgical technologists in Florida is promising with a projected 9% industry growth from 2018 to 2028, a rate slightly above the national average. The average salary for surgical technologists in Florida is approximately $45,000 annually, with entry-level positions starting at around $33,000.

Experience and location within the state can affect salary levels. For example, surgical technologists working in metropolitan areas often earn higher salaries compared to those working in non-metropolitan areas.

Summary

Pursuing a career as a surgical technologist in Florida offers a pathway to a rewarding and in-demand profession. With a variety of accredited programs, comprehensive curricula, hands-on training, and promising job prospects, Florida provides an ideal environment for aspiring surgical technologists. Despite the challenges, the journey to becoming a surgical technologist is a fulfilling one, with the chance to make a significant impact in the healthcare sector. Let your journey to a successful career in surgical technology begin today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a surgical tech in Florida?

It takes between two and three years to become a surgical tech in Florida, with most programs designed to be finished in two years.

Are surgical techs licensed in Florida?

In Florida, surgical technicians are not required to be licensed, but many employers prefer those with national professional certification for credibility in the field.

Does UCF have a surgical tech program?

Yes, UCF has a surgical tech program that prepares graduates to sit for the certification examination offered by The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), enabling them to become board Certified Surgical Technologists.

How many accredited surgical tech programs are there in Florida?

There are 29 accredited surgical tech programs in Florida as of now.

What skills do surgical technologists need to have?

Surgical technologists need to have knowledge of surgical instruments and equipment, aseptic techniques, and effective communication and teamwork skills to excel in their role.