Surgical tech certificate programs are a popular education option for surgical technicians shifting into the career from other healthcare fields. These programs are generally shorter and more affordable than a degree program, as they focus primarily on core courses.
Surgical technician certificate programs can be found at most surgical tech schools, including junior colleges, career schools, universities, and other postsecondary schools.
Students of certificate programs in surgical technology mainly study core surgical tech courses. These cover the basics of clinical practice and medical background knowledge, bypassing most general education requirements. Some certificate programs still include one or two general education classes to ensure a complete education.
Some courses studied during a surgical tech certificate program might include:
For example, the one-year certificate program at Onondaga Community College in New York state trains its students in anatomy, microbiology, surgical technology practices and procedures, and includes direct clinical practice. Some programs may include one or two general education courses, such as algebra, communications or English composition. However, students who have already taken those courses can usually apply their existing credits to satisfy the requirement.
In general, most certificate programs require either an existing undergraduate degree such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or some number of prior college credits. This allows students to take advantage of the primary benefit of a certificate program, which is the time saved by bypassing most general education courses. Students who have little or no college experience are better off enrolling in a surgical tech associate’s degree program or a diploma program.
Before applying to any certificate program, it is recommended that students research as many programs as are available to them, and compare details in order to locate the best program. Most schools offer introduction packets containing detailed information for potential students, including course outlines, school policies, information about student life, and program costs.
The application process for most surgical tech schools involves completing an online form on the school’s website, where the applicant submits personal information and information on past education. Applicants may also be required to pay a non-refundable application fee.
Applications may also ask for documents including:
Some certificate programs also ask applicants to write a personal essay, which is evaluated during the enrollment process.
Graduates of surgical technician certificate programs are eligible to pursue entry-level employment right away if desired. However, many choose to become certified before or while becoming employed.
Surgical tech graduates from certificate programs accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES are eligible to become certified by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Obtaining this voluntary national certification opens up several career benefits, including greater employability.