Top Accredited Surgical Technician Programs in South Carolina

Embarking on a career as a surgical technician requires choosing the right program, especially in South Carolina where the health sector thrives. This guide provides an overview of accredited surgical technician programs in South Carolina, their duration, key admission criteria, and the significance of accreditation. It offers a lens into the reality of program expectations and points you toward the career pathways that lie beyond program completion—certification and burgeoning job opportunities in the state.

Key Takeaways

  • Accreditation by agencies like CAAHEP ensures the surgical technology program meets industry standards, with Midlands Technical College, Greenville Technical College, and Spartanburg Community College being some of the notable CAAHEP-accredited institutions in South Carolina.
  • Surgical technician programs vary in length and often include crucial courses in anatomy, medical terminology, microbiology, and pharmacology, along with core surgical technology classes and clinical practice to equip students with comprehensive, hands-on training.
  • Successful completion of an accredited program qualifies graduates to take the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) examination, which is required in South Carolina for surgical technologists within 12 months of hiring if they are not already certified.

Exploring Surgical Technician Programs in South Carolina

Surgical technician program in South Carolina

Choosing an accredited surgical technology program is the first step toward a successful career as a surgical technologist. These programs, accredited by recognized organizations, focus on equipping students with the necessary knowledge and skills for successful employment as entry-level surgical technologists.

Accredited Programs

Accredited surgical technician programs in South Carolina

Accreditation by agencies such as the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) ensures the surgical technology program you choose meets industry standards, providing quality education and competence. Midlands Technical College, Greenville Technical College, and Spartanburg Community College are prominent institutions with CAAHEP-accredited Surgical Technology programs, that adhere to high educational standards.

Not to be left behind, South Carolina offers several accredited Surgical Technology programs for aspiring surgical technicians. Some of the accredited programs in the state include:

  • Greenville Technical College
  • Midlands Technical College
  • Florence-Darlington Technical College
  • Trident Technical College (currently seeking accreditation from CAAHEP)

Choosing an accredited program is non-negotiable for those looking to become skilled and qualified surgical technicians in South Carolina.

Greenville Technical College

Greenville Technical College offers a comprehensive Surgical Technology program that combines classroom instruction with hands-on experience in a state-of-the-art simulated operating room. This program prepares students to become vital members of surgical teams, assisting in various surgical procedures and ensuring optimal patient outcomes.

  • Program Overview:
    • Surgical technologists assist in the setup of operating rooms with sterile instruments, equipment, and linens.
    • They maintain the sterile field during surgeries, pass instruments, sutures, and sponges, and assist with patient care before, during, and after surgical procedures.
    • The curriculum combines classroom instruction with practical, hands-on experience.
  • Benefits and Opportunities:
    • Quick entry into the field with rising job opportunities.
    • Above-average earning potential with employment opportunities in all geographic areas.
    • Diverse work environments include hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, and physician and dentist offices specializing in surgical procedures.
  • Key Features:
    • Accreditation: The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
    • Certification Eligibility: Graduates can take the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) Exam.
    • Sterile Processing Certificate: Students can earn a certificate in Sterile Processing, by completing 60 clinical hours of hands-on training in a local hospital.
  • What You’ll Learn:
    • Instrument identification and functions, proper handling, and sterilization methods.
    • Anatomy, physiology, surgical procedures, and responsibilities of surgical technologists.
    • Practical skills for setting up operating rooms and assisting surgeons during procedures.
  • Admission Requirements:
    • In addition to the general college admissions process, students must complete specific steps for the School of Health Sciences.
    • These include understanding policies, completing the online Career Talk, and submitting a weighted application for the program.

Greenville Technical College’s Surgical Technology program offers a well-rounded education with both theoretical and practical components, preparing students for successful careers as surgical technologists. The program’s accreditation and certification opportunities ensure graduates are well-equipped to meet the demands of the healthcare industry.

Midlands Technical College

Midlands Technical College offers an Associate Degree in Surgical Technology. This program prepares students to work as surgical technologists and integral members of operating room teams. The curriculum provides a balanced set of classroom instruction, lab experiences, and clinical training.

  • Program Overview:
    • The Surgical Technology program at MTC prepares students to assist surgeons and other healthcare professionals during all phases of surgery.
    • The curriculum includes procedures, sterile techniques, medical equipment terminology, human anatomy and physiology, physics, robotics, and pharmacology for the operating room.
  • Learning Environment:
    • Students gain hands-on experience in a simulated operating room located in the Health Sciences Building on the Airport Campus.
    • Clinical experiences are provided through affiliations with local hospitals and healthcare facilities.
  • Accreditation:
    • The program is accredited, and graduates can take the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) Exam.
  • Program Requirements:
    • In addition to MTC’s general admissions process, students must meet specific eligibility and admissions criteria for the Health Sciences Department.

