As an aspiring surgical technician, one of your chief concerns should be the school you're going to attend. After all, the educational institution you choose will provide the very credentials that are needed to get your career off the ground. However, not all surgical tech schools are the same, and if you're wanting the best starting point possible, it would be wise to conduct a thorough comparison before making your selection. With that said, here are four reasons why you shouldn't rush to the very first school you stumble upon:
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1. Choosing a School with CAAHEP Accreditation
The fastest way to narrow down your list of schools is to only consider those that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). This organization provides reviews and accreditation for more than 2,100 educational programs across 30 different health science study fields, but not all those programs are applicable for surgical techs. Ideally, you'll want to choose a school that is within reasonable proximity to your current or planned residence. Using an organized school comparison site is the best way to view schools that offer CAAHEP-accredited surgical analyst programs on a regional basis.
2. CST or TS-C Certification
In addition to graduating from an accredited program, students will also need to pass an exam to obtain Certified Surgical Technician or Tech in Surgery-Certified certification through a recognized certifying organization like the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) or National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). By choosing a leading surgical school for your education, you'll be well-prepared to pass the certification exam with flying colors.
3. Post-Graduation Employment Opportunities
It's also important to choose a surgical tech school that provides assistance with your post-graduation job search. Some schools offer internship programs that will have you working as a surgical technician within weeks to months of your graduation. The good news is that this industry is expected to see an employment growth of about 12%, resulting in more than 11,000 new jobs between now and 2026, according to stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Most graduates in this field have no problem getting hired by clinics and hospitals as long-term staff providers with employment contracts of one year or longer.
4. Basing Your Decision on Regional Stats
Once you've considered all the above, it's time to make your final decision based on regional BLS stats. Look for schools that have the lowest unemployment rates and highest average salaries for graduates. These stats are also important to consider when you're trying to decide where you want to land your first surgical tech job.
Opt for an Ideally Located Campus
Since there are currently no online programs that will allow you to become a certified surgical technician, campus location is going to be a major factor to consider during your comparison. Some students choose to go to the campus that's closest to home, while others choose to relocate for a new life in a different area.