Degrees in ST Gaining Traction
Jan. 9, 2017
Concordeâs campuses in Miramar, Fla., Jacksonville, Fla. and Tampa, Fla. will begin offering Associateâs Degree programs in Surgical Technology (ST) next month. A fourth Florida campus, in Orlando, will follow suit in May. Concorde's Dallas campus is scheduled to begin offering an ST degree program later this year. Combine that with ST degree programs already in place in North Hollywood, Calif., San Diego, Aurora, Colo. and Grand Prairie, Texas, and thatâs nine of Concordeâs 13 campuses that have Surgical Technology programs that are Associateâs Degree programs. The other four campuses offer diploma programs, which are shorter in duration but still provide all the training necessary to become licensed. But the trend appears to be toward ST degree programs.
Surgical Technology accreditors changing requirementsAccording to Gerald Hale, AAS, CST, ST Program Director at Concordeâs campus in Portland, Ore., all institutionally accredited Surgical Technology programs are going to be required to move to an Associateâs Degree program by the year 2021. This is being mandated by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), Concordeâs ST programsâ programmatic accrediting body. âThough some employers might prefer an applicant with an Associateâs Degree, the change is not being mandated by employers,â Hale said. ââ¦ the move to an Associateâs Degree will benefit us in the long run. It helps us to be more competitive with other programs in our area.â Mercedes Alafriz, Dean of Clinical Education for Concorde Career Colleges, said, âConcorde is taking a proactive approach to them â¦ mandate of a minimum credential of an Associateâs Degree within the next five years. The changeover â¦ will make our students and graduates more competitive for clinical rotations and jobs.â
Some Surgical Technology factsThe major differences between an ST diploma and degree program are the duration â a degree program takes anywhere from 1-3 more months to complete. The degree program includes general education courses, such as English composition, college algebra and general psychology, in addition to program-specific coursework. In January 2013, the Association of Surgical Technologists adopted the Associate Degree Concept that reads, in part: the Association of Surgical Technologists, Inc. declares the Associate Degree in Surgical Technology to be the preferred educational level for entry-level practice. AST forwarded its recommendation to CAAHEP. A couple of prominent publications recently pointed out the benefits of an ST Associateâs Degree.
- Being a Surgical Technologist is ranked No. 9 on Best Jobs with an Associateâs Degree by Monster.com.
- U.S. News and World Report noted that Surgical Technologists who have completed an accredited program will have the best job prospects. And, as noted, the CAAHEP will start requiring in the next five years that programs offer degrees to be accredited.