The Surgical Technology program at Midlands Technical College offers a comprehensive education and practical training, preparing students for certification and successful careers as surgical technologists. The program’s accreditation and hands-on learning opportunities ensure graduates are well-prepared for the demands of the healthcare industry.

Florence-Darlington Technical College

Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology. This program is designed to provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to become proficient surgical technologists through a combination of classroom study, laboratory skills, and clinical experience.

  • Program Overview:
    • The program spans five semesters and includes a mix of classroom instruction, hands-on laboratory skills, and clinical experience.
    • Students will learn aseptic techniques, surgical instrumentation, surgical suite equipment, operative procedures, anatomy, medical terminology, pharmacology, and microbiology.
    • Three semesters of clinical rotations provide students with opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge in practical settings, enabling them to gain essential surgical skills.
  • Certification:
    • Upon graduation, students can take the national certification exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) to become Certified Surgical Technologists.
  • Student Learning Outcomes:
    • Graduates will be able to integrate theoretical knowledge into clinical practice as qualified, entry-level surgical technologists.
    • Students will develop a strong surgical conscience, proficiency in aseptic techniques, proper use and care of instrumentation, and clinical judgment.
    • The program supports the Surgical Technology Code of Ethics, emphasizing professional behaviors, ethical standards, and patient care.
  • Admissions and Application:
    • Applications for the Health Sciences Programs at FDTC are accepted during specific periods, with detailed instructions available on the college’s website.

The Surgical Technology program at Florence-Darlington Technical College provides a comprehensive education and practical training, preparing students for certification and successful careers as surgical technologists. The program’s rigorous curriculum, extensive clinical experience, and adherence to high ethical standards ensure that graduates are well-equipped to meet the demands of the healthcare industry.

Trident Technical College

Trident Technical College offers a comprehensive Surgical Technology program aimed at preparing students for a career as surgical technologists. This program equips students with the necessary skills and knowledge to become proficient members of the surgical team, assisting surgeons and nurses before, during, and after surgical procedures.

  • Program Overview:
    • Surgical technologists, also known as scrubs or scrub techs, play a crucial role in the operating room, ensuring that surgeries are conducted efficiently and safely.
    • Responsibilities include preparing the operating room, sterilizing instruments, positioning, and prepping patients, and assisting during surgeries.
    • The program combines 16 credits of general education with 53 credits of major requirements over two years.
  • Skills and Characteristics:
    • Essential skills include the ability to work under pressure, act quickly and accurately, collaborate effectively with a surgical team, and communicate well with colleagues and patients.
    • Attention to detail and strong organizational skills are also critical.
  • Accreditation:
    • The program is seeking accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA).
    • Graduates can take the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) certification exam.
  • Program Goals and Outcomes:
    • The primary goal is to prepare entry-level surgical technologists competent in cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.
    • Students will gain knowledge in human anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, microbiology, and pharmacology.
    • They will develop skills in aseptic techniques, clinical judgment, patient safety, and effective communication.
    • Graduates will be equipped to pass the NBSTSA certification exam and perform competently in surgical settings.
  • Affordability and Accessibility:
    • Trident Tech’s Surgical Technology program is noted for its affordability compared to other programs in the region, with federal and state grants and scholarships available.
    • The program is hosted at The NEAR Center in Mount Pleasant, S.C., providing convenient access for students.

Trident Technical College’s Surgical Technology program offers an affordable and comprehensive pathway to becoming a certified surgical technologist. With a focus on practical skills, theoretical knowledge, and professional behavior, the program prepares students for successful careers in various surgical settings.

Core surgical technology classes

General Education Courses

General education courses form an integral part of a surgical technician program. They often include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical terminology
  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacology

Anatomy and physiology courses provide students with foundational knowledge of the human anatomy, while medical terminology courses equip students with the language of surgery.

Microbiology courses are paramount, teaching students about pathogen mechanisms and infection control, vital for maintaining surgical asepsis. Pharmacology educates students on drug usage in surgical settings, including dosage calculations. For instance, Trident Technical College requires 16 credits of general education in addition to major coursework for its Surgical Technology program.

Core Surgical Technology Classes

Core surgical technology classes are the heart of these programs. They are sequenced from basic to complex, allowing students to build a fundamental knowledge base, crucial for success as an entry-level surgical technologist. These classes focus on a range of important topics including:

  • Safe patient care
  • Operating room techniques
  • Surgical procedures
  • Principles of asepsis
  • Proper use of surgical instruments and equipment

Through these core courses, students acquire crucial skills in:

  • Patient safety
  • Sterilization
  • Infection control
  • Equipment handling
  • Effective communication
  • Teamwork

These skills facilitate safe and efficient surgical procedures, preparing students for the myriad challenges they will face in the operating room.

Clinical Practice

Clinical practice in surgical technician program

Clinical internships are a cornerstone of surgical tech programs. They offer students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they’ve gained in the classroom to real-world operating room environments. This hands-on experience is key to understanding and maintaining a sterile field, which is crucial for patient safety.

