Career Guide to Becoming an Endoscopy Technician
June 14, 2021
Endoscopy technicians are an important part of the patient care team at hospitals, clinics, and other facilities. Their role is vital for the early diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and conditions.
Read our extensive career guide, which goes through all the things you need to know before becoming an endoscopy technician. We lay out the important steps of the process and share the answers to some common questions students ask.
Table of contents
- What Is an Endoscopy Technician?
- What Does an Endoscopy Tech Do?
- Where Do Endoscopy Techs Work?
- The Skills You Need to Become an Endoscopy Tech
- Endoscopy Technician Employment
- How to Become an Endoscopy Technician
- Get Endoscopy Tech Certification
- Endoscopy Tech Career Paths
- Endoscopy Technician FAQ
- Kick-Start Your Career as an Endoscopy Tech
What Is an Endoscopy Technician?
Endoscopy technicians work alongside surgeons and nurses to help examine the patient's gastrointestinal system. Usually, the procedure involves a scope that’s inserted into the body. The instrument used is called an endoscope. It’s a flexible, tube-like device with a camera attached at the end.
What Does an Endoscopy Tech Do?
Endoscopy or GI technicians (also known as flexible endoscopy reprocessors) are responsible for preparing the room and equipment before an endoscopic procedure. This involves ensuring that all instruments are functioning properly and performing safety checks.
Endoscopy techs are also present during the procedure and assist the nurses and doctors while maintaining a sterile field. They perform direct patient care activities and monitor each patient’s vital signs. Additionally, they stock supplies, work with specimens, and keep work areas clean. Sometimes GI Techs may complete the patient intake process, transport patients, or fill out paperwork, too.
Where Do Endoscopy Techs Work?
They work where gastroenterologists work. That means offices, specialty facilities, and hospitals. For the most part, techs can expect to work mainly in a hospital or clinic, though you’ll see these professionals practicing at any facility where endoscopy is performed.
The Skills You Need to Become an Endoscopy Tech
Like any other occupation, endoscopy technician jobs come with certain requirements and skills necessary for success. Explore our checklist to get to know the essential endoscopy technician skills that will help you advance in the field.
GI Techs should have attention to detail to evaluate patient care needs. They need to be active learners and keep on top of the advancements in endoscopy technology. Since they work in a dynamic fast-paced environment, having great people skills is always a plus. Being a team player is another valuable key skill.
Endoscopy Technician Employment
Endoscopy Technician Salaries
According to Payscale.com, on average you can expect to make more than $17 an hour. This makes the median endoscopy technician salary just above $40,000 annually. Pretty awesome for a position that doesn’t require a medical degree or years of training.
Plus, you don’t have to stop there, you can get your feet wet as a GI tech and use your experience to advance to other allied healthcare careers. Discover great opportunities in New Jersey state.
Endoscopy Tech Job Outlook
Allied healthcare positions continue to increase as the Baby Boomer generation ages and so requires more care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for qualified healthcare support professionals will continue to increase during the next decade. The forecast is for 5% to 7% growth between 2019 and 2029.
Endoscopy Tech Travel Jobs
Travel endoscopy techs are agile healthcare professionals who strive to deliver good patient care in more efficient ways. As they often do not have an ‘assigned seat’ in a hospital, they need to balance their professional skills with the ability to address emerging challenges quickly.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and precautionary measures in place, the demand for qualified GI Techs able to travel has risen significantly. This trend will surely remain in place for a while since it allows more efficient patient care and ensures convenience and protection for the most vulnerable patients.
How to Become an Endoscopy Technician
Whether you’re just starting out or are a medical professional who’s considering a switch to something more hands-on, becoming an endoscopy tech is an exciting and reliable prospect. But endoscopy technician certificate programs can be very selective. You need to be consistent and make sure that you take the right steps to secure an entry-level position.
Research Endoscopy Tech Programs
Most students choose to stay close to home while they complete their endoscopy tech programs. Many continue to work part-time or full-time jobs while attending classes. So they require an uncomplicated daily commute.
There are, however, great educational opportunities throughout the United States, so it’s not unheard of for people to move to a new city or state.
Wherever you decide to go, visit a few campuses to find one that fits your needs. By checking out the learning environment, observing classes, and having conversations with prospective educators and fellow students, you’ll be able to narrow down the school that’s best for you.
Check the Endoscopy Tech Requirements
You need to be well aware of the particular entry requirements for the programs you are applying to. These include the relevant deadline, previous education, applicable fees, and last but not least, the admission process.
