Surgical technologists are an indispensable member of any surgical team. Their roles are varied, but these roles essentially revolve around providing quality and fast assistance to all the other members of the core surgical team, from the surgeon and surgical assistants, to the anesthesiologist and perioperative nurses.The path to this profession starts with good education. There are several education programs open to surgical techs, each of which come with their own advantages and disadvantages. People who are interested in becoming surgical technologists are advised to learn as much as they could about the education programs they plan to take, as this would have an impact later on when they start looking for employment.A certificate or diploma course is perhaps the easiest route towards education in surgical technology. This lasts anywhere 9 to 15 months, including the required clinical experience. The advantage of a certificate or diploma course is its short duration and lower cost and expense. Diploma-holders can also start looking for jobs right away in as little as 9 months after graduating from high school. The major disadvantage of this is that hospitals have a preference for graduates with advanced education such as associate degrees and bachelor degrees in surgical technology.An associate degree in surgical technology lasts for 24 months and is the next best option for would-be surgical techs. They have higher chances of employment and better clinical training and experience than their diploma course counterparts, although the costs of education are higher.Better still is the bachelor’s degree in surgical technology, at least in terms of the knowledge base and training it provides to students. The cost of college education is, of course, a major drawback, but this can be compensated for by better employment opportunities and career advancement.A new program available to those interested in surgical technology is the online surgical tech program. Online programs generally cost the same as classroom education, but its cost-effectiveness lies in savings that can be had from the usual expenses of college education (transportation, lodging, allowances, etc). However, surgical technology requires clinical experience; other options are therefore preferable, unless there are online programs that offer clinical training as well. There is also the matter of accreditation (which will be mentioned further); there are no accredited online surgical tech programs at present.What matters regardless of type of program is its proper accreditation. Surgical tech programs are accredited by medical educational and specific professional organizations in order to ensure that the quality of education, curriculum, and clinical training meet the medical standards of hospitals and surgical teams within United States. Those who enroll in accredited programs have the opportunity to apply for certification. Certified Surgical Technologists (CSTs) have better employment and career advancement opportunities, so it’s beneficial for students to get their certificates, diplomas, or degrees from duly accredited surgical tech education programs.
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