TSTC Surgical Technology alumnus Juan Alanis Jr. (right), a licensed surgical assistant for Valley Baptist Medical Center, recently guided students Arlen Vargas (left) and Jael Sigala through a mock surgical procedure during his visit as a guest speaker.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – A surgical technician has a respected role as the “backbone” of a surgical team.

Prospective students who want to become one of these vital team members can develop hands-on technical skills in the Surgical Technology program at Texas State Technical College.

Students learn how to assist nurses and surgeons in preparation for a surgical procedure in an operating room. They also gain knowledge of anatomy, medical terminology, microbiology and other areas.

Additionally, the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Yolanda Ramirez, TSTC’s Surgical Technology program director, said the program educates and trains students for a dynamic and engaging career.

“Each day brings new opportunities to learn, grow, and make a meaningful impact on patients’ lives,” she said. “Some important qualities that will help students are having strong communication skills, integrity, and being detail-oriented. The fast-paced environment of an operating room also requires quick thinking and adaptability to work effectively with a team.”

Ramirez added that a commitment to the program translates to success in the industry.

“Students who improve their technical skills and stay motivated have a solid opportunity for career growth,” she said.

Recently some students in the program shared why their experience has been gratifying.

Damaris Flores, of Mission, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree. She said her training will help her to be fully prepared in the field.

“The curriculum taught me about every surgical tool, piece of equipment, technique, and that helped me gain the confidence to concentrate on my job duties,” she said. “Time management has helped me succeed in the program. In clinicals, I’ve helped the surgeon with cardiothoracic surgery.”

Her fascination with the medical field was first sparked at an early age.

“My mother had major surgery when I was 7 years old, and that inspired me to work in an operating room,” she said.

Aliber Solis, of Edinburg, said the program has shown him how challenging the health care field can be.

“This program has proven that I can thrive in any environment toward what I want to achieve,” he said. “In clinicals, I observe the instructor or preceptor and ask questions so I can make connections when I’m in the operating room.”

Recently Juan Alanis Jr., an alumnus of the program, served as a guest speaker and participated in a mock surgery on campus with the program’s students.

Alanis, a licensed surgical assistant for Valley Baptist Medical Center, shared information about future careers that students can consider beyond being a surgical technician.

“This program serves as a steppingstone to other careers, such as a certified first assistant and a licensed surgical assistant,” he said.

According to onetonline.org, surgical technologists can earn a yearly median salary of $53,460 in Texas, where projected job growth for the profession was forecast to increase 18% from 2020 to 2030.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology at its Harlingen campus.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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