No schools offer degree programs specifically in the field of endoscopy or gastrointestinal medicine; however, a handful of schools offer certificate programs that prepare students to work as endoscopy technicians. Many aspiring endoscopy technicians enroll in on-the-job training programs at health care facilities. Others might consider enrolling in associate's degree programs that offers courses in endoscopy, such as the Associate of Science in Surgical Technology.
A high school diploma or GED is required for both the certificate and associate's. Other requirements vary by program, but include college placement tests, CPR certification, proof of certain immunizations, passing a background check, a satisfactory GPA or prerequisite coursework. Other requirements include lab training and field work.
The program length takes one to two years. There may be online courses available at some schools.
Endoscopic Technician Certificate
As of 2014, endoscopic technician certificate programs are only found at a few schools around the county. These programs are typically about 24 credits in length and include a combination of classroom learning, labs and hands-on clinical training. Some programs are specifically designed to help students meet the educational requirements for professional certifications.
Most programs require students to be at least 17 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Additional admission requirements vary by school but may include taking college placement tests, having current CPR certification, passing a background check, taking a TB test or submitting a current immunization record.
These 1-year programs typically require students to complete 8-10 courses specific to the skills needed to work as endoscopic technicians. Some programs may require students to complete general courses in psychology, math or English before beginning core courses. Common course topics covered in an endoscopic technician certificate program include:
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Perioperative services
- Perioperative microbiology
- Endoscopic basic theory
- Working with surgical teams
- Endoscopic technician practice
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Associate of Science in Surgical Technology
In a surgical technology associate's degree program, students can gain a background in allied health, medical technology and endoscopy procedures. Most 2-year degree programs in surgical technology are offered through community colleges. They consist of clinical rotations and classroom lectures as well as laboratory components. Certification is an option for surgical technologists.
One must have a high school diploma and a strong grade point average in order to enroll in an associate's degree program in surgical technology with courses on endoscopy technology. Some schools also include courses in anatomy, physiology and medical terminology as prerequisites as opposed to part of the core curriculum.
Programs provide students with the training and skills necessary to set up and tear down operating rooms, keep equipment sterile and provide general assistance to surgical teams. These same skills can be used by aspiring endoscopy technicians who are interested in performing these tasks for an endoscopy team. Students enrolled in surgical technology degree programs are often exposed to several specialties of the field, including neurosurgery, urology and endoscopy.
A typical associate's degree program in surgical technology is comprised of classroom lectures, laboratory lessons and clinical rotations. Many such programs are offered on the site of medical facilities, putting students in the field in surgical suites and endoscopy suites. Some specific courses might include:
- Introduction to surgical technology
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Microbiology and infection control
- Surgical procedures
- Surgical pharmacology
- Clinical rotation
Certification is not a requirement for endoscopy technicians, however, voluntary certification is available from the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA), the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) and the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM). While SGNA and IAHCSMM offer generalized certifications, the CBSPD offers five levels of certification, including a Flexible Endoscope Reprocessor Certification. To earn credentials from these organizations, endoscopy technicians must pass examinations.
After completing this program, surgical technologists can gain certification through two national organizations. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting offers the Certified Surgical Technologist credential, and the National Center for Competency Testing awards the Tech in Surgery-Certified designation. Certification typically requires completing an approved education program and passing an exam. Continuing education is also required to maintain the certifications.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report direct data for the position of endoscopy technician, but it did report that surgical technologists in general held 99,800 positions in May 2014. These individuals worked mostly in hospitals, physicians' offices and outpatient care centers across the country. They earned a mean annual salary of $45,940 in 2015.
Students who are interested in becoming an endoscopy technician can either earn a certificate or an associate's degree to get the training they need to do this job. The schooling combines both course room instruction and hands-on experience.