How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Kansas
Surgical technologists also called surgical or scrub techs, are vital members of a surgical team. Surgical techs help patients before surgery by making sure the surgical field is clean and shaved if needed. They may also position the patient on the operating table and position a drape if it is being used. After surgery, surgical techs will transport the patient to the recovery area. The surgical technologist is also responsible for making sure the operating room (OR) is clean, sterilized, and well-stocked. During surgery, the technologist will monitor the instrument count and hand-needed instruments and supplies to the surgeon or other members of the surgical team. [En Español]
Presently, surgical technology is not regulated in the state of Kansas, meaning that a license or certification is not required to work as a surgical tech in the state. However, the Kansas State Assembly of the Association of Surgical Technologists is currently trying to get legislation passed that will require all future surgical technologists in Kansas to be certified through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). The only educational requirement for surgical technologists in the state is a high school diploma or GED, but this will change once legislation is passed. Future surgical technologists will be required to complete an accredited post-secondary surgical technology training program before they can take the NBSTSA exam. Current basic life support (BLS) and CPR certification is a hiring requirements for many Kansas employers.
National Certification for Surgical Technologists in Kansas
To become a certified surgical technologist (CST) you must pass the NBSTSA exam. Before taking the NBSTSA exam, you must complete a surgical technology certificate or associate degree program that is accredited by either the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). In Kansas, the exam can be taken in Overland Park, Olathe, and Wichita. The exam fee is $190 for AST members and $290 for non-members.
Certification will need to be renewed every four years to remain current as a CST. To renew your certification, you will need to take 15 continued education credits a year. These credits can be earned by taking classes or attending workshops, seminars, or conferences. Once legislation is passed in Kansas, continued education will be required for all surgical techs whether they are certified or not.
Surgical Technology Programs in Kansas
Nine schools in Kansas offer CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited surgical technology programs. There may be other programs available through other colleges, but only accredited programs are accepted for students to be able to take the NBSTSA exam. To be admitted into a surgical technology program in Kansas, you will need the following:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Physical exam
- Negative drug test
- Proof of Immunizations
These are some of the accredited programs offered in Kansas and a summary of each:
- Hutchinson Community College. The certificate program at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson can be completed in ten months. 49.5 credit hours are required to complete this program. Prerequisites to this program are Human Anatomy and Physiology, General Microbiology, and Cardiac Care. Graduates of this program have a job placement rate of 90 percent.
- Wichita State University Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology (WSU Tech). At WSU Tech, you can choose from a certificate program or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) surgical technology program. The certificate program consists of 52 credit hours and generally takes about a year to complete. The AAS degree program consists of 67 credit hours and can be completed in two years. Both include a CPR certification class and clinical externships. Graduates of this program reportedly have a 100 percent pass rate on the NBSTSA exam as well as a 100 percent job placement rate.
- Washburn Institute of Technology. Washburn Tech in Topeka offers students a 53-credit hour certificate in surgical technology program that is completed in two semesters (one year). This is a full-time program offered during day classes. This is a competitive program, as only 14 students are accepted yearly. Prerequisite classes that must be taken before beginning the surgical tech program are Anatomy and Physiology, Human Development, and Nutrition. Students entering the program must also pass the English and Math portions of the Workkeys assessment test. If the student has taken the COMPASS, SAT, or ACT exams within the past five years, those scores will be accepted as well.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectation
Surgical technology is a career that is on a steady incline. In 2020, 1,040 members of the trade were practicing in Kansas. That number is expected to increase by 7 percent by the year 2030, adding 80 more surgical tech jobs within the state. Data supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that surgical technologists in Kansas were making an average of $22.55 an hour and $46,910 a year as of 2021. With education, certification, and experience you can potentially make as much as $59,770 yearly.
Location can also be factored in when considering potential salary. Surgical technologists in more than 11 Kansas cities have a yearly salary that is higher than the mean average. Surgical techs in Topeka average $44,960 annually, while those in Manhattan, KS average $44,230. In Wichita, surgical techs report an average salary of $44,430, and those in Kansas City earn an average of $47,510
Working as a Surgical Technologist in Kansas
The most common place of employment for surgical technologists are hospitals, such as St. Luke’s, MidAmerica Rehab Hospital, and Wesley Medical Center. Surgical techs in hospitals may work as floaters, assisting any surgeon who may need help in the operating room. Or, they may pick a specialty and only perform surgeries and procedures specific to that specialty. Surgery specialties include general, ENT, urology, ob/gyn, neurology, orthopedic and plastic surgery. Surgical techs may also work in outpatient clinics, surgical centers, or in a physician’s office. Surgical techs who work in these settings may focus more on surgical procedures rather than long surgeries.
In Kansas, the cities with the highest employment rates for surgical technologists are Kansas City, Overland Park, and Wichita. If you are interested in a career that is financially rewarding and has job stability and is prepared to set aside a couple of years for training, you may want to consider becoming a surgical technologist in Kansas.