How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Louisiana
Surgical technologists are responsible for overseeing the proper handling of medical tools and equipment during surgery. They must ensure that instruments are sterilized and placed in convenient, strategic locations for ease of use by the lead surgeon while operations are taking place. Surgical techs must think and act quickly to ensure operations go smoothly. If you enjoy paying attention to detail and playing a vital role in important medical procedures, the work you would do as a surgical tech and your dedication to your craft will be valuable assets to any surgical team. [En Español]
Requirements for Becoming a Surgical Technologist in Louisiana
To ensure patients receive quality care, some states have passed laws that regulate the profession of surgical technology, setting specific requirements for surgical techs before they can become employed. Louisiana, however, is one of the states that has not passed any legislation governing the profession. This means that your employer will decide whether you are eligible for hire based on your skills, experience, and credentials.
Receiving a quality education is important in the medical field, as you will likely be interacting with patients while they are vulnerable and in need of special care. The best option for schooling would be to enroll in any training program that is accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). These organizations set standards to guarantee that you will receive proper education to be effective in your role as a surgical technologist.
Most post-secondary schools will require that you show proof of a high school diploma or GED to enroll, so having these files on hand will make your admissions process flow more smoothly. While you are completing your surgical technology coursework, it is recommended that you find a local internship at a medical facility that will provide you with hands-on experience in the field. This experience may not be required by your employer, but it will help you to stand out among the competition. It shows that you have been proactive in going the extra mile to build your foundation of knowledge. This experience will also help prepare you for the national exam that will certify you as a surgical tech. This national exam is detailed below.
Surgical Technology Programs in Louisiana
The CAAHEP and the ABHES have accredited a selection of medical schools for surgical technologists in Louisiana. These schools will have the best surgical technology educational programs available in the state.
- Baton Rouge Community College offers an Associate of Science in Surgical Technology (ASST), which will take five semesters to complete. This surgical technology program follows the Core Curriculum for Surgical Technology published by the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST). Students will need to complete a urine drug screen, criminal background check, a TB skin test, various immunizations/vaccinations, and hold CPR certification. Annual tuition for this program is currently about $3,872.
- Herzing University also offers an Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology, which can be completed in as little as 20 months. Students will learn to communicate and interact within a surgical environment and understand the use of robotics, lasers, laparoscopic devices, and more. Programs combining on-campus and online learning are available. The cost of tuition is currently around $12,750.
- Bossier Parish Community College offers a technical diploma in surgical technology. Students will learn the mathematical operations necessary to perform medical calculations, the history and current standards of the profession, the ability to find timely solutions to possible surgical complications, and more. The program can be completed in as little as 18 months, and tuition is currently about $2,100 per semester.
Allied Health Education Programs in Louisiana
Becoming a surgical technologist is a great way to break into the medical field. Louisiana has many options for individuals looking to get their start in the profession. It’s important to make sure that you choose an accredited program and be diligent about completing any required clinical rotations or internships. Once your training is complete, you will need to pass the Certified Surgical Technologist Exam, administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. Doing so will give you the credentials to enter a career as a surgical technologist with confidence.
There is also an online option for obtaining certifications or degrees in surgery technology from Louisiana. Louisiana State University offers a Graduate Certificate in Surgical Technology that can be completed entirely online. The program is designed to provide nurses and other healthcare professionals with advanced knowledge of the principles, practices, and technologies used in surgery. It consists of 12 credit hours, including courses on topics like anesthesia technology and operative instruments. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 to enter the program, but no license or certification is required for admission. This program can be completed in as little as one year and tuition is currently about $8,400. Additionally, students may also opt to pursue their master’s degree in surgical technology from Louisiana State University online. This program requires 36 credit hours of coursework and will cost around $23,400 to complete. The master’s degree program combines research and practice in surgical technology, and graduates are prepared for leadership roles in the field. With either of these programs, individuals will have a convenient way to gain the necessary knowledge and skills required to become a certified surgical technologist.
National Certification for Surgical Technologists in Louisiana
After completing your surgical technology coursework, you will want to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). This certification will allow you to work as a surgical tech in various states across the country. Although you can still find employment without it, taking the initiative to earn this certification will help employers see you as a skilled and qualified candidate.
The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) oversees the examination and certification process of surgical technologists. The exam fee is $290, and you are required to submit proof of your completion of an NBSTSA-recognized surgical technology program to sit for this exam. Any surgical technology program found under the list of CAAHEP or ABHES-accredited schools will be recognized by the NBSTSA. If you have completed a military program in surgical technology, you will also be eligible to take this exam.
Those holding the CST credential are required to recertify every four years. You can choose to recertify in one of two ways: retake the exam every four years or provide proof that you’ve completed at least 60 credit hours of coursework in surgical technology during the four years between exams.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that surgical technologists in Louisiana earn an average hourly wage of $21.64 in 2021. This is equivalent to $45,010 annually. The top 10 percent of surgical techs in the state earned $59,380 during that same year.
2,120 people were working as surgical technologists in Louisiana in 2016, according to data from the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP). By 2026, there are expected to be 2,330 surgical technologists in this state. This indicates a 9.7 percent expansion in the job market by 2026.
Working as a Surgical Technologist in Louisiana
On a national level, the surgical technologist profession will continue to expand in the coming years. BLS data tells us that this expansion will create a 12 percent increase in the job market. If you like to show concern for patients, appreciate being meticulous, and enjoy working in a supporting role, surgical technology could be the career for you.
In Louisiana, the cities of New Orleans, Marrero, and Metairie have some of the highest compensation rates for surgical technologists. You can also expect to work in rural areas or small cities throughout the state in places like hospital operating rooms, OB/GYN clinics, or private practices for cosmetic surgery, among other specialties.