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How to Become a Surgical Tech in Illinois

How to Become a Surgical Tech in Illinois

If you have a strong interest in the medical field and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, becoming a surgical technician, also known as a surgical tech, may be the perfect career choice for you. Surgical techs play a crucial role in the operating room, assisting surgeons and other healthcare professionals during surgical procedures. This guide will provide you with the necessary steps to become a surgical tech in Illinois, along with frequently asked questions.

Step 1: Research the Role

Before diving into the process, it is essential to understand what a surgical tech does. Surgical techs are responsible for preparing the operating room, sterilizing equipment, and ensuring that all necessary supplies are readily available during surgery. They also assist surgeons during procedures by handing them instruments, holding retractors, and managing surgical equipment.

Step 2: Obtain a High School Diploma or GED

To pursue a career as a surgical tech, you must have a high school diploma or an equivalent, such as a General Education Development (GED) certificate. If you are still in high school, focus on science and math courses to build a strong foundation for your future studies.

Step 3: Enroll in an Accredited Surgical Technology Program

The next step is to enroll in an accredited surgical technology program. It is important to choose a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). These accreditations ensure that the program meets the necessary educational standards.

Illinois offers several community colleges and vocational schools that provide accredited surgical technology programs. These programs typically take 9 to 24 months to complete and include classroom instruction, laboratory training, and clinical experience in a healthcare setting.

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Step 4: Complete Clinical Requirements

During your surgical technology program, you will be required to complete a certain number of clinical hours. These clinical hours provide hands-on experience in a real-world surgical setting under the supervision of experienced professionals. Clinicals help you develop the necessary skills and gain practical knowledge that is essential for working as a surgical tech.

Step 5: Obtain Certification

While certification is not mandatory in Illinois, it is highly recommended to enhance your job prospects. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) offers the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) certification, which is widely recognized by employers.

To be eligible for the CST certification, you must graduate from an accredited surgical technology program and pass the national certification exam. The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and covers various aspects of surgical technology, including patient care, surgical procedures, and sterile technique.

Step 6: Job Search and Networking

Once you have completed your education and obtained certification, it is time to start your job search. Networking is an essential aspect of finding job opportunities in the healthcare field. Attend professional conferences, join surgical tech associations, and connect with professionals in the field to increase your chances of finding employment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How long does it take to become a surgical tech in Illinois?
A: The duration of a surgical technology program can vary, typically ranging from 9 to 24 months. It depends on the type of program you choose and whether you attend full-time or part-time.

Q: How much does a surgical tech earn in Illinois?
A: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for surgical technologists in Illinois was $49,410 as of May 2020. However, salaries may vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and the type of facility you work in.

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Q: Are there any prerequisites for surgical technology programs in Illinois?
A: Each program may have specific prerequisites, but most require a high school diploma or GED. Some programs may also require completion of certain prerequisite courses, such as anatomy and physiology or medical terminology.

Q: Can I work as a surgical tech without certification in Illinois?
A: While certification is not mandatory in Illinois, it is highly recommended. Many employers prefer to hire certified surgical techs as it demonstrates a higher level of competency and professionalism.

Q: What skills are necessary to become a successful surgical tech?
A: Some essential skills for surgical techs include attention to detail, manual dexterity, strong communication skills, the ability to work well under pressure, and a solid understanding of surgical procedures and equipment.

In conclusion, becoming a surgical tech in Illinois requires obtaining a high school diploma, completing an accredited surgical technology program, fulfilling clinical requirements, and obtaining certification. By following these steps and networking within the industry, you can embark on a rewarding career in the operating room.

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