Howard Community College has launched a new surgical technician apprenticeship program designed to give aspiring health care professionals the foundational knowledge and skills needed to work in a hospital operating room environment. At the same time, the new apprenticeship creates a pipeline for the recruitment and retention of new talent for local hospitals.

Surgical technician apprentices will complete a series of courses at HCC and will work full-time at local hospitals as entry-level surgical assistants. Key roles and responsibilities include operating room set up, preparation and transport of surgical patients, and clinical assistance during surgical cases, working in collaboration with surgeons and nurses.

Surgical technicians adjust lighting and operating room equipment prior to and during cases, secure and hand off surgical instrumentation, position and hold retractors, cut sutures and take inventory of supplies prior to and at the closure of operative cases.

HCC is partnering its surgical technician apprenticeship with University of Maryland Medical Center and Howard County General Hospital. They will fund their apprentice’s college tuition and fees, while offering each a paid, entry-level position. Apprentice wages increase progressively, commensurate with their academic studies and on-the-job clinical experience.

UMMC and HCGH will welcome their first cohorts of students to their operating rooms in November 2022. UMMC plans to recruit up to 12 HCC apprentices, while HCGH will begin its program with up to five apprentices.