How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Colorado
Colorado is one of few states that require individuals to register in order to work as a surgical technologist. The requirements for registering include several steps and a fee, but for someone who has completed an educational program in surgical technology, the criteria are not hard to meet. If you were hoping to work in this exciting healthcare career in Colorado, start with a post-secondary program and earn a two-year degree or certificate. [En Español]
What is Surgical Technology?
Colorado requires that anyone performing the duties of a surgical technologist be registered. The state defines the role of a surgical tech by outlining those duties as:
- Preparing the operating room
- Sterilizing equipment and instruments
- Ensuring operating equipment works and is maintained
- Passing supplies to a surgeon during a procedure
- Holding retractors
- Suctioning incisions
- Cutting sutures
- Keeping track of surgical supplies
Registering as a Surgical Technologist in Colorado
To work as a surgical technologist in the state you must register with the Department of Regulatory Agencies, Office of Surgical Assistant and Surgical Technologist Registration. To become registered you have to send in an application with a $35 fee. The application must also include the results of a fingerprint and background check and an affidavit of eligibility to work in the U.S. Applicants must also answer a series of screening questions related to any criminal history. Finally, applicants for surgical tech registration must complete an online Healthcare Professions Profiling Program, which includes questions about working as a professional in a healthcare setting. Performing the duties of surgical technology in Colorado without being registered is considered a class 2 misdemeanor.
National Certification for Surgical Technologists
While Colorado does not require that surgical technologists be certified, many choose this option in order to prove knowledge and skills necessary to be hired. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) certifies professionals who have completed an educational program accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Completing an accredited program qualifies you to take the certification exam set by the NBSTSA. Certified individuals must renew the certification every four years. The renewal process includes proving that you have completed 15 or more credits of continuing education courses each year.
Colorado Schools for Surgical Technology
Although the state does not set any minimal education requirements, the best way to get into the field of surgical technology is to start with an educational program and to get certified upon completion. There are several accredited surgical tech programs in Colorado:
- Pueblo Community College, Pueblo. Pueblo offers students an associate degree program in surgical technology that runs full time and takes five semesters to complete. In addition to traditional classroom learning, students work hands-on in clinical settings during the day, in the evenings, and on weekends.
- Aims Community College, Greeley. The Aims program is also a two-year associate degree program, and it includes both classroom work and actual hands-on work with patients in surgery centers and hospitals. Aims graduates are prepared to pass the national certification exam, and the pass rate in 2017 was 100 percent.
- Concorde Career College, Aurora. The Aurora campus outside of Denver offers students a degree program in surgical technology that can be finished in 15 months. There is clinical work as well as classroom learning, and Concorde offers students financial aid assistance as needed.
The national outlook for surgical technology careers is positive, with an expected growth of nearly 13 percent. For Colorado, the growth is even stronger. From 2016 to 2026, the number of employed surgical technologists in the state is predicted to grow by over 500 positions, which is a growth rate of almost 35 percent. Anyone studying for this career now can expect to find work easily in the state and to enjoy good job security.
Trained and registered surgical technologists in Colorado can also expect to earn a great living. In 2019, surgical techs in the state earned $26.61 per hour and $55,350 per year on average. This is higher than the national average for earnings in this field.
Working as a Surgical Technologist in Colorado
Surgical technologists most often work in hospitals, where surgeries are performed. They may also be hired to work in outpatient or ambulatory surgery centers and in physician or dental offices that perform minor surgeries and procedures.
The greatest opportunities for employment in the state are in the larger population centers, especially in and around Denver. The largest hospitals employ the most surgical techs, and these include Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver and Memorial Hospital Central in Colorado Springs.
With just two years or fewer of education, you could be prepared to register with the state and work as a surgical tech in one of the many hospitals in Colorado.
111 N. Havana Street, Aurora, Colorado 80010-4314
Surgical Technologist – Certificate Program
Concorde Career College’s Certificate program in Surgical Technologist is taught at their Aurora campus in the city of Aurora, CO. The college has around 578 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees for the Surgical Technologist program are about $24,500 yearly. Study materials can cost about $2,775. Typically, the program is completed in 12 months.
7475 Dakin St Suite 100, Denver, Colorado 80221
Surgical Technology – Associate Program
Pima Medical Institute’s Associate program in Surgical Technology is taught at their Denver campus in Denver in Adams County, Colorado. The majority of of the school’s 812 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Fees for tuition are broadly about $12,380 yearly, while study materials may cost about $710, depending on the program.
5401 W. 20th St., Greeley, Colorado 80634
Surgical Technology – Associate Program
Aims Community College’s Associate program is based at their campus in the city of Greeley, Colorado. Most of the school’s 5,298 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees for in-district students are usually around $1,835 and are $2,756 and $10,424 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,475, depending on the program chosen.
* Tuition fees and accredition status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college before applying.