In Spring Semester, students in Northern Nevada will be able to apply for and begin an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program in Surgical Technology.
“A career as a surgical technician involves being an integral part of the surgical team and can be a very dynamic and fulfilling path in the health care field,” said Lance Bowen, PhD, Dean of Science.
Once prerequisites are met, students would complete a one-year program taught by College of Southern Nevada (CSN) instructors at Truckee Meadows Community College in person and with labs, along with interactive videoconferencing seminars. Clinical rotations will be located at medical facilities and hospitals in the Reno-Sparks and Carson City areas.
Upon completion, graduates would be prepared to take the National Certification Examination administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. It is given in Las Vegas.
The job outlook appears promising in this career field and the Nevada Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey estimated in 2015 that the annual salary for the occupation in Nevada is about $57,500.
“The need is definitely there—it’s especially needed to have on-call technicians for emergency surgeries to assist the surgeon,” said Toni Hippert, Liaison to CSN and TMCC Administrative Assistant.
The first students have been accepted to the program, and additional seats are available.
Surgical Technician is an Allied Health Occupation
Surgical Technicians are responsible to create, maintain and protect a sterile field within the surgical environment. The other main functions are handing instruments to the surgeon and retracting tissue during the surgery. CSN has produced a video showcasing the program.
“A person who likes to help people, who’d be comfortable in surgical settings and who can work in fast-paced and sometimes stressful situations would fit well into this career path,” Hippert said. “Communication is important between the surgical team and also with patients.”
Additional beneficial personality traits that fit well into the occupation include patience, raised sense of responsibility, the ability to take direction, emotional intelligence to work as a team, and a detail-oriented outlook on tasks and projects.
Graduates will be prepared with entry-level skills including in the following areas:
- Operating Room
- Labor and Delivery Suite
- Endoscopy Unit
- Outpatient Surgical Suite
- Emergency Room
- Sterile Processing
- Ophthalmologists, physician and dentists offices
There is the possibility of moving up in the field, as well.
“There is absolutely upward mobility both professionally and academically,” said Cris Aguilar, Program Director, CSN. “Professionally, many Surgical Techs go on to become Registered Nurses or Surgical First Assistants. Academically, CSN and Nevada State College now have an agreement in place for CSN ST graduates to transfer to NSC to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Surgical Technology.”
Partnership of CSN and TMCC
The unique partnership to offer the Surgical Technician A.A.S. reflects the goal of both institutions to offer students in the northern half of the state the opportunity to take the program without relocating to Southern Nevada.
“You can enroll without picking up your whole life and moving to Las Vegas for the length of the program,” Hippert said.
The two colleges have established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enable a smooth articulation of transfer from TMCC to CSN, and the acceptance of prerequisite credits.
This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in collaboration with Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA).
Program Selection Criteria
To be accepted into the Surgical Technician degree program, students who apply are evaluated based on:
- Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of prerequisite college classes
- Additional points awarded for specific classes completed with a “C” or above
- Dexterity Test points
- Health care experience, including credentialed, paid and/or volunteer work
- Letter of recommendation
- Grade earned in the prerequisite SRGT 101B (Introduction to Surgical Technology)
Prospective students take the Dexterity Test at CSN’s Testing Center located on the West Charleston campus, in Las Vegas. Before clinical rotations, students must also show proof of CPR certification, health insurance, negative tuberculosis (TB) skin test, negative urine drug screen and a set of immunizations. A background check may be required.
Prerequisite courses include biology, English, medical terminology (NURS 140), anatomy and physiology, math, communications, human relations (management), an elective, and U.S. and Nevada Constitution.
An information session for the Surgical Technician AAS degree program will take place on Thursday, March 30, from 9-11 a.m. It will be held in the Red Mountain Building, room 256. This informative workshop will feature Cris Aguilar, CSN Program Director, Instructor for the Surgical Technology Program. The new degree program will be outlined, including how the AAS can be earned in Northern Nevada.
For more information, please contact Toni Hippert in the TMCC Sciences Division at 775-674-7657, or visit the degree program information for Surgical Technology.