Top-Rated Surgical Technician Programs in Georgia: Find Your Path

If you’re seeking to become a surgical technician in Georgia, choosing the right program is pivotal. This article is a comprehensive guide to accredited surgical technician programs in Georgia, providing you with essential information on program structures, certification requirements, and the career opportunities awaiting you after graduation. Equip yourself with the knowledge to make an informed decision and embark on a rewarding career in surgical technology.

Key Takeaways

  • Accredited surgical technician programs in Georgia, such as those offered by Gwinnett Tech, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, and Athens Technical College, are structured to provide extensive hands-on training and academic knowledge, with eligibility to sit for the CST exam after graduation.
  • Certification as a CST by the NBSTSA is essential for surgical technologists, requiring successful completion of a postsecondary program, passing a national exam, and maintaining certification through continuing education or periodic re-examination.
  • The role of a surgical technologist is diverse and spans pre-operative to post-operative duties, with employment opportunities in various settings like operating rooms, ambulatory surgical centers, and more, reflecting a promising job outlook in Georgia’s healthcare industry.

Exploring Surgical Technician Programs in Georgia

Surgical technician program in Georgia

A solid educational foundation is the starting point for a career as a Surgical Technologist. In Georgia, numerous accredited institutions offer rigorous surgical technology programs, designed to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in this field. These programs adhere to the high standards set by industry organizations such as:

  • Association of Surgical Technologists (AST)
  • American College of Surgeons (ACS)
  • ARC/STSA
  • CAAHEP

Selecting an accredited program not only guarantees a top-notch education but also enhances your likelihood of becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) and being competitive in the job market.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) provides a comprehensive list of accredited surgical technology programs in Georgia and other states, making it easier for prospective students to find a suitable program. Given the high-quality education and plentiful resources, the path to becoming a Surgical Technologist in Georgia is filled with potential.

Accredited Institutions

Georgia Northwestern Technical College

The Surgical Technology program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, preparing students for roles as surgical technologists. The program is designed to provide comprehensive training and education in the field of surgical technology.

Key Features

  • Degree: Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
  • Accreditation: Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Program Start: New classes begin each spring semester (January)
  • Admission Deadline: Mid-August each year

Curriculum and Training

  • Theory and Practice: The program includes both classroom instruction and practical training in operating room environments.
  • Skills Developed:
    • Mastery of sterile and aseptic techniques
    • Knowledge of human anatomy and surgical procedures
    • Proficiency in using surgical instruments and technologies

Certification

Graduates are eligible to take the national Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam, conferred by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

Accreditation Information

  • ARC/STSA: Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting
  • CAAHEP: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

The Surgical Technology program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides rigorous training and education, preparing students for successful careers as surgical technologists. With accredited status and a focus on both theoretical knowledge and practical skills, graduates are well-equipped to enter the healthcare field and excel in their roles.

Athens Technical College

Program Overview

The Surgical Technology program at Athens Technical College prepares students to become integral members of surgical teams. The program offers both a diploma and an Associate of Applied Science degree, providing comprehensive training in surgical procedures and operating room protocols.

Key Features

  • Degree Options: Diploma and Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
  • Class Times: Daytime classes offered fully in-person
  • Hands-On Training: Includes lab spaces equipped like an operating room for practical experience

Curriculum

The program covers various aspects of surgical technology, including:

  • SURG 1080: Surgical Microbiology
  • SURG 1100: Surgical Pharmacology
  • SURG 2240: Seminar in Surgical Technology

Accreditation

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) based on the recommendation of the Accrediting Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA).

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must attend a mandatory information session and present a government-issued driver’s license. The program has a selective admission process with a deadline of September 1st for the fall intake.

Certification

Graduates are eligible to sit for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) examination through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

The Surgical Technology program at Athens Technical College offers robust training and accreditation, ensuring graduates are well-prepared for careers in various surgical settings and can achieve certification as surgical technologists.

Becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST)

Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) education

After completing an accredited program, the next step in your journey is to earn your certification. The leading organization for certifying surgical technologists is the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) not only shows your commitment to maintaining high standards of patient care but also boosts your employability in the competitive healthcare industry.

