How to Become a Surgical Tech in Tennessee

How to Become a Surgical Tech in Tennessee

The surgery room is staffed with a team of professionals ready to respond promptly, particularly during emergencies.

This personnel includes surgeons, anesthesia specialists, surgical nurses, and surgical technicians.

Their collaboration spans from pre-operation preparations to post-surgery completion.

Other terms for these professionals include operation room (OR) techs and scrub techs.

Job Description and Duties of Surgical Technologists

Surgical technologists are tasked with various responsibilities during their work 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

This list is not exhaustive, encompassing additional duties for these medical professionals.

Training and Education for Surgical Technologists

Surgical techs operate under the jurisdiction of their employers rather than any specific institution.

However, securing a position in this field involves a detailed process.

The journey to becoming a surgical tech begins with high school graduation or obtaining a GED, followed by enrollment in a training program tailored for this occupation.

Education and clinical training are essential components of this career.

Several institutions offer such training across Tennessee, each with slightly different enrollment requirements but common classes.

These are:

  • Microbiology,
  • Pathophysiology,
  • Pharmacology,
  • Anatomy,
  • Physiology,
  • Medical terminology

Some institutions also include CPR and/or BLS and/or AED training.

Examples of institutions in Tennessee offering surgical technologist programs can be seen below.

Bevill State Community College

The program covers topics such as sterile processing, infection control, sterilization, instrumentation identification, and safety.

Prerequisites for enrollment include:

  • Having a high school diploma or GED
  • Passing the Accuplacer placement exam
  • Completion of military service (considered but not mandatory)
  • Previous medical-related experience if possible
  • Health insurance

Clinical requirements involve completing at least 120 cases, with a minimum of 30 in General Surgery and 20 in the first scrub role.

Additional criteria for admission include achieving a minimum composite score on the ACT or meeting specific scores on the Accuplacer or ENG 101.

Calhoun Community College

The training program has a duration of around 2 years or 4 semesters, including classroom, lab, and clinical instruction.

To be accepted into the program, applicants must:

  • Apply online
  • Attend a program information session
  • Complete a Manual Dexterity Exam
  • Meet all the college’s admission requirements

18 additional credits are mandatory for those who want to graduate.

Tennessee College of Applied Technology

The school provides a comprehensive surgical technology program, designed as a full-time curriculum that can be completed in just 12 months.

Upon completion, graduates receive diplomas and are well-prepared to succeed in the certification exam.

The program includes six months of hands-on experience in a clinical setting.

The total cost of tuition and fees is $3,753, with an additional $1,721 for books and supplies.

Concorde Career College

Located in Memphis, offers a 17-month surgical technology program.

The coursework encompasses classroom instruction and practical training in patient care, equipment sterilization, surgical assistance, and clinical experience.

The credits you’ll accumulate are as follows:

  • 74 credit hours
  • 300 lab hours
  • 570 clinical hours

The tuition is around $43,463 and it includes the textbooks.

Some students qualify for financial aid or scholarships.

Nashville State Community College

The college provides an accredited program that allows students to earn an AAS.

In addition to on-campus classes, students engage in an externship, involving three courses where they gain hands-on experience working with patients and medical professionals.

The tuition depends on how many credit hours students have to attend, whether they’re residents of the state or not, whether the payment is done on time or not, and other factors.

Most students qualify for financial help.

Uniforms and the needed tools are the responsibility of each student.

School Name Address
Calhoun Community College online
Tennessee College of Applied Technology 1100 Liberty Street Knoxville, TN 37919
Bevill State Community College online
Concorde Career College 5100 Poplar Ave., Suite 132 Memphis, Tennessee 38137
Nashville State Community College 120 White Bridge Pike, Nashville, TN 37209

Certification for Surgical Technologists in Tennessee

Although certification is not legally required, employers often prefer certified individuals.

Certifying bodies 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

The NBSTSA certification is nationally recognized.

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

Exam fees vary, and certification renewal every 4 years can be achieved by either retaking the exam or completing continuing education credits.

Surgical Technologist Salary in Tennessee

In Tennessee, an OR tech can earn an annual salary of about $47,300.

Variations in salaries among cities within the state are detailed in the following table.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Belfast $48,800
Dellrose $48,800
Belvidere $48,800
Elkton $48,200
Goodlettsville $47,900
Carthage $47,600
Alamo $47,300
Cowan $47,200
Alcoa $47,200
Clinton $47,100

Regional Salary in Tennessee

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Chattanooga, TN-GA260$48,350$23.25$61,550$29,110
Clarksville, TN-KY40$46,930$22.56$65,460$30,220
Jackson, TN100$39,520$19$51,560$31,110
Johnson City, TN60$52,590$25.28$62,450$47,000
Knoxville, TN220$47,440$22.81$59,590$38,390
Memphis, TN-MS-AR470$52,700$25.34$70,450$39,930
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN660$57,050$27.43$77,290$47,440
* 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 Tennessee 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

What Sills Do I Need To Work As A Surgical Tech in Tennessee?

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

Where Do Surgical Technologists from Tennessee 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

USA Surgical Tech Programs by State

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