Most of us want a job we love that also offers us financial security. The allied healthcare field is growing rapidly, and it offers something for everyone.
Signing up for a career as an endoscopy technician will be a game changer for you if you’re looking for a growing field, want to make a difference, and like interacting with a variety of people.
What is Endoscopy?
You may not be able to make heads or tails of what this procedure means by its name. Endoscopy is an examination of the insides - specifically the GI tract - with 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.
Endoscopy Technician Job Description
Endoscopy or GI technicians (also known as flexible endoscopy reprocessors) are responsible for the preparation of the room and equipment before an endoscopic procedure and the cleanup and sterilization afterward.
They’re also present during procedures and assist the nurses and doctors. They stock supplies, work with specimens, and keep work areas clean. Sometimes they may complete the patient intake process, transport patients, or fill out paperwork too.
Where do Endoscopy Techs Work?
They work wherever gastroenterologists work. That means offices, specialty facilities, and hospitals. For the most part, most techs can expect to work in a hospital or clinic, though you’ll see these professionals working at any facility where an endoscopy is performed.
What Hours Does an Endoscopy Technician Work?
This isn’t a position for night owls. Working hours are early in the morning and into the afternoon since that’s usually when procedures are done.
You may need to work some evenings and weekends since some techs may be on call. Overall, your schedule is likely to be a mostly Monday to Friday gig.
A Typical Day for an Endoscopy Technician
Techs in this field benefit from a predictable routine. When you first come in, you’ll look at the schedule and get procedure rooms and equipment prepared.
Next, you might meet with patients to go over forms or perform other administrative duties. By this time, the physicians should be ready to start performing endoscopies.
This is where the interesting part of the day begins. You’ll be present in the room throughout each procedure, assisting the doctor and nurses. You might collect biopsy specimens or keep the field sterile as part of your duties in the room.
After the procedure is finished, you’ll clean the room and sterilize the used implements. These duties will encompass the majority of your days.
Endoscopy Technician Salary
According to Payscale.com, on average you can expect to make more than $15 an hour or nearly $33,000. That’s pretty awesome for a position that doesn’t require a 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.
A job as an endoscopy tech can be just the beginning. Some individuals use their knowledge to enter a surgical technologist training program. Others, move into higher paid allied healthcare professions.
Demand for Flexible Endoscopy Reprocessors
Allied healthcare positions continue to increase as the population ages and Baby Boomers need more care. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in all healthcare professions is forecasted to grow 18% between 2016 and 2026
Steps to Become an Endoscopy Tech
This booming industry is simple to enter. Anyone with a high school diploma or GED can apply to an endoscopy technician program. Training programs can commonly be found at vocational schools, technical colleges, and community colleges. Individual program lengths vary, but they are generally about 8 months to 1 year.
How to Apply for an Endoscopy Technician Program
Applying for an endoscopy tech program is easy. Fill out the application, and provide any documents the school requests. Some schools may require you to take an entrance exam like the Wonderlic or ACCUPLACER.
Entrance exams will help the school determine a student’s ability to complete coursework and do well in the program. Some schools may also conduct an interview before accepting an applicant and allowing them to enroll.
What’s Covered in an Endoscopy Technician Program
Individual programs may have some variances in their offerings, but they generally cover:
- Disinfection methods
- Endoscopy procedures
- Minimally Invasive Procedures
After you complete the classroom and lab hours, you’ll complete an internship in a medical facility. This practical experience will give you the edge you need to stand out among other applicants.
Should You Get Certified?
While certification isn’t required, it should still be a priority for you. Holding a certification shows that you’re an expert in your field, and makes you a better candidate when applying for jobs. Taking this extra step will put you in a much better position to find employment.
Certification is primarily offered by 2 organizations. The Certified Endoscope Reprocessor (CER) exam if offered by the International Association Of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM), and the Flexible Endoscope Reprocessor exam if offered by the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD). Each organization has their own set of requirements.
Find an Endoscopy Technician School
This program is in demand, and a growing number of schools are offering it. It’s likely that a community college or technical school near you has a training course. Investigate your options and visit a few schools.
Speak with an admissions specialist to learn all you can about the school’s application process, financing, and to answer any other questions you may have. Once you’ve selected a school, verify that it’s been accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
If you live in New Jersey, find out more about our endoscopy technician program.