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Career and Education Opportunities for Surgical Technicians in St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for surgical technicians. Currently, 1,910 people work as surgical technicians in Missouri. This is expected to grow by 19% to 2,270 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for surgical technicians are expected to grow by about 25.3%. Surgical technicians generally assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel.

The income of a surgical technician is about $17 per hour or $36,700 per year on average in Missouri. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $18 per hour or $38,740 annually on average. Earnings for surgical technicians are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Healthcare Technical in Missouri and not quite as good as general Healthcare Technical category earnings nationally. Surgical technicians work in a variety of jobs, including: certified surgical technologist , surgical technologist , and endoscopic technologist.

There are seventy-one schools of higher education in the St. Louis area, including two within twenty-five miles of St. Louis where you can get a degree to start your career as a surgical technician. Surgical technicians usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so you can expect to spend a short time training to become a surgical technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Surgical Technician

Surgical Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, surgical technicians assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. They also may help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, and help count sponges, needles, and instruments.

Surgical technicians furnish technical assistance to surgeons, surgical nurses and anesthesiologists. They also hand instruments and supplies to surgeons and surgeons' assistants, hold retractors and cut sutures, and perform other tasks as directed by surgeons during operations. Equally important, surgical technicians have to scrub arms and hands and assist the surgical team to scrub and put on gloves and surgical clothing. They are often called upon to ready dressings or bandages and apply or assist with their application following surgery. They are expected to operate or monitor sterilizers, lights and diagnostic apparatus to insure proper operation. Finally, surgical technicians monitor and continually assess operating room conditions, including patient and surgical team needs.

Every day, surgical technicians are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for surgical technicians to maintain proper sterile environments during surgical procedures. They are often called upon to maintain supply of fluids. They also order surgical supplies. They are sometimes expected to maintain files and records of surgical procedures. Somewhat less frequently, surgical technicians are also expected to observe patients' vital signs to gauge physical condition.

Surgical technicians sometimes are asked to count sponges and instruments before and after operations. And finally, they sometimes have to monitor and continually assess operating room conditions, including patient and surgical team needs.

Like many other jobs, surgical technicians must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in St. Louis include:

  • Dental Hygienist. Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop X-rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.
  • Health Information Systems Technician. Compile, process, and maintain medical records of hospital and clinic patients in a manner consistent with medical, administrative, and regulatory requirements of the health care system. Process, maintain, and report patient information for health requirements and standards.
  • Medical Laboratory Technician. Perform routine medical laboratory tests for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May work under the supervision of a medical technologist.
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist. Perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May train or supervise staff.
  • Radiological Technician. Maintain and use equipment and supplies necessary to demonstrate portions of the human body on x-ray film or fluoroscopic screen for diagnostic purposes.
  • Respiratory Therapist. Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, and operate equipment.
  • Respiratory Therapy Technician. Provide specific, well defined respiratory care procedures under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.
  • Sonographer. Produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Surgical Technician Training

Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park - Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park, 5600 Oakland Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110. Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park is a medium sized college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,164 students. Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Surgical Technology/Technologist which graduated one and eighteen students respectively in 2008.

Allied College North - Maryland Heights, MO

Allied College North, 13723 Riverport Drive, Maryland Heights, MO 63043. Allied College North is a small college located in Maryland Heights, Missouri. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 395 students. Allied College North has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Surgical Technology/Technologist which graduated one and twenty-nine students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Flexible Endoscope Reprocessor: The CBSPD is committed to the certification of healthcare sterile processing and distribution personnel regardless of their workplace setting.

For more information, see the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution website.

Certified Surgical Instrument Processor: This exam deals only with surgical instruments and is for those that specialize in processsing of surgical instruments for all areas of their facility.

For more information, see the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution website.

Certified Surgical Technologist: The choice to become certified demonstrates pride in the profession and a desire to be recognized for mastery of skills unique to surgical technology, as well as an on-going commitment to quality patient care.

For more information, see the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting website.

Certified First Assistant: The choice to become certified demonstrates pride in the profession and a desire to be recognized for mastery of skills unique to surgical technology, as well as an on-going commitment to quality patient care.

For more information, see the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri photo by Dschwen

St. Louis is located in St. Louis City County, Missouri. It has a population of over 354,361, which has grown by 1.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in St. Louis, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in St. Louis are priced at $111,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-seven new homes were built in St. Louis, down from two hundred sixty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in St. Louis are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 19.1% of St. Louis residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Louis is 10.9%, which is greater than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

Nativity of Our Lord Church, Church of the Good Shepard and Church of the Holy Communion are among the churches located in St. Louis.

St. Louis is home to the Terminal Railroad Association Building and the Memorial Home as well as Washington Park and Willmore Park. Shopping malls in the area include Hampton Village Shopping Center and Loughborough Shopping Center.