Harper College

Harper launches new surgical technology degree program

Harper College is launching a new surgical technology program this fall in response to a growing need in the health care industry.

The Surgical Technology Associate in Applied Science degree will prepare students to serve as valued members of hospital and clinical surgical teams, ensuring patient safety by utilizing aseptic techniques and maintaining sterile fields during surgical procedures.

“Surgical technologists have become essential members of the surgical team,” said new program coordinator Laura Smith, a certified surgical technologist since 1993. “This is a specialized field that offers an opportunity to practice health care in an exciting environment.”

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, a longtime partner of Harper College’s, has been instrumental in outfitting the new surgical suite lab on campus. Good Shepherd donated two patient surgical tables, a fluid and blanket warmer, surgical lights, scrub sink, instrument washing sink, surgical equipment tables and a sterilizer.

Located within Harper’s Simulation Hospital in the Foglia Center for Nursing and Allied Health, the surgical suite includes viewing rooms, an operating room and sterile processing areas.

“The timing was really fortuitous because Good Shepherd was going through a remodel and thought to reach out to us,” said Director of Nursing Julie D’Agostino, who together with Nursing Simulation Coordinator Caitrin Sobota oversaw the surgical suite’s development. “I think the strong relationship in place between Good Shepherd and Harper helped tremendously.”

The high-demand field is expected to grow “much faster” than the average profession by the year 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Surgical technologists earn an average of $40,000 to $50,000 a year.

Smith said while other community colleges offer surgical technology programs, the vast majority are certificate programs. Starting in 2018, surgical technologists will need an associate degree to meet industry standards.

Students must complete human anatomy, human physiology, medical terminology and an English and math course as prerequisites before beginning the surgical technology program.

For more information, visit harpercollege.edu or contact Laura Smith at 847.925.6533 or lsmith4@harpercollege.edu.

Last Updated: 3/14/24