How to Become a Surgical Tech in New Mexico

How to Become a Surgical Tech in New Mexico

Operating rooms in New Mexico are staffed with a dedicated team prepared to respond swiftly, especially in emergency situations.

This team comprises various professionals, including:

  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesia specialist
  • Surgical nurse
  • Surgical technician

Their collaborative efforts commence before the surgery begins and continue until its conclusion.

It’s worth noting that the latter healthcare professionals are known by other names such as operating room (OR) techs and scrub techs.

Job Description and Responsibilities of Surgical Technologists

Surgical technologists in New Mexico perform a range of critical duties during their shifts, including:

  • Preparing patients for surgery
  • Transporting patients to and from the OR
  • Preparing the OR with surgical equipment and supplies
  • Monitoring the instrument count throughout surgery
  • Handing the surgeon medical instruments
  • Closing wounds and bandaging patients

It’s important to recognize that the list of responsibilities mentioned here is not exhaustive, as these medical professionals have a broader scope of duties.

Training and Education for Surgical Technologists

Individuals aspiring to become surgical technologists in New Mexico should embark on a structured journey, beginning with a high school diploma or equivalent, like a GED.

The subsequent steps in this process include enrolling in a specialized training program.

It’s crucial to understand that this occupation requires both formal education and hands-on clinical training.

Several educational institutions throughout New Mexico offer training programs tailored to surgical technology.

While specific enrollment criteria may vary, there are common core courses typically required:

  • Microbiology,
  • Pathophysiology,
  • Pharmacology,
  • Anatomy,
  • Physiology,
  • Medical terminology
  • CPR and/or BLS and/or AED

Let’s take a closer look at some of the institutions in New Mexico that offer such programs.

Central New Mexico Community College

CNMCC offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree program in surgical technology.

This comprehensive program combines classroom and laboratory instruction at the Albuquerque campus with clinical labs conducted in local hospitals and surgery centers.

The program spans a total of 62-68 credit hours, which include general education requirements and are distributed over a period of five semesters.

Clinical labs are scheduled for the final two semesters.

Admission requirements for this program are as follows:

  • Possession of a high school diploma or GED
  • Successful completion of a background check
  • Completion of a math prerequisite course or an equivalent math score on a placement test, ACT, or SAT
  • Completion of an English prerequisite course or an equivalent reading/English score on a placement test, ACT, or SAT
  • Completion of prerequisite courses in biology and chemistry or an equivalent biology score on a placement test

San Juan Community College

SJC collaborates with New Mexico State University to offer students the opportunity to pursue an AAS degree in Surgical Technology.

The duration of the program varies based on whether students have already completed the necessary prerequisites.

If students have already fulfilled the prerequisites, they can typically complete the program within one year.

However, if prerequisites have not been taken, the program usually requires about two years.

Students who need to complete prerequisites can do so at NMSU-A, either through on-campus or online courses.

The program at San Juan College allows students the flexibility to choose between online or on-campus courses for the program curriculum, while the lab courses can be taken at either campus.

It’s important to note that this program has limited space, and students are expected to be prepared to take the certification exam upon graduation.

School Name Address
Central New Mexico Community College 900 University Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
San Juan College 4601 College Blvd, Farmington, NM 87402

Certification for Surgical Technologists

While certification is not legally mandated for surgical technologists in New Mexico, many employers seek candidates with certification.

Several certifying bodies in this field include:

  • National Surgical Assistant Association (NSAA)
    • Provides the Certified Surgical Assistant (CSA) qualification
  • National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA)
    • Provides the Certified Surgical Technologist/Certified First Assistant credential
  • National Center for Competency Training (NCCT)
    • Provides the Tech in Surgery Certification

Among these certifications, the one provided by the NBSTSA holds the highest reputation and is nationally recognized.

Testing centers for these certification exams can be found in several cities across New Mexico.

The certification exam consists of 200 questions, and a minimum of 119 correct answers is required to pass.

It’s essential to note that there is an associated fee for taking the exam, with different rates for Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) members and non-AST members.

Certified surgical technologists are required to renew their certification every four years.

This renewal can be accomplished through either retaking the certification exam, which necessitates re-payment of the exam fee or by completing continuing education classes.

During this period, 60 education credits must be earned within the renewal period.

Certification renewal also requires payment of a renewal fee.

Surgical Technologist Salary in New Mexico

Though this profession may not be the most glamorous, it’s important to consider the potential income when pursuing a career as a surgical technologist in New Mexico.

On average, an operating room (OR) tech in New Mexico can earn an annual salary of about $47,500.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Tesuque $48,600
Santa Fe $48,600
Albuquerque $48,400
Rodeo $48,300
Corrales $48,300
Tererro $48,300
Santa Cruz $48,100
Placitas $47,900
Regina $47,800
Navajo $47,700

Regional Salary in New Mexico

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Albuquerque, NM260$49,420$23.76$63,140$38,850
Las Cruces, NM60$49,890$23.99$69,150$29,570
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Surgical Technologists, OCC Code 29-2055, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Surgical Tech From New Mexico Choose a Specialty?


Just like surgeons can choose to operate on a specific body part, so can these techs.

Here are the most commonly chosen surgery niches:

  • General surgery,
  • Ob/gyn,
  • Urology,
  • Plastics,
  • Neurology

Where Do Surgical Technologists from New Mexico Find Work?

These technologists usually work in a hospital’s surgery wing.

Furthermore, these other places also hire such specialists:

  • Children’s hospitals
  • Cosmetic surgery centers
  • Specialty clinics for surgical procedures

What Skills Do I Need To Work As A Surgical Tech in New Mexico?

Here are the most important skills this profession requires:

  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Detail-oriented
  • Take direction
  • Understanding medical terms
  • Understanding medical methodology
  • Good communication skills

USA Surgical Tech Programs by State

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