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.
South Dakota Schools for Surgical Technology
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 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.
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 14 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
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.
Presentation College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are offered at their campus in the town of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This private, not-for-profit college, which has a Roman Catholic religious affiliation, has about 769 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition is in the order of $19,090 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,200, although this will depend on the program.
Western Dakota Technical Institute offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Rapid City in Pennington County, SD. The majority of of the school’s 836 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are around $6,560 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $2,300, although this will depend on the program.
2320 N Career Ave, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57107-1301
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program
Southeast Technical Institute’s Certificate-level Surgical Technology program is offered at their campus in Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County. The college has about 2,047 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are generally around $5,980 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,500, although this will depend on the program.
* Tuition fees and accredition status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college before applying.