How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Ohio

Surgical technology is an important profession. These allied healthcare workers are responsible for cleaning and preparing operating rooms, handing instruments to surgeons, and performing other assisting duties right in the operating room during procedures. They get to work hands-on with patients and doctors and help to make surgery safer. [En Español]

If you’re interested in a meaningful new career, or you’re a recent high school graduate in Ohio, consider becoming a surgical tech. There are no strict requirements in the state, but most employers hire those who have been through a post-secondary program in surgical technology.

Difference between Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting

The main difference between surgical technology and surgical assisting is that surgical technology focuses on the technical and clinical aspects of pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative procedures. A surgical technician will typically assist in the cleaning, preparing, and stocking of operating rooms as well as providing instrumentation for the surgeon during a procedure.

Surgical assisting, on the other hand, is more focused on the patient’s health and well-being before and after surgery. A surgical assistant may help the surgeon with positioning, retraction, and running minor tasks in the operating room.

Requirements to Be a Surgical Tech in Ohio

Ohio is like many other states in that it currently has no minimum requirements for education, training, or licensing for surgical technologists or surgical assistants. A bill to require licensing for these professionals was introduced, but it was never passed or made into law. This may change in the future, but for now, it is entirely up to employers to determine what qualifications a candidate must have to be hired to work as a surgical technologist. Most prefer to hire those who have completed a degree or certificate program and who have passed the exam for certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

Certified Surgical Technologist in Ohio

Getting certified as a surgical technologist in Ohio is the best way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers. The NBSTSA offers two exams: the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam and the Tech in Surgery-Certified (TS-C) exam. These exams test candidates on their understanding of surgical procedures, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, sterilization techniques, and the equipment used in surgical settings.

National Certification for Surgical Technologists

While you do not have to be certified as a surgical tech to work in this career in Ohio, achieving national certification will prove to potential employers that you have the skills and training needed to do the job well. Certification from the NBSTSA is awarded by getting a passing score on the organization’s examination.

To qualify to take that exam, you must have first completed a post-secondary education program. It can be a program for a certificate or a two-year associate degree as long as it is accredited by either the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Certification can be renewed every four years as long as you continue to take 15 credits of education courses each year.

Surgical Technology Programs in Ohio

To be eligible for national certification, you must complete a surgical technology program that will teach you what you need to know to do this job. Most programs include hands-on work experience in a clinical setting and under the supervision of surgeons. Ohio is home to several accredited programs that will help you qualify for the NBSTSA exam.

  • Owens Community College, Toledo. Students in Toledo can choose this accredited program in surgical technology, which has a selective admissions process. In addition to regular coursework in classrooms, students in this program participate in at least 120 cases in a hands-on clinical rotation in several area hospitals.
  • Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland. Cuyahoga’s program in surgical technology confers associate degrees. Students can complete the program in two years, including one summer term in a clinical setting. There are 61 credits of coursework in total. The tuition costs are $6,400 for Ohio residents.
  • Cincinnati State Community College, Cincinnati. This associate degree program includes 65 credits and can be completed in two years on a full-time schedule. Included are clinical experiences in area hospitals. In 2017, 100 percent of the graduates of the program passed the NBSTSA certification exam.

Allied Health Education Programs in Ohio

Ohio is home to several other programs that prepare students to become surgical technologists as well. These careers involve working directly with surgeons in a hospital setting, often taking on critical roles during surgery. The work can be both emotionally and physically demanding, but the rewards are great, including financial security and the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping make surgeries safer.

Akron School of Practical Nursing, Akron. This school offers a one-year certificate program for aspiring surgical technicians in Ohio. Students graduate with the skills needed to take on entry-level roles as surgical techs, including knowledge of medical terminology and understanding sterilization techniques and basic anatomy.

Lorain County Community College, Elyria. This college offers a medical assistant certificate program that prepares students to take on basic duties as surgical techs in Ohio. The curriculum includes courses in lab safety and clinical procedures, along with instructions on how to use medical instruments properly.

Marion Technical College, Marion. This two-year associate degree program is designed to help students develop the skills needed for a successful career as a surgical technologist in Ohio. Coursework includes anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, hospital environment safety, and sterilization techniques. The program also has a hands-on clinical component so students can gain real-world experience before entering the job market.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

Careers in surgical technology are growing by about nine percent in Ohio. This is a little slower than the national average growth for surgical technologists, but it is still strong growth and indicates that job security is something you can rely on in this career. In 2016, 4,080 surgical techs were working in the state, while in 2026 there are expected to be positions available for 4,440 surgical techs.

The average hourly salary for a surgical technologist in Ohio in 2019 was $23.31, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That same year, the average annual salary was $48,470. Conditions in your area may vary. You can expect to earn a good living in this career and earn even more than average with more experience at larger hospitals.

Working as a Surgical Technologist in Ohio

Surgical techs may work in doctor and dental offices that perform surgeries and in ambulatory surgery centers, but they are mainly employed by hospitals. Wherever there is a hospital, or more than one, you will find great opportunities. The most jobs available will be in larger cities and hospitals, like the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland and Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. With a good program completed and a passing score on the national exam, you are ready to be hired as a surgical tech in Ohio.

Neighbor States

See options in IndianaPennsylvaniaWest VirginiaKentucky and Michigan.

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