How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Wyoming
Surgical technologists are important members of surgical teams, who sterilize operating rooms before and after surgery, prepare patients for operations, and oversee the handling of important medical tools while surgery is taking place. To be a surgical technologist, you need to have the stamina to remain focused and attentive for extended periods without taking breaks. Some surgical procedures can take hours to complete, so surgical techs must be able to remain watchful during operations to assist lead surgeons. If you enjoy this kind of responsibility, this could be the career for you. [En Español]
Requirements for Becoming a Surgical Technologist in Wyoming
In Wyoming, there are no state laws regulating the practice of surgical technology. Instead, individual employers determine the level of skill and experience required to join a surgical team. To be successful in this career, you are highly encouraged to enroll in a surgical technology training program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). These organizations require medical schools to follow strict regulations to maintain accreditation. True advancement in this career will involve completing a surgical technology program from one of these two lists since this is one of the requirements to become a nationally Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). While this certification is voluntary, earning it can help you to go far in this career.
To enroll in almost any post-secondary education program in surgical technology, you will need to provide proof of a high school diploma or GED. Surgical technologists will have an easier time finding employment if they also complete an internship that allows them to gain real-world experience within the trade. Not all employers will require that you have previous experience; however, if you take the initiative, you will begin to refine your skillset early on. This could also lead to higher starting pay when you begin your job hunt.
Surgical Technology Programs in Wyoming
While the ABHES does not currently accredit any schools for surgical technology in Wyoming, the CAAHEP has accredited one school in the state:
- Laramie County Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology, which takes 11 months to complete. The program includes hands-on practice as well as laboratory demonstrations. Students must pass a drug screening and criminal background check, and tuition is currently about $1,713 per semester for in-state students.
National Certification for Surgical Technologists in Wyoming
With any career you decide to pursue, you should put your best foot forward. Sometimes this may mean going out of your way to earn voluntary certifications and other credentials. Since Wyoming does not have any laws governing the practice of surgical technology, not all employers in the state will require applicants to be Certified Surgical Technologists (CSTs). However, even though it may not be a requirement, most employers strongly prefer applicants to have this credential, so being a CST will make it easier for you to land a job. Some medical facilities may also be willing to pay you more if you hold this certification.
The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) is responsible for the exam and certification process of surgical technologists. Eligibility requirements for this exam include payment of a $290 exam fee as well as proof that you’ve completed an NBSTSA-approved surgical technology program. Any school found on the CAAHEP’s or ABHES’s list of schools will be approved by the NBSTSA. You are also eligible to sit for this exam if you’ve completed a military training program in surgical technology.
Every four years, you will need to recertify as a CST. This can be done by retaking the exam or by showing documentation that you’ve completed at least 60 credit hours of coursework in surgical technology during the four years between exams.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) reported that, in 2016, 180 surgical technologists were working in Wyoming. By 2026, there are expected to be a total of 210 people working as surgical techs in this state.
In May 2019, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that people who were employed as surgical techs earned an average of $21.26 per hour or $44,210 per year. Surgical techs who earned the most in this state made a total of $59,210 during the same year.
Working as a Surgical Technologist in Wyoming
Wyoming has the smallest population of all U.S. states. This means you will likely end up forming long-lasting relationships with coworkers and patients alike, in a state that is full of small towns.
The career field for surgical techs in Wyoming is also expected to expand by 17 percent in the 10 years between 2016 and 2026, according to the PMP. You can find work in places like outpatient care facilities, hospital operating rooms, OB/GYN clinics, and private practices for cosmetic surgery and other specialties. Cities like Laramie, Rock Springs, and Cheyenne are places where surgical techs receive the highest compensation.
If you’re compassionate, and meticulous and enjoy having a high level of responsibility, you should consider becoming a surgical technologist.
See options in the neighboring states of Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho.