Penn College to Offer Surgical Technology Major in Fall

Published 01.08.2004


Responding to a nationwide need for qualified surgical technologists, Pennsylvania College of Technology's School of Health Sciences will offer a Surgical Technology major beginning with the Fall 2004 semester.

The two-year associate-degree program also offers students the option of earning a bachelor's degree in Applied Health Studies.

Surgical technologists typically are employed in hospitals (primarily in operating and delivery rooms), clinics, surgical centers, and physician and dentist's offices where outpatient surgery is performed. Their responsibilities include operating-room setup and asepsis (keeping rooms free from pathogenic microorganisms) and instrument sterilization. They also assist surgeons during surgical procedures, passing instruments, supplies and equipment.

Currently, the surgical technology field is experiencing a nationwide shortage of qualified workers. With the increased sophistication of surgical procedures and with the U.S. population aging the shortage of workers is expected to continue into the next decade.

Dr. Deborah A. Wilson, dean of health sciences at Penn College, said the new major addresses the critical need for qualified surgical technologists.

"Most educational programs for surgical technologists are certificate programs; however, the Association of Surgical Technologists supports the associate degree for entry-level surgical technologists," Dr. Wilson said. "Penn College is pleased to be offering a program that we expect will become a prime example for others to follow."

According to the 2002-03 "Occupational Outlook Handbook" published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgical technologists held about 71,000 jobs nationwide in 2000.

The handbook predicts that employment of surgical technologists is expected to "grow faster than the average" (21-35 percent) for all occupations through the year 2010 as the volume of surgery increases for a rapidly aging population and technological advances (like fiber optics and laser technology) allow new surgical procedures to be performed.

For more information about academic programs offered by the School of Health Sciences at Penn College, call (570) 327-4519, send e-mail or visit on the Web.