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Career and Education Opportunities for Surgical Technicians in Chattanooga, Tennessee

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for surgical technicians in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. There are currently 2,900 jobs for surgical technicians in Tennessee and this is projected to grow 28% to 3,720 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for surgical technicians, which sees this job pool growing by about 25.3% over the next eight years. In general, surgical technicians assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel.

The income of a surgical technician is about $17 hourly or $36,710 per year on average in Tennessee. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $18 hourly or $38,740 annually on average. Incomes for surgical technicians are not quite as good as in the overall category of Healthcare Technical in Tennessee, and not quite as good as the overall Healthcare Technical category nationally. Surgical technicians work in a variety of jobs, including: surgical technologist , endoscopic technologist, and surgical scrub technologist.

There are twenty schools of higher education in the Chattanooga area, including two within twenty-five miles of Chattanooga where you can get a degree to start your career as a surgical technician. Given that the most common education level for surgical technicians is a post-secondary certificate, 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 Chattanooga include:

  • Cardiac Technician. Conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic purposes. May conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary-functions, lung capacity, and similar tests.
  • 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 Technologist. Perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May train or supervise staff.
  • Radiation Therapist. Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
  • 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

Northwestern Technical College - Rock Spring, GA

Northwestern Technical College, 265 Bicentennial Trail, Rock Spring, GA 30739. Northwestern Technical College is a small college located in Rock Spring, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,335 students. Northwestern Technical College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Surgical Technology/Technologist which graduated four, eight, and two students respectively in 2008.

Miller-Motte Technical College-Chattanooga - Chattanooga, TN

Miller-Motte Technical College-Chattanooga, 6020 Shallowford Road Suite 100, Chattanooga, TN 37421. Miller-Motte Technical College-Chattanooga is a small college located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 603 students and an admission rate of 93%. Miller-Motte Technical College-Chattanooga has an associate's degree program in Surgical Technology/Technologist which graduated twenty students 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: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee photo by Avala

Chattanooga is situated in Hamilton County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 170,880, which has grown by 9.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chattanooga, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Chattanooga are priced at $141,100 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-two new homes were built in Chattanooga, down from four hundred forty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Chattanooga are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 21.5% of Chattanooga residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chattanooga is 9.5%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Chattanooga residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.2%, is more than both the national and state average. Stuart Heights Baptist Church, Kings Point Church and Stanley United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Chattanooga. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Chattanooga is home to the Creeks Bend Golf Club and the Concord Golf Course as well as Warner Park and Ross Landing City Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northgate Mall, Northgate Crossing Shopping Center and Lee Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Chattanooga can choose from Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Crystal Air Sport Motel and Hampton Inn Chattanooga I-75 North for temporary stays in the area.