How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Utah

Medical patients are in a vulnerable state when entering an operating room for surgery. Surgical technologists need to be attentive to the needs of patients when preparing them for surgery. Gentleness and a calm demeanor is necessary for a successful operation. Additionally, surgical techs will need strong attention to detail and the ability to take direction well. You may be responsible for transporting patients from hospital beds onto surgical tables, ensuring the proper handling of medical instruments and equipment during an operation, and sterilizing operating rooms when a surgery is complete. [En Español]

Requirements for Becoming a Surgical Technologist in Utah

A number of U.S. states, including Utah, do not set laws to regulate the practice of surgical technology. In states like these, it will be left up to each employer to determine if you are qualified to do the job. However, taking proactive steps such as enrolling in an accredited surgical tech program and obtaining national certification will help you establish your skillset and expertise before seeking employment.

When looking for schools, it is important to find programs that will provide you with a quality education to ensure a more successful career. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are two highly-regarded accrediting organizations setting standards for medical schools across the U.S. If you want to receive a top-notch education as a surgical technologist, you will want to find a school on either of these lists. Enrolling into one of these programs is also an eligibility requirement to sit for the national voluntary exam that will certify you as a surgical technologist.

If you worked for the hiring department of a hospital, you would likely seek out the most qualified candidates in order to ensure that patients receive the best care. Hence, in addition to your education as an aspiring surgical tech, adding an internship to your resume will undoubtedly set you apart from other candidates during your job search. Previous hands-on experience will help employers see you as someone who already knows a significant amount about job functions, standards and best practices within the trade. Some surgical tech programs will offer this real-world experience as part of your education. However, if you attend a school that does not offer this type of training, finding an internship at a local hospital or medical facility could greatly increase your chances of finding employment immediately upon graduation.

Utah Schools for Surgical Technologists

While the ABHES currently has no schools accredited for surgical technology in Utah, the CAAHEP lists multiple schools as suitable for surgical techs in the state. A few of these programs are listed below:

  • Davis Technical College allows students to complete a certificate program in surgical technology, which can be earned in as little as 10 months. Tuition for this program is currently about $4,844. Students must pass a drug screen, criminal background check and have prior work experience or education in the health care field. It is required that this prior experience involved some degree of patient care.
  • Dixie State University allows offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in surgical technology, which will take two years to complete. Tuition and fees are currently $5,832. Students will complete laboratory demonstrations, which will involve hands-on practice as well as supervised clinical experiences in actual patient-care facilities.
  • Mountainland Technical College offers a certificate program in surgical technology. As part of this program, students will learn surgical technology basics including asepsis, microbiology and infection control. Tuition is currently $3,668, and the program can be completed in one year.

National Certification for Surgical Technologists

Surgical technologists in Utah are not required by law to be certified before finding employment. That said, becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) will be a priority for anyone looking to advance in this career. This certification is nationally recognized, and some states require that you have it before practicing. Earning this certification will allow you to work in multiple states throughout the U.S. You may also find that some employers are willing to pay you more for having this credential.

You can become a CST by completing the exam offered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). It is required that you pay a $290 exam fee and show that you’ve completed a surgical tech training program accredited by either the CAAHEP or the ABHES. If your surgical tech training program was completed in the military, you will also be eligible to sit for this exam.

After earning your certification, you will need to recertify every four years with the NBSTSA. You can do this by retaking the exam or by showing that you have completed an additional 60 credit hours of coursework during the four years between exams.

Job Outlook and Salary Expectations

The surgical technology trade employed 1,350 people during 2016, according to data released by the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP). In the decade between 2016 and 2026, there is expected to be a 37.8 percent increase in the number of surgical techs working in this state. This means there will be approximately 1,870 surgical techs working in Utah by 2026.

On average, surgical techs earned about $21.89 per hour in 2019, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. While the average annual income was $45,530, the top 10 percent of surgical techs in the state made $62,840 during the same year.

Working as a Surgical Technologist in Utah

The career of surgical technology will continue to be on the rise throughout the state of Utah. This signifies that now is a prime time to join the trade. Working as a surgical tech could bring you lots of variety, as you may have the opportunity to assist in several different types of surgeries. Some surgical techs choose to become specialized in a certain area of the trade, participating solely in brain surgeries, heart surgeries or bone surgeries for example. You can find employment in places like local hospitals, outpatient facilities, private practices for cosmetic surgeries or OB/GYN clinics.

The highest-paid cities for surgical techs in this state include Saint George, Sandy and West Jordan, Utah. If you’re seeking a rewarding career that will be exciting and full of opportunity, you should consider surgical technology.

College Programs

 

Ogden-Clearfield, UT Area

Davis Applied Technology College

550 E 300 S, Kaysville, Utah 84037-2699
(801) 593-2500
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Surgical Technology Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Davis Applied Technology College is taught at their campus in Kaysville in Davis County. Most of the school’s 3,188 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The cost of tuition is generally in the order of $343 yearly. Books and supplies can cost about $153, although this will depend on the program.

Stevens-Henager College

1350 W. 1890 S., West Haven, Utah 84401
(801) 622-1567 x1000
Surgical Technologist – Associate Program

The Associate’s program in Surgical Technologist at Stevens-Henager College is based at their campus in West Haven in Weber County, UT. Most of the school’s 226 students are on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees are around $16,968 per year.

Salt Lake City, UT Area

Salt Lake Community College

4600 S Redwood Rd, Salt Lake City, Utah 84123
(801) 957-4111
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Salt Lake Community College’s Certificate-level Surgical Technology program is offered at their campus in Salt Lake City in Salt Lake County, UT. This public college has about 29,350 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $3,690 and for out-of-state students approximately $11,728 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,300, although this will depend on the program.

St. George, UT Area

Dixie State University

225 S 700 E, Saint George, Utah 84770-3876
(435) 652-7500
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Dixie State University is offered at their campus in the city of Saint George, UT. Most of the school’s 8,503 students are on 4-year programs. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $4,840 and for students from other states around $13,856 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $900, although this varies from program to 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.

Neighbor States

Residents of Utah may also wish to review their options in Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.