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Career and Education Opportunities for Surgical Technicians in Alexandria, Virginia

For those living in the Alexandria, Virginia area, there are many career and education opportunities for surgical technicians. The national trend for surgical technicians 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.

Surgical technicians earn approximately $18 per hour or $38,560 per year on average in Virginia. Nationally they average about $18 per hour or $38,740 per year. Earnings for surgical technicians are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Healthcare Technical in Virginia and not quite as good as general Healthcare Technical category earnings nationally. Surgical technicians work in a variety of jobs, including: surgical orderly, operating room technician , and surgical scrub technician.

The Alexandria area is home to eighty-four schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree as a surgical technician. Surgical technicians usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so it will take a short time to learn to be 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 Alexandria 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 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.
  • 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

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Surgical Technology/Technologist which graduated four and eleven students respectively in 2008.

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA

Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has a one to two year program in Surgical Technology/Technologist.

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: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.