How to Become a Surgical Technologist in South Dakota
In South Dakota, a career in surgical technology is a lucrative and secure one. These important healthcare professionals are responsible for making surgical procedures safer for patients. They prep and sanitize operating rooms and equipment and assist surgeons during operations to make them go more smoothly. This career is growing in South Dakota, and trained and qualified professionals can earn a great living while making a real difference in the lives of patients. [En Español]
Requirements for Working as a Surgical Tech in South Dakota
The state government of South Dakota has not set any minimum standards for education, training, licensing or certification for surgical technologists. This means that employers can decide who is qualified to work in these positions. In general, those who hire surgical techs look for candidates who have at least completed a post-secondary certificate or degree program. Many will also require that a candidate is a certified surgical technologist, or CST.
Becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist
Although the state does not require it, many employers will only hire CSTs, surgical techs that have been certified by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). You can become a CST by passing the NBSTSA exam. In order to qualify to take the exam you must complete a certificate or degree program in surgical technology that has been accredited. The appropriate accrediting institutions are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
In addition to the initial program and coursework, CSTs must continue learning by taking at least 15 credits per year. Approved courses can be found through the NBSTSA. As long as these continuing education requirements are met, the certification can be renewed every four years to stay valid.
National certified surgical technologist (NCT)
The National Certified Surgical Technologist examination is a three-hour examination that consists of multiple choice questions and clinical simulations. You must have taken a course in surgical technology or a related field to be considered eligible to sit for the exam. The maximum score on the exam is 900 points, and you must obtain at least 600 points to pass. Once you have passed the examination, you will be awarded the NCT certification.
Renewing Your Certification
The NBSTSA also requires that surgical technologists maintain a certain level of competency and training in order to keep their certification. As such, certified surgical techs must renew their certification every four years. This is done by submitting documentation of your continuing education credits and passing a renewal exam. The renewal exam is shorter than the initial exam and focuses on the areas where you need to update your knowledge.
Once you have renewed your certification, it will be valid for another four years. By keeping up with the continuing education requirements and renewing your certification, you can ensure that you remain a qualified and up-to-date surgical technologist in South Dakota.
Surgical Technology Programs in South Dakota
The first step to becoming a surgical tech in South Dakota is to apply for, enroll in and complete an appropriate educational program. There are two schools in the state that offer accredited surgical technology programs:
- Western Dakota Tech, Rapid City. Western Dakota serves career-oriented students in the entire western region of the state and offers the area’s only surgical technology program in surgical technology. Students take courses in a classroom setting and complete a minimum of 120 cases of surgical rotation. This hands-on work experience includes a variety of surgical specialties. Graduates are prepared to take and pass the national certification test and to become CSTs.
- Southeast Tech, Sioux Falls. Students in Sioux Falls can complete this two-year associate degree program to learn how to become a surgical technologist. It includes regular classes, clinical experience and preparation for the CST exam. In 2017, 100 percent of the graduates of the program passed the NBSTSA test for certification. The total cost of this program is estimated to be $19,906 and includes tuition and all additional fees.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
The outlook for surgical technology careers across the country is positive, and students studying now can expect to find jobs and enjoy good job security after graduating. In South Dakota, the number of positions for qualified surgical techs is expected to rise by nearly 15 percent, a growth that is even stronger than the national average.
Salaries are also strong for qualified surgical techs in the state. In 2019, the average annual salary was $42,260, while the average hourly rate for a surgical technologist was $20.32. If you enter this career you can expect to see some variation in salaries, with larger amounts for certified techs and for those with more years of work experience.
Working as a Surgical Technologist in South Dakota
Working as a Surgical Technologist in South Dakota South does not have any specific requirements for working as a surgical technologist.
Most surgical technologists are hired to work in hospitals. Some may work in doctor or dental offices, as some of these health professionals perform minor surgical procedures. Ambulatory and outpatient surgery centers also hire surgical techs. You will find more opportunities for jobs in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, the state’s largest population centers, but surgical technologists are needed anywhere in the state there is a hospital. By enrolling in a career program now, you can be prepared to work in this exciting role within two years or less.
Residents of South Dakota may also wish to review their options in North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana.