NCTC Surg Tech celebrates 15 years

Judith Rodgers | Jun 21, 2018

The North Central Texas College Surgical Technology Program turns 15 years old this year. A little known technical program, Surgical Technology is a one-year certificate program that prepares the student to assume the responsibilities of a Surgical Technologist, participating in all aspects of preparing and monitoring instruments and procedures in the sterile operating room environment. Only 24 students per year can be admitted into NCTC’s program.

“Many people think that the Surgical Technologist washes the surgical instruments. They would be surprised to learn that the faceless person in the operating room that they believe is a scrub nurse, is actually a scrub tech/surgical technologist. It is a person well trained and educated in maintaining a sterile environment, readying the instruments and supplies, setting up the case, then passing instruments, holding retractors, helping the surgeon, and being the doctor’s other set of hands," according to Judie Rodgers, NCTC Surgical Technology Program Division Chair.

The courses are taught in the classroom, the Surgical Technology lab, and at clinical sites throughout the NCTC service area. Surgical Technologists may obtain professional certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) by graduating from a CAAHEP-accredited program and passing a national certification examination. They may then use the designation Certified Surgical Technologist, or CST.

Employment can be found in hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, physician’s offices, veterinarian’s offices, commercial sales, management of sterile process or supplies and education. Surgical Technologists are trained in several areas including General, Orthopedic, Plastic, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Ear, Nose, and Throat, Ophthalmic (Eye), Neuro, Cardiovascular/Heart, Genitourinary and Thoracic surgery.

The program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) oversight of which is by the Accreditation Review Counsel on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA). NCTC has just received notification that the Surgical Technology Program accreditation has been renewed for another 10 years.

NCTC’s program has graduated 256 students in its 15 years. Many techs are still in the operating room (OR) or obstetrics. However, many other grads have gone on to become Registered Nurses, Physician’s Assistants, First Assistants and even, one Medical Doctor. Students come from all walks of life, fresh out of high school, single moms, post military, those with graduate degrees who can’t find jobs, those who want to make a difference and/or change professions, even foreign medical graduates who want to be back in the OR. As a certificate program, passing the college entrance exam (TSI) is not required.

Students who have completed the NCTC Certificate in Surgical Technology may, with completion of the additional 26 required academic hours, apply to NCTC to be awarded an AAS (Associate of Applied Science)in Surgical Technology. Academic courses may be taken before, during or after the certificate portion of the program. There is even a pathway to a BAAS (Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences) at the University of North Texas.

NCTC does have a program through the Adult and Continuing Education Department for those wishing to manage instruments and sterilization. It is the one-semester Sterile Process Program. Many of those program graduates have gone on to become surgical technologists.

Criminal background checks, drug screens evidence of immunity to certain communicable diseases, and CPR certification are required.

For more information on the Surgical Technology Program or other Health Science courses, visit nctc.edu/health-sciences.