How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Idaho

Attention to detail, sharp focus and endurance are just a few qualities surgical techs should have in order to excel in the medical field. Being part of a surgical team may require you to prepare patients for surgery by dressing their wounds or assisting them to enter an operating room. While surgery is taking place, you will need to ensure that medical instruments are in their proper places to help the operation flow smoothly. When surgery is complete, surgical technologists could also be responsible for sterilizing the operating room and assisting patients in recovery post-operation. [En Español]

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Requirements for Becoming a Surgical Technologist in Idaho

There are a small number of states that require surgical techs to follow certain regulations in order to practice. Idaho is one such state, with laws in place to ensure surgical techs are held to a certain standard. To practice in this state, surgical techs must have successfully completed a one-year education program for operating room technicians accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), in cooperation with the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA). Alternatively, surgical techs can complete training programs that meet the requirements set by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

Completing a surgical tech training program accredited by either the CAAHEP or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) will make you eligible to practice in this state, since these are two accrediting organizations recognized by the NBSTSA. These two trusted administrations set high standards for medical schools across the country. Additionally, completing a program from either of these lists will allow you to sit for the NBSTSA’s national exam that will make you a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).

To take charge of your career, you should be proactive. A great way to do this is by finding a local internship at a hospital or private practice. Any hands-on experience taking place in a real-world setting will prepare you to take your national CST exam and do your job efficiently when you begin seeking employment. Moreover, hands-on experience such as this could lead to a higher salary.

Idaho Schools for Surgical Technologists

The ABHES currently lists no accredited schools for surgical technology in the state of Idaho, however the CAAHEP lists three training programs, each detailed below:

  • College of Western Idaho offers both an Intermediate Technical Certificate as well as an Associate of Applied Science degree in surgical technology. Certificates can be earned in just 18 months, while degree programs will take two years to complete. The certificate program will cost $7,621 for in-state students and $16,138 for out-of-state students.
  • College of Southern Idaho allows students to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in surgical technology. Applications are accepted between February and August until classes are full. The degree can be completed in two years, and tuition is about $4,000 per year.
  • College of Eastern Idaho offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in surgical technology, which will take two years to complete. The program curriculum includes hands-on training at local hospitals, and tuition is currently about $3,000 per year.

National Certification for Surgical Technologists

Idaho state law does not require you to become a CST before practicing, however it is highly recommended that you earn this credential. You may find that certain employers will require or strongly prefer to hire CSTs as opposed to surgical techs without certification.

Completing a surgical technology training program accredited by either the CAAHEP or the ABHES is a requirement to practice in Idaho and also a requirement to sit for the CST exam. Surgical techs who have taken a military training program in the field are also eligible to sit for this exam. The exam fee is $290.

Every four years, you will need to recertify in order to maintain your status as a CST. You can recertify by either retaking the exam or providing documented proof that you’ve completed at least 60 credit hours of continued education in surgical technology during the four-year period between exams.

Job Outlook and Salary Expectations

The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) projects that there will be a 26.2 percent expansion in the surgical tech job market in Idaho during the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026. In 2019, there were 720 surgical techs working in this state, and by 2026 there are expected to be 840 people employed in this field.

On average, surgical techs in Idaho make $23.32 per hour, or $48,500 per year, according to data presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The highest paid surgical techs in this state earn about $63,470 annually, according to the same data.

Working as a Surgical Technologist in Idaho

The job market for surgical techs is expected to expand by 12 percent nationally in the decade between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS. In Idaho, the highest paid surgical techs can be found working in cities like Coeur D Alene, Boise and Meridian.

As a specialized surgical tech, you can choose to work exclusively in certain types of surgeries. These could include heart surgery, brain surgery, cosmetic surgery and more. With many different varieties of surgical procedures, there are many opportunities to specialize. If you would enjoy working in the operating rooms of local hospitals, outpatient clinics or private medical practices, surgical technology could be a career field in which you will thrive.

College Programs

Boise City-Nampa, ID Area

College of Western Idaho

5500 East Opportunity Drive, Nampa, Idaho 83687
(208) 562-3000
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

College of Western Idaho offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Nampa in Canyon County, Idaho. The college has in the region of 8,391 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees for in-district students are roughly around $3,336 and are $4,536 and $7,344 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost roughly $696, although this varies from program to program.

Idaho Falls, ID Area

Eastern Idaho Technical College

1600 S 25th E, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83404-5788
(208) 535-3000 x3371
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Surgical Technology Associate’s program in Surgical Technology at Eastern Idaho Technical College is based at their campus in the city of Idaho Falls. The college has around 688 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly around $2,434 and for out-of-state students around $8,836 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $2,600, depending on the program chosen.

Southcentral Idaho Nonmetropolitan Area Area

College of Southern Idaho

315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, Idaho 83301
(208) 733-9554
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical First Assisting – Certificate Program

College of Southern Idaho offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and two Certificate programs. Classes are taken at their campus in the town of Twin Falls, Idaho. Most of the school’s 7,548 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Fees for tuition for in-district students are likely to be about $3,120 and are $4,120 and $6,720 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost about $990, although this will depend on the program.

* 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.

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