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For Immediate Release (01-68)
Date:  December 4, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952; Dave Willingham, 240-567-7970
Montgomery College Initiates New Degree 
for Surgical Technologists

Program Responds To Workforce Development Need 

Students who complete Montgomery College’s new two-year program for  surgical technologists can expect strong career opportunities.

“They will pretty much be able to write their own tickets,” says Patrice Upshaw, coordinator of the new program, which is based at the College’s Takoma Park Campus. “If they want a nine-to-five job or to work only on weekends, they will be able find something that fits their schedules.”

The two-year AAS degree, which was instituted this fall with a handful of students, provides both the technical training required to assist in a surgical arena and the liberal arts curriculum that will allow for transfer to a four-year school.

Regularly scheduled information sessions introduce candidates to the program and are strongly recommended for anyone interested in exploring the field.

According to Upshaw, the new degree program came about in response to requests from the health care community for training in this specialized field. The economics of modern health care requires maximum use of facilities, she notes, adding hospitals and other health care institutions can only perform the treatments they have staff to perform.

Graduates will have the technical skills to be integral members of surgical teams and will be able to work in hospital operating rooms, physicians’ offices, surgery centers, labor and delivery rooms, and free-standing minor surgery facilities.

The first year of the program is spent primarily in the classroom, studying courses ranging from human anatomy to fundamentals of pharmacology.  In the second year, classroom study is supplemented with clinical work that involves hands-on experience in the field.

The degree program has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Upon completion, graduates also will be highly qualified to take the national certification exam given by the Liaison Council on Certification for Surgical Technologists. Candidates who pass the voluntary exam enjoy the distinction of being professionally certified by the nationally recognized association.

The Surgical Technologist program has the capacity to accept 18 students per year.  Deadline for admission to next fall’s class is April 1, 2002.

To find out about future information sessions or the program itself, contact Patrice Upshaw at 240-567-1306. On-line information about the program can been found by visiting

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