Though the path to becoming a CST may appear intimidating, it is achievable with appropriate preparation and a positive mindset. A robust educational base, in conjunction with practical training, can facilitate success in the certification process, carving out a path for a gratifying career as a Surgical Technologist.

Education Requirements

To become a surgical technologist, candidates need to complete a postsecondary educational program in surgical technology. These programs, which include associate degrees, diplomas, and certificate programs, combine classroom instruction with practical training in areas such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, medical ethics, and surgical procedures,. Choosing a program accredited by a recognized body is pivotal as it guarantees eligibility for the National Certification Exam and enhances your visibility to potential employers.

The completion of the program does not mark the end of learning. Surgical technologists must pursue continuing education or additional training to keep their skills current and maintain certification.

National Certification Exam

The Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam administered by the NBSTSA is a critical step towards becoming a certified professional. This standardized test consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, covering topics such as pre-operative preparations, intra-operative procedures, and post-operative procedures, with the intra-operative procedures section being the most extensive. The exam fee is $190 for AST members and $290 for non-members, and candidates are given four hours to complete the test.

The good news is that certain programs, like Gwinnett Tech’s Surgical Technology program, have achieved a 100% pass rate, reflecting their commitment to excellence in education for allied health professionals, such as those in surgical technology.

Maintaining Certification

Becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist is not the end of the journey. CSTs are required to obtain 30 Continuing Education (CE) credits every two years, including at least 4 live credits, to maintain their certification. These credits can be earned through various avenues such as:

  • Hospital in-services
  • AST state assemblies
  • National conferences
  • College courses
  • Events organized by healthcare manufacturers

The Association of Surgical Technologists also offers Distance CE options like journal tests or specific CE packages, providing CSTs with a convenient way to earn credits without additional fees. Alternatively, CSTs can choose to maintain their certification by re-taking the certifying examination after four years.

Roles and Responsibilities of Surgical Technologists

Surgical technologist preparing the operating room

In the bustling environment of an operating room, surgical technologists play a critical role. They are essential members of the surgical team, collaborating with surgeons, anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and other personnel to ensure comprehensive patient care throughout the surgical process. Their responsibilities range from preparing the sterile field to passing instruments, holding retractors, preparing sutures, counting instruments and sponges, and assisting with the application of dressings. However, it’s important to note that working as a surgical technologist also involves exposure to various risks, like handling sharp instruments, potential exposure to communicable diseases, and heavy lifting.

Despite the challenges, the role of a surgical technologist is rewarding. You’re not just a member of the surgical team – you’re an integral part of the healthcare community, making a real difference in people’s lives.

Preparing the Operating Room

Surgical technologist assisting during surgery

Before any invasive surgical procedures, surgical technologists are instrumental in ensuring that the operating room is sterilized to prevent infections through the use of sterile and aseptic techniques. This entails gathering, counting, and arranging the necessary equipment and tools, and ensuring that everything is accounted for both before and after the surgery.

Part of their role also involves properly positioning the patient using specialized table accessories and positioning devices to provide the surgeon with the best possible surgical access while maintaining patient safety. A well-prepared operating room sets the stage for a successful surgical procedure, and surgical technologists are at the heart of this process, ensuring that equipment functions properly.

Assisting During Surgery

During surgery, surgical technologists work closely with the surgical team, providing tools and instruments to the surgeon and surgeon’s assistant as needed. They also assist by retracting tissues for better visibility and access in the operative field. These tasks may seem simple, but they are critical in ensuring the smooth flow of the surgical procedure.

Surgical technologists not only assist with the technical aspects of the surgery but also contribute to the overall efficiency and success of the operation, as surgical technologists possess expertise in their field.

Post-Operative Care

Once the surgery is over, the role of the surgical technologist continues. They are responsible for:

  • Maintaining the sterile environment until the patient is safely transferred to the recovery room
  • Cleaning and preparing the used instruments for terminal sterilization
  • Assisting with applying postoperative dressings or immobilization devices as needed.

Furthermore, they ensure that all dressings are applied to surgical sites and that needles, gauze, and other materials are disposed of properly. By ensuring the cleanliness of the operating room and the proper disposal of used materials, surgical technologists contribute to the safety and well-being of patients.

