In spite of the economic downturn, the demand for surgical technologists is would increase by as much as 25% through 2018. This figure indicates that that the employment or job opportunities for this group of trained health care workers would increase or rise much faster than the average for all occupations. In 2008, about 91,500 jobs were held by surgical technologists. About 71% of the surgical technicians were employed in medical centers, mostly assigned in operating rooms. Others were employed by privately by physicians and other members of the healthcare profession and outpatient departments. A small percentage worked as private surgical technologists.
The job outlook for surgical technologists in the coming years is more than favorable. It is excellent. The strong demand for these health care workers is due to the increasing number of surgeries performed in the United States each year. The increasing need for surgical procedures is attributed to the increasing number of the elderly in the total population, the increasing number of surgeons and nurses who are retiring and of course, the rapidly advancing technology in medicine and science that resulted in newer and lesser invasive procedures. It is estimated that about 40 million surgeries are performed in the US each year. Most of these procedures are performed in medical facilities. With the growing number of surgeries to be performed, the opportunities for surgical technologists further increase.
Although the job outlook for surgical technologists is excellent through 2018, those who are not appropriately trained and certified may find it harder to find good job opportunities. Operating room technicians with surgical technologist certifications are much in-demand and preferred by employers. Certifications establish the education, training, competencies and skills of the applicants. A certification is also a means to motivate the employees to update their knowledge and their skills, ensuring improved quality of patient care.
The certification for surgical technologists is administered by the National Center for Competency Testing, or NCCT. In order to be allowed to sit for a certification exam, aspiring surgical technologists have three options. The first is to complete a diploma course or an associate degree in surgical technology obtained from an institution accredited by the CAAHEP. The second route is to undergo a surgical technologist training program in the hospital for two years. The third option is to have about seven years of working experience. After successfully meeting the grade requirement to pass the certification exam, the aspiring surgical technologists may be designated as Tech in Surgery-Certified, or TS-C. CSTs should have a recertification every 5 years.
Surgical technologists may apply and acquire a voluntary professional certification administered by the LCC-ST. To qualify for surgical technologist certification, they should complete a surgical technologist training program that is accredited by the CAAHEP and pass the certification examination. A designation of Certified Surgical Technologist or CST is given to the surgical technologist. A recertification is required every four years. CSTs may maintain the certification by earning a total of 60 hours of approved continuing education over a 4-year period.