Quote from Donald11
So is doing a surgical tech and then a surgical assistant program something I can do? Is it possible to get a job this way, or it it necessary to also be an RN, NP, etc.? Do I need experince working as a ST or can I go stright to SA immediately after becoming an ST?
Also, what would you say the demand for and the typical pay is for CFAs who are not RNs, NPs, or PAs. Is this a field you would recommend?
Ok I am currently in CST school getting my associates degree, then going into a first assistant program while getting my BS, then on to PA school. So Ive done a LOT of research so I'll help you out. I chose to go the route I did after enrolling in Nursing school but before I even started I realized nursing was not for me. First of all you cannot just become a first assistant. You have to either become and RN or a Surgical Technologist first. Which one is completly a preference on which field you want to end up in down the road. If you take the ST road, you will first go to a school to become a CST, then you need to find a job as a CST to gain a few months of understanding of the actual OR. Then you can start CFA school. I 150% recomend the Meridian Institue for Surgical Assisting (It is considered to be by far the BEST)
You apply to the CFA school while you are working as a CST and continue to work as a CST until you receive your CFA accredidation (6-12 months). The CFA school is 3 parts:
Part one: Online lessons- 13 computer lessons with a final test at the end of each one. You can do these at your own pace, and you must make a 80% on each one.
Part Two: (The most AWESOME part) you go to Vanderbilt medical school for a 6 day (60 Hr) lab where you perform whole surgeries on live pigs
Part Three: You complete 135 cases (and have a surgeon sign off on them)
AND...You are a certifed First Assistant
Later you can become complete a bachelores degree program and go to PA school but you dont need to, its only if you wanted to do that for personal reasons or to make more money.
There are both certificate and degree programs out there for CST but they both (if they are accredited) while give you the chance to sit for the certification exam- I recomend the Associates Degree programs simply because it opens up more doors to expand your education later on.
You can also become a First Assistant through the nursing route if you feel like nursing is the career you really want to be in because becoming an RN does not in anyway guarantee you will end up working in the OR, but if you choose the RN route: you become an RN then go to an accredited RNFA school (I dont know a lot about these) and then if you complete your bachelors you can go on to become an NP (if you wanted to do that)
The Rn route to FA will definatly take longer
The salary for a CST or CFA Varies greatly but if you tell me your state I have current charts for both from the Asspciation of Surgical Technologist and First Assistants for 2010
I hope this was helpful, Sorry for the typos it is 1 Am here and I am very tired