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Top Certifications for Surgical Technicians

You're drawn to serve in America's clinical and surgical operating rooms, and the country needs you. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that growth in surgical technician jobs between 2006 and 2016 will reach 24 percent. Depending on your training program, you might be working in the field in as little as 9 to 24 months.

Every state has its own licensing and certification requirements for surgical technicians and technologists, and the BLS reports that most employers are seeking candidates with professional certifications. Your school should provide you with details about your state requirements. Obtaining and maintaining a professional certification can also spell higher wages and job stability. In many cases, you'll need continuing education to maintain certifications.

Here are some pertinent details:

The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) administers a comprehensive, multiple-choice exam open to graduates of accredited surgical tech training programs. In passing, you'll earn the designation of Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).

The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) offers testing leading to the designation of Tech in Surgery - Certified (TS-C). To qualify to sit for the exam, you'll need to either complete training at an accredited degree program or two-year hospital training program, or have seven years of direct experience in the field.

The Association of Surgical Technologists reports that there are currently two certification and renewal terms at four-year, and six-year cycles. The number of continuing educational credits required to hold your certification varies based on the cycles. Credits can also be earned by attending hospital-sponsored in-services courses.

With additional experience and training, you can advance to First Assistant or Surgical Assistant status. To qualify, you'll need to have graduated from an accredited program or be a CST with extensive experience in a first assistant capacity. Advanced certifications may translate to higher earnings and responsibilities.

Association of Surgical Technologists
The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting
The National Center for Competency Testing
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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