Career Opportunities and Outlook for Surgical Technologists in Georgia

Career opportunities for surgical technologists in Georgia

With the healthcare industry expanding, the demand for skilled surgical technologists in Georgia is projected to grow. An aging population that will require surgeries and the expansion of surgical procedures contribute to this positive job outlook. Whether you aim to work in metropolitan areas with a competitive job market or in rural areas with less job saturation, Georgia offers a diverse range of opportunities for surgical technologists.

Surgical technologists in Georgia can expect:

  • A median annual salary between the range of $38,000 to $47,000
  • Factors such as workplace, experience, and additional certifications can influence this earning potential
  • The healthcare industry’s trend towards higher standards and technologically advanced surgical environments has led to a specific demand for certified surgical technologists.

Employment Settings

As a surgical technologist, you’ll have the opportunity to work in diverse environments. The facilities mentioned are:

  • Operating rooms
  • Ambulatory surgical centers
  • Central supply
  • Labor and delivery areas
  • Cardiac catheterization laboratories
  • Organ procurement organizations
  • Private physicians’ offices

These locations are essential for providing various medical services and treatments by medical practitioners, as well as to deliver patient care effectively.

While the work can be demanding with full-time schedules that may include nights, weekends, holidays, and on-call duties, it offers a rewarding experience in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.

Job Growth and Salary Expectations

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides valuable data for assessing job growth and salary expectations in the field of surgical technology. With the healthcare industry expanding and an aging population needing more surgical procedures, the employment outlook for surgical technologists in Georgia is promising.

While the median annual salary ranges between $38,000 and $47,000, additional certifications and experience can significantly enhance your earning potential.

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Surgical Technology Students

Embarking on a career in surgical technology signifies an investment in your future. While the cost of education can be a hurdle for some, numerous financial aid and scholarship opportunities are available for surgical technology students in Georgia. These can significantly reduce the financial burden of tuition and other associated educational expenses. One such opportunity is the academic scholarships offered by the Foundation for Surgical Technology, which aims to assist surgical technology students with tuition costs or educational debt.

While scholarships and financial aid can significantly impact your educational journey, remember that investing in education is a long-term investment in your future. By choosing to become a surgical technologist, you’re not just choosing a career – you’re choosing a path that can make a real difference in people’s lives.

Institutional Scholarships

Institutions in Georgia offer scholarships specifically for students enrolled in surgical technician programs. These scholarships can significantly reduce the financial burden of tuition and other associated educational expenses. Eligibility often requires students to be in good academic standing, demonstrate financial need, or show a commitment to service in underserved communities, To apply, students may need to fill out an application form, write essays, or provide letters of recommendation.

External Scholarships

In addition to institutional scholarships, external scholarships such as those offered by the Foundation for Surgical Technology are also available. Here are some details about these scholarships:

  • The deadline to apply for these scholarships is March 1st each year.
  • The application window opens during the fall semester.
  • Scholarship amounts vary annually.
  • Recipients are publicly announced in May at the AST’s Surgical Technology Conference.

Summary

The path to becoming a surgical technologist in Georgia is a promising one. With numerous accredited programs to choose from, a growing demand for these professionals, and a wealth of financial aid options available, there’s never been a better time to start your journey. Whether you’re fresh out of high school or looking for a career change, becoming a surgical technologist provides a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Remember, the journey might seem daunting at first, but with dedication, discipline, and a genuine passion for patient care, you can achieve your goal and make a real difference in people’s lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Emory have a surgical tech program?

Yes, Emory University offers a Surgical Technology Program to prepare students for professional positions in the field.

What is the best major for a surgical tech?

The best major for a surgical tech is medical technician, with 62% of surgical technicians majoring in this field. Other common majors include nursing and business.

How much does a certified surgical tech make in GA?

The average salary for a certified surgical tech in Georgia is around $52,808, with a typical range of $47,465 to $58,093. This makes it a promising career option in the state.

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

In Georgia, it typically takes 9-24 months to become a surgical tech, with programs including both classroom and clinical training. Additionally, applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

What is the role of a surgical technologist?

Surgical technologists play an essential role in the surgical team, collaborating with various medical professionals to ensure comprehensive patient care during surgery.