Many GI tech training programs have open enrollment, meaning that students can enroll as soon as the program start dates are published. You might be able to send your application online, but some schools require an in-person visit to confirm your documents and financial aid. It’s commonplace for prospective students to complete an interview, along with an entrance exam like the Accuplacer or Wonderlic SLE.
If you meet the requirements, you may be accepted to the endoscopy tech program the very same day, so be prepared to sign agreements and other enrollment documents. Please note that you’ll need to possess a high school diploma (or equivalent) and be at least 18 to enroll in most endoscopy technician training courses.
See if Financial Aid is Available
Federal financial aid might not be available for all endoscopy tech programs, but there still may be excellent opportunities like scholarships, private loans, and even interest-free payment plans through the school itself. For programs that are eligible for federal financial aid, we recommend submitting your FAFSA at least one week before applying to your chosen school.
Enroll in an Endoscopy Technician Course
Once you are admitted to the endoscope tech training program of your choice, it is time to enroll in the course. Full-time GI techs are usually able to complete their training in under 10 months. This means that within just over 1 year, you will be fully trained for your first GI endoscopy tech job.
We know that it might sound boring, but attending orientation is incredibly informative. This is where you’ll discover more about classroom expectations, policies, and procedures. As a new student, you’ll probably have tons of questions, and this is the best time to ask them before classes start.
Additionally, you will have the chance to meet some of your tutors and classmates, and get a taste of the academic atmosphere.
Complete the Internship Program
After completing the classroom portion of the course, students do a clinical internship with an experienced mentor. This is when prospective GI techs receive hands-on experience with minimally-invasive procedures like gastroscopies and colonoscopies.
Get Endoscopy Tech Certification
Getting an endoscopy technician certification is a great way to improve your chances of securing a decent entry-level position and advancing in your career later on.
Although not all states require professional certification, many employers prefer or require it. Even if the position you’re applying to doesn’t require a certification, it will surely help you stand out among other candidates.
The financial aspect is another good reason to consider becoming certified. Certified endoscopy technicians are usually in a better position to ask for a higher starting salary and even an annual pay raise.
The most recognized certification for this field is the Certified Endoscope Reprocessor (CER) credential offered by the IAHCSMM.
Endoscopy Tech Career Paths
The duties of GI endoscopy technicians vary in complexity based on their level of expertise and certification.
- Certified Endoscope Reprocessor (CER): This certification is designed for individuals with demonstrated knowledge and skills for maintaining a sterile environment and equipment. They can prepare all equipment for the endoscopic procedure while following the industry’s best practices and regulations.
- GI Endoscopy Tech I: This is the most junior role in the hierarchy of the occupation. The majority of duties of Tech I specialists revolve around performing cleaning and equipment-related duties. They work under the supervision of GI Endoscopy Technician II or III.
- GI Endoscopy Tech II: These specialists perform the GI Endoscopy Technician I duties along with some more complex technical responsibilities. These involve troubleshooting equipment, producing reports, conducting training, and others.
- GI Endoscopy Tech III: This is the most proficient category of Endoscopy techs. Unlike GI Techs I and II, they help with some highly complex endoscopic procedures. Some project management responsibilities might be part of their role, too.
- GI Endoscopy Technician-Supervisor: The majority of their duties are more administrative and they have organizational responsibilities. They are involved in the hiring process and all daily activities while coordinating the workload by producing schedules and reporting.
Endoscopy Technician FAQ
Now let’s look at some of the most common questions related to endoscopy technician jobs.
Is Endoscopy Tech a good job?
Becoming an endoscopy technician is professionally and personally rewarding. GI techs are always in demand and make decent, stable money. It is a satisfying job with a quick path to employment. If you make an extra effort and get an endoscopy tech certification, you can fast track your way up the career ladder.
Why become an Endoscopy Tech?
There are, of course, many great reasons to choose an endoscopy technician career. By becoming a GI tech, you will join a community of allied health professionals who share the same goal - help saving human lives. This can be an immensely satisfying and rewarding experience.
How long does it take to become an Endoscopy Technician?
There are a few pathways to become a GI Tech. The more expensive and time-consuming option is to obtain an associate degree. Completing an endoscopy tech certificate program can usually happen within 13 months.
What technology is used during an endoscopy?
As an endoscopy technician, you will be expected to use and look after endoscopy instruments. The most popular one is called an endoscope - a long, thin tube with a small camera and light at the end of it.
Wireless capsule endoscopy is another popular procedure and one of the latest innovations in the field. It is common for initial investigation and screening of gastrointestinal bleeding and some bowel pathologies.