How to Become a Surgical Technologist in New York
Surgical technologists are allied healthcare professionals who work under the direction of surgeons, physicians and nurses. Surgical technologists prepare operating rooms and patients for surgery, assist the surgical team and surgeon during surgery and maintain a sterile operating environment before, during and after surgery. If you think that this sounds like a good fit for you, you may want to consider becoming a surgical technologist in New York. Before you begin, you should familiarize yourself with the statewide requirements for this profession. [En Español]
Requirements for Working as a Surgical Tech in New York
Some states require that surgical technologists complete a surgical training program or become a certified surgical tech before working in the state. Some states require that surgical technologists register, and some states don’t have any educational or certification requirements.
In New York, the profession of surgical technology is regulated by the New York State Assembly of the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST). Surgical technologists who wish to practice in the state of New York must graduate from an accredited educational program. They must also hold national certification and complete 15 hours of continued education annually.
New York Schools for Surgical Technology
A surgical technology training program that has been accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) must be taken before you can take the national certification exam or work as a surgical technologist in the state. There are several accredited programs in New York:
- Mandl School College of Allied Health. The Mandl School College of Allied health in New York City offers students an Associate of Science degree in surgical technology. The program is 62 credit hours and can be completed in 75 weeks. Students are taught through classroom study, and there is also an equipped skills lab on campus for hands-on training. A clinical externship is included in the program as well.
- Center for Allied Health Education. The Center for Allied Health Education (CAHE) in Brooklyn provides students with a one-year certificate in surgical technology program that is ABHES accredited. The program is made up of 1,104 clock hours with 490 of those hours being clinical. An overall C average (2.0 GPA) is required for graduation from the program. In 2017, students graduating from this program had a 75 percent pass rate on the national certification exam and an 80 percent job placement rate.
- Onondaga Community College. Located in Syracuse, Onondaga Community College also offers a surgical technology certificate program. This program can be completed in as little as 11 months. The program consists of 37 credit hours taken over fall, spring and summer semesters. Clinical practice is done the final two semesters in hospitals and outpatient surgery centers in the Syracuse area. Certification must be taken within a year of graduation from the program.
To become a certified surgical technologist (CST) you are required to pass the exam given by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Prior to taking the exam, you must complete an educational program accredited by either the CAAHEP or the ABHES. Once you have passed the exam and become certified, this certification should be renewed every four years by taking the exam again or by showing proof of having taken 15 continued education credits per year. You are already required to take 15 continued education credits per year to continue working in New York as a surgical tech, but those credits can also count towards your certification renewal, meaning you will only need to take 15 credits per year, not 30. In New York, testing centers are located in: Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Poughkeepsie, Queens, Rochester, Selden, Syracuse and White Plains.
The national growth rate for surgical technologists over the next few years is projected to be 12 percent. The growth rate for surgical technologists in the state of New York over that same period is projected to be 18 percent. The number of surgical technologists working in New York is expected to increase from 6,120 to 7,200 by the year 2026.
In addition to having job security, surgical technologists also earn a good salary. The average annual salary for surgical technologists in the state in 2019 was $57,420. Surgical technologists in New York City average $59,620 annually. Depending upon the employer, location and experience, surgical techs in New York can potentially earn as much as $79,820 a year.
Working as a Surgical Technologist in New York
Most surgical technologists find employment in hospitals. They may also seek employment in ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient surgery centers, birthing centers and doctors’ offices where minor surgical procedures are performed.
You can find work as a surgical tech almost anywhere there is a hospital, surgery center or clinic. However, the most popular cities to work in New York are some of the larger ones such as Albany, Brooklyn, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester and Syracuse. Once you have completed a surgical technology training program and passed the certification exam, you will be ready to work as a surgical technologist anywhere within the state of New York.