What Can You Do with a Surgical Technologist Certification?
Mar 16, 2015 | 9:00 am
Taking that extra step to become a certified surgical technologist, versus an uncertified one, can have major benefits. For starters, the special designation is preferred by employers, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and it could soon be required, since groups like the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) support legislation for holding the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential as a condition of employment.
But more than the personal benefit is the value it brings to patients and the operating room team. By becoming a CST, you show your commitment for high-quality performance, skill and patient care. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone with this passion for their work?
Even though the BLS reports 30 percent growth in employment in this field between 2012 and 2022, not everyone who is interested will get the job. Students must graduate from accredited programs, such as recognized certificate or associate degree programs in surgical technology, before applying—and there will be plenty of qualified applicants.
Stepping forward as a certified surgical technologist, you show that you have the same level of education as your peers, but have taken that extra step to prove your skills by passing the certification exam. This gives you an advantage over the competition and looks more desirable to employers. One point to consider: To maintain your credential, it’s expected that a CST will meet the requirements of continuing education every five years.
While the AST recognizes that certain tasks in the operating room can be delegated to non-certified surgical technologists, they note that only certified surgical technologists should work in the sterile field. They have publicized and recognized that the patient is best served when Certified Surgical Technologists and other allied health professionals perform the roles for which they are uniquely qualified in a perioperative setting. Specifically, the AST notes that only surgical technologists with certification should perform the following:
•Intraoperative Scrub Role – The CST has successfully trained in asepsis, sterile, surgical procedures and patient care.
•Some Surgical First Assisting – With experience, CSTs are competent to perform the tasks defined by the American College of Surgeons.
•Unsupervised Duties — These may include positioning patients and handling medications, depending on the role and the need.
While the debate continues as to whether surgical technicians should get certified after graduation from an accredited course of study, encouragement from the professional field and employment trends show the benefits of certification, including hiring advantages, recognition, advancement and credibility.