During clinical practice, students acquire essential skills in aseptic technique, surgical procedures, clinical judgment, and attention to detail within the surgical environment. They also get a chance to handle emergency procedures and ensure safe transport and positioning of patients. Additionally, clinical rotations expose students to specialized surgery areas, enriching their knowledge of varied surgical methodologies and patient care procedures.

Top surgical technician programs provide:

  • Ample clinical exposure
  • Opportunities to partake in over a hundred surgical cases
  • Hands-on experience with different types of surgeries under expert supervision

These programs are designed to enhance your skills in applied science surgical technology and ensure surgical technologists prepare for a successful career, as surgical technologists work alongside a surgical team.

Certification and Licensing

After successful completion of an accredited surgical technician program, students are required to take the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) examination. This exam, administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), is a testament to the expertise and proficiency of certified surgical technologists.

The CST examination consists of 175 questions, of which 150 are scored. A passing score is currently 98 out of the 150 scored questions. Candidates are allowed to test up to three times in a calendar year, and eligibility requires completion of an accredited surgical technician program or specific documentation for military-trained surgical technologists.

In South Carolina, surgical technologists who graduated after January 1, 2008, are expected to be certified within 12 months of hiring if not already certified. Therefore, a high-quality surgical technician program’s key indicator is its graduates’ pass rate on the CST exam.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

While pursuing a surgical technician program, considering the financial implications is paramount. For example, South Carolina residents can receive free tuition for Trident Technical College’s Surgical Technology program until Spring Semester 2024. This initiative aims to make education more accessible for residents. On the other hand, the Surgical Technology program at the Technical College of the Lowcountry has a tuition fee of approximately $14,552, based on 68 credits at $214 per credit.

Prospective students should also account for additional costs such as textbooks, uniforms, and examination fees. For example, the examination fees for the CST exam are $190 for AST members and $290 for non-members. Therefore, it’s essential to review the program’s tuition fees and budget appropriately.

Job Prospects for Surgical Technologists in South Carolina

Job prospects for surgical technologists in South Carolina

The job market for surgical technologists in South Carolina is thriving. With 915 current job openings, opportunities are abundant, especially in cities like Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville. The majority of these opportunities are for full-time and entry-level positions.

The annual mean wage for surgical technologists in South Carolina is $50,610, with entry-level surgical technologists earning around $41,449. Experienced professionals in the 90th percentile can earn up to $61,205. However, average salaries can vary by city, with Goose Creek offering an average salary of $51,605 and Alcolu $48,664.

The surgical technology field in South Carolina is projected to grow by 15%, implying a positive career growth potential.

Tips for Choosing the Right Program

Choosing the right surgical technician program can be daunting. It’s essential to consider factors such as:

  • The program’s cost
  • Student-faculty ratio
  • Flexibility regarding class timings or part-time options
  • Graduation rate
  • Support provided for job placement after graduation

Assessing the class size limits of your chosen program is also important. A smaller class size generally means you’ll receive more personalized attention and support from instructors, which can significantly enhance your learning experience and success.

Student Experience

The student experience in a surgical technician program includes:

  • Rigorous academic work
  • Exciting practical experiences
  • Clinical rotations that involve full-time work, consisting of eight-hour days, five days a week, providing real-world experience in the surgical tech role.

Some programs offer online course options for greater flexibility, especially for students juggling other commitments. Students at Trident Technical College benefit from experienced instructors who have extensive practical knowledge in the field of surgical technology.

The Surgical Technology program at Trident Tech is advantageously located at The NEAR Center in Mount Pleasant, S.C., which is just one mile away from Trident Tech’s main Mount Pleasant campus, making it an accessible location for students.

Summary

A career as a surgical technologist in South Carolina is both rewarding and promising. With a wide range of accredited programs, comprehensive curriculum, supportive faculty, and substantial job prospects, the journey to becoming a surgical technologist is a path worth traversing. However, this journey requires dedication, hard work, and the right choice of program. So, take the plunge, and embark on a fulfilling career in surgical technology!

Frequently Asked Questions

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

It takes two years to become a surgical tech in South Carolina. After completing the associate degree program, students are eligible to take the national certification exam.

How much do surgical techs make in SC?

Surgical techs in South Carolina make an average of $90,663 per year, with entry-level positions starting at $64,497 and experienced workers making up to $121,697 annually.

What surgical techs make the most money?

The most lucrative surgical tech jobs are found in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Nevada, and Washington, with average annual wages ranging from $66,590 to $73,960. They are often employed in medical and diagnostic labs, home healthcare, and specialty hospitals, with average annual wages of $63,930-$71,430.

What is the best major for a surgical tech?

The best major for a surgical tech is a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, exercise science, nursing, pre-health, or a health-related area. Some common majors for surgical techs also include medical technician, nursing, and business.

Why is accreditation important for surgical technician programs?

Accreditation is important for surgical technician programs because it ensures quality education and competence while also being a prerequisite for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) examination.