Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology programs are more prevalent than Associate of Specialized Technology programs. While enrolled in an AAS program, students learn to prepare operating rooms, assist surgeons, and take part in internships to gain hands-on experience.
Four years of high school courses in communications, math, advanced science and algebra are helpful for students entering these programs.
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Associate's Degree in Surgical Technology
The curriculum in a two-year surgical tech program combines courses in communications, math and science. Students also learn through clinical study. Participants learn to function as part of a medical team and to communicate effectively with patients. Core coursework covers topics in:
- Medical terminology
- Patient care
- Surgical instrumentation
- Surgical procedures
Popular Career Options
Programs prepare students to become surgical technologists who can work as part of a surgical team. Their job duties include assisting with procedures to sterilize equipment and the environment. They may work in hospitals, surgical centers and physicians' offices. Other possible job options include:
- Materials manager
- Scrub for a surgeon
- Surgery scheduler
- Surgical first assistant
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), surgical technologists are expected to see a 15% growth in employment from 2014-2024, which is much faster than average for all occupations. As of May 2015, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $44,330, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Most surgical technology degree programs prepare students for certification. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting offers the Certified Surgical Technologist designation. The National Center for Competency Testing offers the Surgery-Certified designation. Gaining either certification involves meeting education requirements and passing an examination.
Students who earn one of these associate's degrees learn to perform a surgical technologist's job duties through clinical studies, labs, lectures and hands-on work. Different professional organizations offer graduates the opportunity to gain certification.