Is Surgical Tech A Good Career Path? Salary, Job Outlook & More

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

Is surgical tech a good career path? The job provides excellent opportunities for those who want to work in the medical field. But they don’t necessarily want to be a doctor or nurse.

What will I learn?

It is also a good choice for people who enjoy working with their hands and have an interest in surgery.

Is Surgical Tech A Good Career Path?

Surgical technology is a field of medicine. It deals with designing and implementing surgical procedures. It is a combination of medical science and engineering.

Surgical techs work with surgeons to ensure that operations are performed safely and effectively.

Operations - Is surgical tech a good career path

They also work with other surgical team members, such as nurses and anesthesiologists. And without a surgical technologist, many surgeries would not be possible. So it is a very important job!

The job prospects of this are very good. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects:

The employment of surgical technologists will grow by 9% from 2020-2030. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Salary Outlook Of A Surgical Tech:

The median annual salary for surgical technologists was $48,748. (Payscale)

The lowest 10% earned less than $33,000, and the highest 10% earned more than $70,000

The median hourly wage is $23.22. This salary outlook entails that the career is a good one.

Job Description Of A Surgical Tech:

A surgical technologist is an integral member of the surgical team. They are responsible for a variety of tasks, including:

1. Preparing The Operating Room:

This involves making sure that the room is clean and sterile. The surgical technologist will also set up any equipment needed for the surgery.

For instance, they might set up a heart monitor or an X-ray machine.

And during the surgery, the surgical technologist will make sure that all of the instruments are sterilized.

2. Sterilizing Instruments:

Surgical technologists ensure all instruments are properly sterilized before surgery. This is by using an autoclave, which uses steam to sterilize instruments.

Without proper sterilization, patients could develop infections.

3. Passing Instruments To The Surgeon:

During surgery, the surgical technologist will pass instruments to the surgeon.

They will also hand the surgeon any other items they might need. Such as gauze or sutures.

And with minimally invasive surgery, the surgical technologist will often operate the camera. The one is used to help the surgeon see inside the patient’s body.

4. Monitoring The Patient’s Vital Signs:

The surgical technologist will also monitor the patient’s vital signs. This includes taking their blood pressure and heart rate.

During surgery, keeping a close eye on the patient’s vital signs is important. So that if there are any changes, the surgical team can take action.

5. Helping To Care For The Patient After Surgery:

After surgery, the surgical technologist will help to care for the patient. This includes taking them to the recovery room and helping them to get dressed.

Surgical team - Is surgical tech a good career path

They will also provide any instructions that the patient needs to follow. For instance, they might tell the patient how to care for their wound.

These are some of the responsibilities of a surgical technologist. Of course, there are more, but these are the most common ones.

Education And Certification Of A Surgical Tech

Do you want to become a surgical technologist? If so, you will need to follow the lead:

1. Complete A High School Diploma Or Equivalent:

This is the first step on your journey to becoming a surgical technologist. You will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent.

For instance, you could have a GED. Or you might have completed a home-schooling program.

2. Complete An Accredited Surgical Tech Program:

The next step is to complete an accredited surgical tech program. These programs are usually offered at community colleges or technical schools.

They typically last for about nine months to 2 years. And they will prepare you for the surgical technologist certification exam.

3. Pass The Certification Exam:

After you complete accredited surgical tech program, you’ll need to pass certification exam.

The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting offers this exam.

Once you have passed the exam, you will be a certified surgical technologist.

4. Get A Job:

The final step is to get a job. You can look for jobs at hospitals, clinics, or surgery centers.

You might also want to consider working as a traveling surgical technologist. This is a great way to see different parts of the country.

And that’s it! These are the steps you need to follow to become a surgical technologist.

Reasons Why Surgical Tech Is A Good Career Path

Now you know what a surgical technologist is and what they do. You might be wondering if this is a good career path for you.

Here are some reasons why surgical tech is a good career path:

1. It’s A Growing Field:

The first reason surgical tech is a good career path is that it’s a growing field. The demand for surgical technologists will grow by 9% from 2020 to 2030.

Demand for surgical technologists - Is surgical tech a good career path

This is much faster than the average for all occupations. So, if you become a surgical technologist, you will have good job security.

2. It’s A Good Paying Job:

The second reason surgical tech is a good career path is that it’s a good-paying job. The median salary, as per Payscale, is $47,483 per year.

And the top 10% of surgical technologists earn more than $70,000 annually. So, if you become a surgical technologist, you can make a good salary.

3. It’s A Rewarding Job:

The third reason why surgical tech is a good career path is that it’s a rewarding job. You will play a vital role in the surgical team as a surgical technologist.

You will be helping to save lives. And that is a very rewarding feeling. Without surgical technologists, surgeries would not be possible.

4. It’s A Flexible Job:

You can work full-time or part-time as a surgical technologist. This is a very flexible job.

And if you want to, you can even work as a traveling surgical technologist. This is a great way to see different parts of the country.

5. It’s A Good Job For People Who Like Helping Others:

If you like helping others, surgical tech is a good career path.

As a surgical technologist, you will be helping people every day. You will be making a difference in people’s lives.

