How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Oklahoma
If you were going in for surgery, you would most likely prefer to be comforted, reassured and well-taken care of throughout the process. Surgical technologists need to have such interpersonal skills in order to be successful at what they do. Surgical techs must also enjoy paying attention to detail as well as being alert and focused for long periods of time. Some surgical procedures may last less than an hour, while other procedures could take several hours to complete. As a surgical tech, you will be responsible for properly sterilizing and handling medical tools, preparing patients for surgery and assisting lead surgeons and the rest of the surgical team during an operation. [En Español]
Difference between Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting
Surgical technologists (ST) and surgical assistants (SA) assist surgeons in many of the same ways, but there are some key differences between these two roles. STs usually have a higher level of education than SAs, as they must complete an accredited program or college coursework to earn certification. SAs often get their training on the job, although some states may require them to be licensed. STs are more focused on the technical aspects of the surgical procedure such as making sure all necessary supplies and equipment are available and sterilized properly before an operation. SAs assist surgeons by providing physical support during an operation and passing tools back and forth during a procedure. They also provide patient care before and after the surgery.
Requirements for Becoming a Surgical Technologist in Oklahoma
Some states have passed legislation to regulate surgical technologists in an effort to ensure that patients receive quality care. However, Oklahoma is one of many states that do not currently have laws in place governing this profession. When applying for surgical tech jobs, though, you will find that most employers prefer applicants to have a certain level of expertise in order to be hired.
A surgical technology training program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) will equip you with the level of knowledge you need to be successful at this trade. These two trusted organizations have lists of accredited surgical tech programs, which will simplify your search for a school.
Some of these schools will include an internship or some other form of hands-on experience to prepare you for your career. Not all schools will provide this training, but is important that you learn the trade through real-world application. When employers see that you have already had some experience in a professional operating room, they will know that you’ll require less training than someone who has not had this type of experience. You may also find that employers are willing to increase your starting pay if you have completed an internship.
Surgical Technology Programs in Oklahoma
The CAAHEP and the ABHES have accredited several schools throughout Oklahoma for surgical technologists. Some of them are as follows:
- Community Care College offers a Diploma in Surgical Technology, which takes less than a year to complete. Students will also participate in a 500-hour externship at local hospitals as part of this program. Tuition is currently about $12,750.
- National American University offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Surgical Technology, which will take two years to complete. A clinical externship is included in this program. Tuition is about $13,000 per year.
- Tulsa Technology Center offers a surgical technology training program which can be completed in just 10 months. Cost of tuition is $4,800, and students will need to have a current American Heart Association CPR for the Healthcare Provider card, pass a criminal background check and provide vaccination records in order to be admitted into the program.
Allied Health Education Programs in Oklahoma
If you’re looking for other courses to help you become a better surgical technologist, there are several allied health education programs throughout the state. These courses will cover topics such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, infection control, pharmacology and instrumentation. Some of these schools are located in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
Once you have completed a formal program and have acquired the necessary certifications, you will be officially qualified to pursue a career as a surgical technologist in Oklahoma. You’ll enjoy an occupation that pays well and is highly sought after by healthcare professionals. With patience, hard work and dedication, you can become an important member of a medical team.
National Certification for Surgical Technologists
When you have completed your schooling, you will have the option to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). Though not required in the state of Oklahoma, most employers will prefer applicants to have this credential. The exam and certification are provided by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).
In order to sit for this exam, the NBSTSA requires that you have first completed a surgical technology training program that is either provided by the military or accredited by the CAAHEP or ABHES. Additionally, you will need to pay an exam fee of $290.
Four years after you pass your exam, you will need to recertify as a CST. You can do this by retaking the exam or by showing your continued competence with 60 additional completed credit hours of coursework in the field.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
About 1,850 surgical technologists were working in Oklahoma during 2016, according to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP). During the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026, an additional 90 jobs are expected to be added to the field in this state alone.
Surgical technologists earned an average income of $22.42 per-hour, or $46,640 annually, in 2021 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. The top 10 percent of surgical techs in Oklahoma made about $60,100 during the same year.
Working as a Surgical Technologist in Oklahoma
Surgical techs in this state will receive the highest pay in cities like Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Oklahoma City. You may discover that becoming a specialized CST could lead to a more fruitful career. This simply means that you would specialize in different types of surgeries, like cosmetic procedures, heart surgeries or bone surgery to name a few. Work will be available in hospitals, surgical centers, OB/GYN clinics and private practices. If you will dedicate your time and skills to learning the craft, you will likely become a high-earner and enjoy a rewarding career.