October 1 is the application deadline for the Surgical Technology Program that begins next spring at ACTC.
The Surgical Technology program prepares students for the national certification exam and employment in operating rooms, private or public hospitals and clinics. "The program requires a lot of study," said Jacqueline Cavins, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, "but it pays off when our graduates do well on the national certification exam.”
“When we took our certification test, I felt really prepared and confident in myself,” said Russell Griffith, a 2008 Surgical Technology graduate now working at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital. His job as a Surgical Technologist has included work with the DaVinci Surgical System.
A 2004 Boyd County High School graduate, he started at ACTC to become a respiratory therapist but moved to surgical technology because of his positive experiences with the faculty.
“Everything I learned helped prepare me for what I do today,” he said. “Professor Cavins and Dr. Mary Catherine Flath were a big part of my success. They saw something in me and pushed me to become a good student and an even a better person. I probably wouldn't have finished if it wasn't for them and my family.”
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 love surgical technology as a job,” said Megan Blevins, a Certified Surgical Technician at Cabell-Huntington Hospital. A Catlettsburg resident, 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.
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 clinicals 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 is fast paced and it energizes you – you learn so much about surgical tech without feeling overwhelmed,” 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.
“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.”
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. Prospective students need to complete a Surgical Technology application, and 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 are good jobs out there wherever I want to go,” Ellis said.
The job outlook for surgical technologists is very positive. Employment of surgical technologists is projected to grow 30 percent from 2012 to 2022, a, much faster than the average for all occupations according to the US Department of Labor Job Outlook. Advances in medical technology have made surgery safer, and more operations are being used to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries.
“I had some of the best experiences at ACTC,” said Griffith. “Our Surgical Technology class was a very close class, and I am still in contact with some of my classmates today. I would recommend ACTC’s surgical technology program to everybody. The faculty and staff really know what they are talking about.”
For more information on Surgical Technology, contact Professor Cavins, 606-326-2006 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.