So, these are some reasons surgical tech is a good career path.

Cons Of Surgical Tech As A Career Path

Of course, like any career, there are some downsides to being a surgical technologist.

Here are some of the cons of surgical tech:

1. It’s A High-Stress Job:

The first con of surgical tech is that it’s a high-stress job. You will be working in a hospital environment.

High-stress job

And you will be dealing with sick patients. This can be stressful. If there is any emergency, you will have to deal with it.

You can not make any mistakes as a surgical technologist. Because if you do, it could cost a patient their life.

2. It’s A Physical Job:

You will be on your feet for long hours. And you will be lifting patients and equipment. This can be a physical job. So, if you are not physically fit, this job might not be for you.

For instance, this job might not be for you if you have a bad back. So, these are some of the cons of surgical tech.

So, now you know some pros and cons of surgical tech as a career path. You can decide if this is the right career path for you.

Skills Needed To Become A Surgical Technologist

If you want to become a surgical technologist, there are some skills that you need to have.

1. Good Manual Dexterity:

As a surgical technologist, you will be using your hands a lot. You will be doing things like threading needles and opening packages.

So, you need to have good manual dexterity. Without it, you will not be able to do your job properly.

2. Good Visual Acuity:

As a surgical technologist, you will be working in a hospital environment. And you will be dealing with sick patients.

Visual acuity is the ability to see things. The better your visual acuity, the better you will be able to do your job.

3. Good Communication Skills:

As a surgical technologist, you will work with a medical professional team.

Manual dexterity.

So, you need to have good communication skills. In the presence of a patient, you will do most of the talking.

You need to be able to explain things clearly and concisely.

So thus, these are some of the skills that you need to have if you want to become a surgical technologist.

Alternatives To Surgical Tech

You may not be sure if surgical tech is the right career path. There are some alternatives that you can consider.

1. Nurse:

Nurses are similar to surgical technologists. However, they also work in a hospital environment. And they also deal with sick patients.

Nurses

However, nurses have more responsibilities than surgical technologists. Therefore, they also need to have a nursing degree.

And their job is more hands-on than surgical technologists. Nurses earn a median salary of $68,818 per year. (Payscale)

2. Physician Assistant:

As an assistant to a physician, you will not be performing any surgeries. Instead, you will be assisting the physician in their duties.

So it is more like a support role. But you will still need to have some medical knowledge.

A physician assistant earns up to $100699 per year. (Payscale)

3. Occupational Therapist:

Occupational therapists help people who got injured. They help them regain their independence.

Their job is to teach their patients how to do everyday tasks. And they also need to have a degree in occupational therapy.

An occupational therapist earns around $67,864 per year. (Payscale)

So, these are some of the alternatives to surgical tech. You can consider these alternatives if you are not sure about surgical tech.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about surgical tech.

1. Is A Surgical Tech A Stressful Job?

Of course, any job in the medical field can be stressful. But surgical tech is not as stressful as some other medical jobs.

Because as a surgical technologist, you will not be responsible for the patient’s life. The surgeon will be responsible for that.

However, you need to be able to work under pressure. Because sometimes, things can go wrong during surgery.

And you need to be able to think quickly and act accordingly.

2. Are Surgical Technologists In Demand?

Yes, surgical technologists are in demand. The demand for surgical technologists will grow by 9% from 2020 to 2030. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

This is faster than the average for all occupations. So, there’ll be plenty of job opportunities for surgical technologists in the future.

3. How Long Does It Take To Become A Surgical Tech?

It usually takes about 1 to 2 years to become a surgical tech. But it depends on the program that you choose.

Some programs are only for nine months. And some programs take up to 2 years to complete.

4. What Is The Career Path For A Surgical Technologist?

The career path for a surgical technologist is fairly straightforward. After completing a surgical technologist program, you must pass the national certification exam.

Then, you can start working as a surgical technologist. And you can eventually move up to a higher position, such as a lead surgical technologist or a supervisor.

5. How To Make More Money As A Surgical Tech?

There are a few ways to make more money as a surgical technologist. Firstly, you can get a higher position, such as a lead surgical technologist or a supervisor.

Secondly, you can also get certified in a specialty area. This will make you more marketable, and you can command a higher salary.

And thirdly, you can also consider working in a higher-paying state. Such as California or New York.

6. Is Surgical Tech School Harder Than Nursing?

It is hard to say which one is harder. Because both surgical tech school and nursing school are challenging.

However, surgical tech school is shorter than nursing school. So, you may find it easier to complete a surgical technologist program.

But it depends on your ability and determination. You can succeed in either program if you are willing to work hard.

7. Is Surgical Tech A Good Career For Women?

Yes, surgical tech is a good career for women. The majority of surgical technologists are women.

So, you will fit right in if you choose to become a surgical technologist.

Final Word:

Is surgical tech a good career? Yes, surgical tech is a good career. It is a stable and in-demand profession.

Without a surgical technologist, surgery cannot be successful. So, if you are into the medical field, you can consider becoming a surgical technologist.

It is a challenging but rewarding career. And you can make a good salary as a surgical technologist.

Last Updated on 1 week by Shahzaib Arshad

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