How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Vermont
If you are interested in a career in the healthcare field but do not want to go through nursing or medical school, you may want to consider becoming a surgical technologist. Surgical technologists are vital members of the surgical team, who assist the surgeon during procedures and are responsible for preparing and keeping up a sterile environment before, during and after surgery. They also prepare the patient for surgery and transfer them to and from the operating room. [En Español]
Some states set minimum educational and licensure requirements for surgical technologists, while other states have no requirements. Vermont is one of the latter. It is left up to the employers in the state to decide who qualifies to work for them as a surgical technologist. That said, most Vermont employers require that surgical technologists have a high school diploma or GED and have current Basic Life Support (BLS) and CPR certification. Some employers will also require the completion of a surgical technology education program, and some may require that their employees have national certification.
National Surgical Technologist Certification
While it is not mandatory that you hold certification to work as a surgical technologist in Vermont, many employers do require it. You are also more likely to get hired and could potentially earn more if you are certified.
To become certified, you will need to take and pass the certification exam given by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). To be eligible to take the exam you must first complete a surgical technology educational program that is accredited. Once certified, you will need to take 15 hours of continued education every year to remain certified. The only testing center that administers the NBSTSA exam in Vermont is in Burlington.
Surgical Technology School Options in Vermont
If you are considering taking the national certification exam and working as a certified surgical technologist (CST), you must first attend an educational surgical technology program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Presently, however, Vermont does not offer any accredited surgical technology programs.
Some Vermont colleges may offer certificate or degree programs in surgical technology; however, the program must be accredited for you to be able to become certified. Taking a program online is an option, however most all accredited programs require the completion of clinical practice, so you would need to live within driving distance of the school from which you chose to take the online courses.
A better option would be to see if a program is available in one of the surrounding states. Depending on where you live in Vermont, enrolling in an accredited program in New Hampshire or Massachusetts may be a viable option for you. Below are examples of some of the accredited programs that these states have to offer:
- Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. The Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center is in Lebanon, New Hampshire, which is near Vermont. Dartmouth Hitchcock has an 11-month certificate program in surgical technology. Students must take Anatomy & Physiology I and Medical Terminology and hold CPR certification before applying to the program. Only 10 students are accepted yearly. In 2017, students graduating from this program had a 100 percent pass rate on the NBSTSA exam, and 100 percent of students found employment after graduation.
- Bunker Hill Community College. Depending on where you live in Vermont, Bunker Hill Community College in Boston may be an option for you since it is only a few hours driving distance from the state. Bunker Hill also offers an 11-month certificate program in surgical technology. This program is a combination of classroom study, labs and clinical practice. Students will begin clinical work in area hospitals during the spring semester and then work full 40-hour week internships during the summer.
In 2016, the state of Vermont employed 80 surgical technicians. By 2026, that number is expected to increase to 90. Not a drastic increase but still a growth rate of 11.5 percent for the state, which is just under the predicted national growth rate of 12 percent.
In 2019, the average annual income for surgical technologists in the state of Vermont was $41,150. Since there are no statewide requirements for this profession, the amount of education and experience you have, as well as credentials, could make you a more valuable hire. Those who are more experienced in the job field within the state can make up to $57,470 annually.
Working as a Surgical Technologist in Vermont
Surgical technologists most often find employment in hospitals, as that is where most people have surgery. However, with technology making it possible to have less invasive procedures done, a lot of minor surgical procedures are performed in outpatient or surgical centers and even physician and dental offices. These are all excellent places to seek employment as well.
The city of Burlington employs the most surgical techs in the state. If you are interested in working in a hospital, you may want to consider The University of Vermont Medical Center.
If a stable job in the healthcare field that doesn’t require much training sounds exciting to you, consider becoming a surgical technologist in Vermont. In just under two years you can obtain a certificate in surgical technology, become nationally certified and be ready for work as a CST anywhere in the state.