How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Mississippi
When you think about healthcare providers involved in surgery, a surgeon, nurses and anesthesiologists may come to mind. You may not think of surgical technologists; however, they play a very important role before, during and after surgery. Before surgery, surgical techs are responsible for preparing the patient and the operating room (OR) for the procedure. In the OR, they will sterilize and lay out instruments and make sure all equipment is functioning properly.
Surgical techs will prep the patient by shaving and sterilizing the area of the body where the surgery will be performed. They will also transport the patient to the OR and position them on the operating table. During surgery, the surgical tech hands instruments and supplies to the surgeon. They also monitor the patient’s vitals and will assist the surgeon and other members of the team as needed. After surgery, the surgical tech is responsible for taking the patient from the OR to the recovery area. They will also clean the OR, re-sterilize everything and set up the OR for the next surgery. [En Español]
In Mississippi, the profession of surgical technology is not regulated, meaning there are no laws regarding certification, education or licensure. While there is not a surgical technologist license, you can obtain national certification and become a certified surgical technologist (CST). Many employers do require national certification. Basic life support (BLS) and CPR certification are also required by most employers in Mississippi.
The only educational requirement for surgical technologists in the state is a high school diploma or GED. A certificate or degree in surgical technology from a post-secondary institution is not required to work in Mississippi. However, completing a surgical technology 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) is necessary to take the national certification exam.
Surgical Technology Programs in Mississippi
In addition to preparing you to take the national certification exam, completing a surgical technology program will also provide you with hands-on experience through clinical work and surgical externships. In Mississippi there are 10 colleges that offer surgical technology programs that are CAAHEP or ABHES accredited. For admission into a surgical technology program in Mississippi, you will need to have a high school diploma or GED, a physical exam, a negative drug screen and proof of current immunizations.
Here are a few of the accredited colleges in Mississippi and a summary of their surgical technology programs:
- Meridian Community College. Meridian Community College has a one-year surgical technology certificate program, taken over three semesters. A certificate is given at the end of the summer semester. The first semester involves classroom instruction, and the final two semesters involve clinical labs. Students must pass a skills test at the end of the first semester to advance to the next. Upon completion of the program, students will be ready to take the national certification exam which is given at the Meridian CC campus.
- Pearl River Community College. At Pearl River Community College, you can choose between taking a one-year surgical technologist technical certificate program or a two-year Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree program in surgical technology. A minimum ACT score of 16 is required to be admitted into this program. To graduate from either program you must scrub in on at least 120 surgical cases during your clinicals.
The certificate program consists of 46 credit hours taken over three semesters. The AAS degree program consists of 65 credit hours. In addition to the classes taken for the certificate program, students pursuing an AAS in surgical technology also need to take Anatomy & Physiology 1 and 2, 1 Math/Natural Science elective, 1 Social/Behavior Science elective and 1 Humanities/Fine Arts elective. The classes are limited to 20 students.
- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College offers an AAS degree in surgical technology. This program consists of 64 credit hours and can be completed in two years. Students in this program participate in regular classroom instruction as well as clinical labs in the on-campus operating suite. General education prerequisites that must be taken prior to taking the program specific courses are: Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2, Public Speaking, English Composition, College Algebra, General Psychology and a Humanities/Fine Arts elective.
Surgical Technologist Certification in Mississippi
To achieve the status of CST you must pass the certification exam given by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). In Mississippi you can take the exam in Jackson or in Meridian at Meridian CC. If you are a member of the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), the exam fee is $190. If you aren’t a member, the exam fee is $290. To remain actively certified you must renew your certification every four years. This can be done through continued education or by taking the exam again every four years. If you choose continued education, you must take 15 credits yearly through attending workshops and seminars or enrolling in surgical technology classes. If you choose to retake the exam, you will be required to pay the exam fee again.
Allied Health Education Programs in Mississippi
There are several other allied health education programs in Mississippi. These include, but are not limited to:
• Medical Assisting
• Dental Hygiene
• Radiography and Imaging Sciences
• Respiratory Therapy
• Veterinary Assistant/Technician
These programs typically require some prerequisite courses, such as Human Anatomy & Physiology, Medical Terminology, and basic Math and Science. Most of these programs involve both classroom instruction and clinical components. After completion of an allied health program in Mississippi you will be eligible to take the national certification exam in your chosen field.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
Mississippi is the third-highest state for the concentration of jobs for surgical technologists. In 2020, there were 1,120 surgical technologists employed in Mississippi. That number is predicted to rise by 7 percent to 1,200 by 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Surgical technologists in Mississippi make an average $18.03 an hour and $37,500 annually. Entry-level surgical techs may earn around $13.40 hourly and $27,880 annually. CSTs with more experience under their belt can make up to $57,480 per year in the state. Location is key when it comes to salary as well. Surgical techs in several cities average more annually than the statewide mean average, including Memphis ($47,990), Jackson ($46,810) and Gulfport and Biloxi ($37,790).
Working as a Surgical Technologist in Mississippi
Surgical technologists are most often found working in hospitals, assisting with surgeries. However, they may also find work in surgical and birthing centers, outpatient clinics and even physician offices. Some surgical technologists assist with various surgeries while other may choose a specialty and stick with it.
Surgical technologists can most likely find employment throughout the state of Mississippi , but Biloxi, Gulfport, Jackson, Meridian and Southaven are excellent places to begin looking for work. Some specific places to consider working at in Mississippi include the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Fresenius Medical Care and Memorial Hospital at Gulfport.
If a career in healthcare that is financially rewarding and has plenty of room for growth and advancement sounds like something you would enjoy, you may want to consider becoming a surgical technologist in Mississippi.