How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Rhode Island
As a hospital patient going in for surgery, if you were presented with the opportunity to handpick the medical staff participating in your surgical procedure you would likely choose those who are the most attentive, caring, and skilled. In addition to the technical skills learned in school, surgical technologists need to be patient, motivated, and highly invested in their craft if they want to advance within the field.
As a surgical technologist, you would be responsible for proper sterilization, use, and placement of medical equipment as the surgical procedures are taking place. Paying close attention to the lead surgeon’s requests and carefully observing each aspect of the procedure will be necessary to ensure the process runs smoothly. You may also interact with patients by physically preparing them for surgery, transporting them onto surgical tables, and assisting in the post-operation process. [En Español]
Requirements for Becoming a Surgical Technologist in Rhode Island
Many U.S. states have recently passed legislation governing the practice of surgical technology. This is done to ensure the protection of both patients and surgical techs alike. In Rhode Island, however, there are currently no laws that have been passed requiring surgical technologists to follow certain guidelines before finding employment.
If you want to excel quickly within this career field, it is in your best interest to enroll in a surgical tech training program to learn the skills you will need to do your job effectively. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are two trusted organizations dedicated to setting standards for quality education within the medical field across the U.S. Attending a school that is accredited by either of these organizations will allow you to sit for the voluntary national exam that will certify you as a surgical technologist.
Finding a high-paying job after finishing your coursework may require you to go above and beyond while completing your training program. This could mean establishing connections within the medical industry by networking with school staff and classmates, or finding an internship while you are still in school. Gaining hands-on experience will show employers that you’re proactive and serious about your career.
Surgical Technology Programs in Rhode Island
Although the ABHES currently has no accredited surgical technician schools listed for surgical techs in Rhode Island, the CAAHEP accredits one school in the state.
- New England Institute of Technology offers an Associate in Science degree in Surgical Technology, which can be completed in as little as 18 months. Students will complete a 20-week clinical externship as part of this degree program. Students will be required to complete the national exam to become Certified Surgical Technologists (CSTs) before graduation, and tuition is currently about $27,000 per year.
Allied Health Education Programs in Rhode Island
If you’re looking to get started in the medical field but aren’t quite sure if surgical technology is right for you, there are a few other allied health programs that may be more suited to your needs.
Rhode Island College offers an Associate of Science degree in Applied Health Services Management that can be completed in just two years. This program will give you the skills needed to become a medical office manager or supervisor in any healthcare facility. Tuition is currently around $6,700 per year.
The University of Rhode Island offers an Associate of Science degree in Radiography Technology that can be completed in just three semesters. Students will complete hands-on training in radiographic imaging, patient care, and radiation safety and protection. Tuition is currently around $14,000 per year.
Finally, the Community College of Rhode Island offers an Associate of Science degree in Medical Assisting that can be completed in as little as 15 months. This program will teach you everything you need to know to be an effective medical assistant, including proper patient care, medical terminology, insurance coding, and more. Tuition is currently around $6,000 per year.
No matter which program you choose for your career in the medical field, it’s important to remember that continuing education will always give you a competitive edge over other applicants when searching for a job. You should always look for opportunities to gain additional education and experience that will help you stand out in the job market. With the right training and dedication, you can ensure that your career in medical field is long and successful.
Certified Surgical Technologist in Rhode Island
Upon completion of a CAAHEP accredited Surgical Technology program, graduates can apply to take the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam. This voluntary national certification must be maintained however many employers prefer or require their surgical technologists to be certified in order to be employed and continue working in Rhode Island.
The CST exam is administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) and is composed of questions related to core competencies in the field such as anatomy, aseptic techniques, safety protocols, patient care, and more. Passing the exam will earn you a certification that must be renewed every four years to remain active.
National Certification for Surgical Technologists
The state of Rhode Island may not require surgical techs to become certified before practicing, but multiple other states do set this requirement. In addition, the one accredited school for surgical techs in Rhode Island does require that you pass this exam before graduating.
This certification serves as a testament to your skill level and understanding of the trade. It could lead to higher pay, an increase in job offers or, at the least, an easier job-seeking process.
The CST exam is offered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). You will have to pay a $290 exam fee and show proof that you’ve completed a surgical technology training program accredited by either the CAAHEP or the ABHES. You can also sit for this exam if you’ve completed a surgical tech training program provided by the military.
Every four years, you will need to recertify with the NBSTSA. You can recertify either by retaking the exam or submitting documentation of 60 additional completed credit hours of coursework over the four years between exams.
Outlook and Salary Expectations
Rhode Island is expected to see two percent growth in the surgical tech job market within the 10 years from 2016 to 2026, according to data from the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP). In 2016, about 300 surgical techs were working in this state, and there is expected to be a total of 310 people working in this field by 2026.
Those working as surgical techs in Rhode Island earned about $28.43 per hour, or $59,120 per year, in 2021, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. The highest-paid surgical techs in the state made an annual income of $74,250 during the same year.
Working as a Surgical Technologist in Rhode Island
If you want to be a surgical technologist, now is a great time to enter the field. Nationally, the BLS reports that this job market will see 6 percent growth by 2031.
Entry level positions require only a certificate or diploma and passing the CST exam, but for those hoping for a long-term career in this field and even higher pay, a degree from an accredited program could be beneficial.
Working as a surgical tech in Rhode Island, you will likely receive the highest compensation in cities like Narragansett, Cranston, and Cumberland, among others. Work will be available in outpatient clinics, hospital operating rooms, labor, and delivery wards, or OB/GYN facilities. Becoming specialized in particular types of surgeries, like brain or heart surgeries, could help you excel more quickly and bring you maximum fulfillment as a surgical technologist. If you’re sure that this career is the right choice for you, enroll in a training program and get started right away.