October 1 is the application deadline for the Surgical Technology Program that begins next spring at Ashland Community and Technical College.
The Surgical Technology program prepares students for the national certification exam and employment in operating rooms, private or public hospitals and clinics.
Surgical Technologists assist in preparing operating rooms for surgery, assist doctors during surgery by handing them needed instruments and counting sponges and needles before and after the operation, and deliver specimens to hospital labs for analysis.
“I always wanted to be in health care, and I love surgical technology as a job,” said Megan Blevins, a Certified Surgical Technician at Cabell-Huntington Hospital. A Catlettsburg resident, she graduated from Spring Valley High School in Huntington in 2009. She was taking classes at an area university classes when she heard about the program at ACTC.
“I was really pleased with ACTC – the classes were well organized and the staff was helpful in making sure you took the right classes – which wasn’t true at the other school,” Blevins said.
She graduated from ACTC in December 2012 and passed the surgical certification test on the first try. “Professor Cavins made sure we were well prepared for the certification test, and we were prepared above and beyond what was expected to start in the operating room,” Blevins said.
“We learned many instruments that other programs don’t even start to cover,” she said. “The overall education I received was outstanding, and I’ve recommended the program to many people. ACTC gave me a start on a good career.” She is now taking nursing classes to increase her options for the future.
The three-semester diploma program at the College Drive Campus includes basic sciences, surgical decorum and protocol, and technical skills for assisting surgeons in the operating room. Students learn on real operating room equipment, with hundreds of surgical instruments. They practice operating room set-ups in class to get comfortable with procedures before going to clinical at area hospitals.
Some graduates may also opt for an Associate in Applied Science General Occupational/ Technical Studies degree. The degree requires at least 15 additional hours of transferable general education.
The Surgical Technology program is accredited by the Committee on Allied Health Education. Program graduates take the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting certification exam which provides a benchmark measurement of the knowledge acquired by students - and the knowledge needed for success in the field.
"The program requires a lot of study," said Jacqueline Cavins, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, "but it pays off because our graduates have a higher than average pass rate on the national certification exam.”
“It’s really exciting to be able to visit all the area hospitals and it’s cool to see all the different specializations they have,” said Tessa Ellis, a December 2012 Surgical Technology graduate. A Louisa native and 2009 Lawrence County High School graduate, she is now a surgical technician at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington.
“The program is fast paced and it energizes you – you learn so much about surgical tech without feeling overwhelmed,” Ellis said. “You also pick up knowledge about health care from being in the hospital environment, and this can help you see possibilities or going on in the future.”
“Surgical tech can be a great stepping stone to other health care fields,” Ellis said. “This is something I could do for the rest of my life but it also gives me choices. I started as a business major but one of my classes in health science expanded my horizons and I went into surgical tech. I’m thinking about taking classes in business marketing with the possibility of becoming a surgical equipment sales representative.”
Graduates work in health facilities throughout the region. "I regularly get calls from hospitals in the Tri-State seeking surgical technologist," Cavins said. “Many of our students have job offers before they graduate, and quite a few of those jobs are at the hospitals that serve as our clinical sites.”
The hospital sites also sometimes hire our students to work in support positions while they finish their classes,” Cavins added.
Surgical Technology is a selective admission programs, and prospective students need to complete an application for their chosen program. Applicants who are not current ACTC students also need to complete the ACTC application process.
To be admitted to the program, students must pass the COMPASS/ACT at the required level and attend a pre-conference session, available on line. Prior to starting classes, CPR certification must be obtained and prerequisite courses and a health profile must be completed.
Applications are available online at ashland.kctcs.edu and in the Admissions Offices at the College Drive and Technology Drive Campuses. To request applications, call ACTC Admissions, 606-326-2000 or 800-928-4256. Application to the program does not guarantee admission.
“The best thing about the program is that in just a year and a half I was ready for a good job,” Ellis said. “I’m earning good money and am able to be out on my own. And I know there good jobs out there wherever I want to go,” Ellis said.
For more information, contact Professor Cavins, 606-326-2006 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.