GALVESTON ISLAND, Texas – The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health
Education Programs (CAAHEP), at its January meeting, awarded programmatic
accreditation to Galveston College’s Surgical Technology program. The initial
five-year accreditation followed a rigorous review process, including a
self-study and two-day visit to the Galveston campus.
distinction means we meet or exceed the standards set forth by CAAHEP, the gold
standard for accreditation in our field," said program director Athena
Sempe. "Earning CAAHEP accreditation also speaks to the high quality of
our Galveston College Surgical Technology program and confirms that we are
preparing our students well.”
Surgical technologists are
allied health professionals who provide surgical care to patients in a variety
of settings. The surgical technologist works under the supervision of a surgeon
to ensure that the operating room environment is safe, the equipment functions
properly, and the operative procedure is conducted under conditions that
maximize patient safety.
With the addition of CAAHEP
accreditation, Galveston College Surgical Technology students are now eligible
to take the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam offered by the National
Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. Upon passing the exam,
graduates are considered Certified Surgical Technologists.
Galveston College had an
accredited Surgical Technology program until 2012, when it was discontinued.
The program was revived in 2016 at the request of the University of Texas Medical
Branch due to a shortage of skilled surgical technicians. UTMB serves as a
primary clinical site for students enrolled in the program.
“There is a high demand for
certified surgical technologists in the Galveston and Houston areas,” said Dr.
Cissy Matthews, vice president for instruction. “We are very proud that our
Surgical Technology program has achieved CAAHEP accreditation. This
demonstrates the quality of our program and the dedication of our faculty to
ensure the program prepares students for success as surgical technologists.”
Sempe, former Surgical
Technology program director and instructor at Montgomery College in Maryland
and practicing surgical technologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, was brought on
board to implement the program.
Students in the Galveston
College Surgical Technology program benefit from a blend of rigorous classroom
instruction and hands-on training—a combination that enables them to strengthen
their newfound knowledge and skills.
“Our students are fortunate
in that they receive an extra semester – or 300 hours – of clinical surgical
experience that students in many surgical technology programs do not receive,”
Sempe said. “They also benefit greatly from the experiences they receive at
UTMB, which is a Level 1 trauma center.”
Sempe and the other Allied
Health division instructors at Galveston College attend college and career
nights at area high schools to promote their programs on a regular basis.
“We want students to know
they have a number of career pathways with our Surgical Technology program,”
Sempe said, explaining that students not only have opportunities as surgical
technologists but in managing the sterile process, in oral-oral-maxillofacial
dentistry, as vet techs and at medical examiner’s offices. After two years of
experience in the field, students can qualify to enroll in a surgical first
The Galveston College program
accepts 10 students a year into the program, Sempe said, adding that
accreditation will enable the college to grow the program with the addition of
new clinical sites.
The application period is
open from February 1 to April 1. For application information, contact Elizabeth
Iles at firstname.lastname@example.org or (409) 944-1490.
Pre-requisite courses for the
program include Medical Terminology, Introduction to Health Professions and
Applied Anatomy and Physiology I.
Students at Ball High School,
Hamshire-Fannett High School and High Island High School who take Medical
Terminology and Introduction to Health Professionals as part of the dual-credit
program will have met two of the pre-requisites.
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