How to Become a Surgical Technologist in West Virginia
As a surgical technologist, you would be responsible for the proper sterilization and utilization of medical tools and equipment as a surgery is taking place. Before a procedure begins, you might also be responsible for helping patients prepare to enter the operating room by dressing their wounds, cleaning or shaving particular areas of the body where the surgery will take place, or simply helping the patient remain calm and relaxed before the surgical process. When an operation is complete, surgical technologists may also need to prepare the operating room for the next procedure. [En Español]
Requirements for Becoming a Surgical Technologist in West Virginia
In recent years, some states have passed legislation to govern the practice of surgical technology. West Virginia is one of the many states that has not yet enacted laws or regulations that must be followed by anyone looking to become a surgical technologist. If you are interested in this career, enrolling in a training program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) will be the best option for you to succeed. At a minimum, these training programs will likely require students to provide documentation of a high school diploma or GED to enroll.
To progress quickly, you should consider finding a local internship while you are completing your training classes. The hands-on experience you’ll gain in the real world will prepare you for what to expect in your role when you find employment after graduation. While some training programs may offer internships or externships as part of their curriculum, others may not. If the school you choose does not offer this hands-on experience, consider reaching out to a local hospital or private practice for possible job-shadowing opportunities. Taking this initiative will set you apart from fellow job seekers and put you ahead of the curve in terms of your level of experience.
Surgical Technology Programs in West Virginia
The CAAHEP lists six accredited schools for surgical technologists in West Virginia, two of which are included below. The ABHES accredits one school for surgical techs in the state, which is also included below:
- Carver Career and Technical Education Center offer a certificate program in surgical technology, which takes 11 months to complete. As part of the curriculum, students will sit for the national certification exam before graduation. Students will complete the first six months of this surgical technology program in a classroom setting, while the last five months will be completed in clinical rotations. Tuition and fees are about $4,233, and books and supplies will cost around $2,300.
- James Rumsey Technical Institute also offers an 11-month certificate program in surgical technology. The program consists of 30 hours of training per week, and tuition is currently about $6,000. Books and fees will be an additional $1,000, and students will sit for the national certification exam before graduation.
- Academy of Careers and Technology allows students to complete a surgical technology certificate program in less than one year. The total cost for attendance is $7,810, and adult students without a high school diploma or GED may also enroll. These students cannot receive their certificate of completion, however, until a high school diploma or GED is earned.
Allied Health Education Programs in West Virginia
West Virginia offers several other allied health education programs, some of which include medical coding and billing, medical assistant, and pharmacy technician. Prospective students ought to research each program carefully before committing to enrolling in a school. While some may offer online classes, others require hands-on experience or an internship component. Doing research ahead of time will allow you to choose the program that best fits your needs.
National Certification for Surgical Technologists
Grabbing the reins of this career will require sitting for the national exam to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). Although the practice is not regulated in West Virginia, several other states require surgical technologists to become nationally certified before seeking employment. Even in states where this is not a requirement, some schools will set this as a curriculum requirement for surgical tech students to graduate.
This CST exam and certification are offered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Eligibility requirements include the completion of a training program accredited by either the CAAHEP or the ABHES. If you’ve completed a surgical tech training program while in the military, you will also be eligible to sit for this exam. The exam fee is $290, and you will need to recertify with the NBSTSA every four years. This recertification can be done by either retaking the exam or by showing proof that you’ve completed at least 60 credit hours of continued education during the four years between exams. This will serve as a testament to your continued competency within the field.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
1,060 surgical techs were working in West Virginia in 2016, according to data from the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP). By 2026, there is expected to be a total of 1,140 people employed in this profession in this state alone, which indicates an 8.2 percent expansion in the surgical tech job market within these 10 years.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data indicates that during 2021 surgical techs earned an average of $17.76 per hour or $37,310 per year. If you are looking to become one of the top earners in the field in this state, you can expect to earn an average of $50,650 annually, according to the same data.
Working as a Surgical Technologist in West Virginia
By 2026, there are expected to be about 80 jobs added to the field of surgical technology in West Virginia, according to the PMP. Nationally, the BLS reports this job market will see 6 percent growth by 2030.
Surgical technologists will likely earn the most in cities like Wheeling, Morgantown, and Charleston. Work will be available in local hospitals, cosmetic surgery centers, outpatient facilities, OB/GYN clinics, and more. If you can stand for long periods while remaining alert and attentive, this may be the career field for you. In surgical technology, compassion for patients combined with meticulousness, technical skills, and teamwork will help ensure your career is a long-lasting and fulfilling one.