How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Maine
Surgical technologists help lead surgeons perform operations in a way that is seamless and effective. Extensive preparation is needed before surgeries take place—patients and entire surgical teams need to be prepared. As a surgical assistant, you will perform the necessary tasks to help ensure that patients are physically ready to go into the operating room. You will also help the lead surgeon by properly placing and handling medical instruments and equipment during surgery, and you can expect to be a key component during the post-operation process as well. [En Español]
Requirements for Becoming a Surgical Technologist in Maine
There are only a few U.S. states that require surgical technologists to be registered before practicing, and Maine is one of the many states that do not have this requirement. However, if you want to take your career seriously, your best option is to complete a surgical technologist training program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
When you find a training program that best suits your needs, is sure to have documentation of your high school diploma or GED, which is a typical requirement for enrollment into these accredited institutions. To make your job search go as smoothly as possible, you will want to find a local internship that will provide you with some hands-on experience in the industry while you are completing coursework. This kind of experience will reassure employers of your level of expertise when you complete your training program and begin your job search. Your potential employer may not require you to have previous experience, but it will be a plus to have this on your resume, and can help get you in the door.
Surgical Technology Programs in Maine
Formal post-secondary education will equip you with the knowledge and resources you’ll need to be a successful surgical tech. Both the CAAHEP and the ABHES have accredited schools throughout the state of Maine for aspiring surgical techs.
- Eastern Maine Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Surgical Technology, which will take about two years to complete. This surgical technology program will give you a basic understanding of human physiology and surgical anatomy, help you make basic measurements for dosage and drug calculations, teach you to use appropriate aseptic techniques in surgery, and more. Tuition costs about $7,000 per year, and the school is located in Bangor, Maine.
- Maine Medical Center has a school of surgical technology that prepares students for entry-level positions within the trade. The program is full-time, takes one year to complete, and is divided into two six-month semesters. Tuition costs about $3,750, and students have the option to use credits from this program toward an Associate of Applied Science Degree from Southern Maine Community College.
- Southern Maine Community College requires surgical technology students to complete their first year of study at Maine Medical Center’s School of Surgical Technology. Students spend their second year refining their skills to maximize employment opportunities. The entire program can be completed in two years and will cost about $7,500 in total. Upon completion, students will be awarded an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Surgical Technology.
Certified Surgical Technologist in Maine
In Maine, certification is not required to work as a surgical technologist. However, having the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting will increase your chances of finding employment. This is because employers view certified professionals as more knowledgeable and skilled than their non-certified counterparts.
National Certification for Surgical Technologists in Maine
After completing your surgical technology training program, you will have the option to sit for the national certification exam provided by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Your employer will determine if this voluntary certification is necessary to be hired, but chances are it will increase your likelihood of being selected for the job. Since there are no national regulations for becoming a surgical technologist, many employers will look for this certification when seeking to hire someone.
National Certification Examination
The exam fee is $290, and to sit for this exam you will need to provide proof that you have completed a surgical tech training program that is recognized by the NBSTSA. Programs accredited by the CAAHEP or the ABHES will fit the NBSTSA’s criteria. Alternatively, you can provide documented proof that you have completed a military training program in surgical technology.
The NBSTSA requires you to show your continued competence within the profession by either retaking the exam every four years or providing proof that you have completed at least 60 credit hours of continued education during the four years between exams.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) reported that 460 people were working as surgical techs in Maine in 2016. By 2026, there are expected to be a total of 510 people working in this profession. This signifies a 9.5 percent increase in the job market within the decade from 2016 to 2026.
In 2021, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that surgical technologists earned an average salary of $26.59 per hour or $55,300 annually. If you want to move up within the ranks of this profession, you should know that the highest earners in Maine make more than $62,360 per year according to BLS data.
Working as a Surgical Technologist in Maine
If you want to become a surgical tech in Maine, expect to earn the highest pay in the cities of Portland, South Portland, and Westbrook. You will find work in hospitals, outpatient centers, or private practices, working alongside lead surgeons, anesthesiologists, or registered nurses. You must enjoy paying attention to detail, working in high-stress environments, and having some degree of responsibility for another human life. If this describes you, now is a great time for you to enter the field of surgical technology.
What does a Surgical Technologist do?
When a patient goes into the operating room for surgery, there are surgical technologists there to help the lead surgeon in completing the surgical process. Surgical technologists handle and set up the tools and equipment used by the lead surgeon and are there to help ensure that operations go according to plan by preparing patients for surgery, sterilizing medical utensils, and handing the requested tools to the lead surgeon as the operation takes place. If this description sounds appealing to you, you may want to consider becoming a surgical technologist.