How Much Does a Surgical Tech Salary?

Looking to find out how much a surgical tech salary is? We’ve got you covered. In this post, we’ll break down the average salary for surgical techs in the United States, as well as some of the factors that can affect earnings.

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Job Description

A surgical technologist, also called a scrub, sterile processing technician, surgical technician, circulating technologist, scrub tech, or operating room technician, is an allied health professional working as a member of the surgical team. Surgical technologists work under the supervision of a licensed surgeon and registered nurse. They prepare the operating room by setting up surgical equipment and making sure that all instruments are sterile.

Duties of a Surgical Tech

As a surgical technologist, also called a scrub, scrub tech, surgical technician, or operating room technician, you play an important role on the surgical team. Surgical technologists work under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. They prepare operating rooms for surgery and make sure that sterile techniques are used throughout the procedure.

During surgery, surgical technologists hand instruments and other supplies to surgeons and maintain a sterile field. They also may hold retractors or perform other tasks as requested by the surgeon. After surgery, they may help apply dressings and sterilize equipment.

Education and Training Requirements

Surgical technologists typically need postsecondary education, such as a certificate or an associate’s degree in surgical technology. Some programs take as little as a year to complete, but most last about 2 years and result in an associate’s degree. College-level coursework generally includes anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, and medical ethics.

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Job Outlook

Surgical technologists, also called operating room technicians, work under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or licensed practical nurses. They prepare operating rooms, arrange equipment, and help doctors during surgeries. Surgical techs might handle sterile instruments and supplies, set up electronic equipment, or sterilize the operating room.

Salary

While a career as a surgical technologist can be both personally and financially rewarding, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of the job outlook and earning potential in this field before making any decisions.

The median annual salary for surgical technologists was $47,300 in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,840, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $66,020.

As with most occupations, experience and geographic location are two of the major factors that can affect earnings potential for surgical techs. For example, those who work in metropolitan areas generally earn more than those who work in rural areas. And those with several years of experience tend to earn more than entry-level workers.

Employment Opportunities

The job outlook for surgical techs is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of surgical techs will grow by 12% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population and advances in medical technology are driving this growth.

As baby boomers age, they will require more medical procedures, such as hip and knee replacements and cataract removal. In addition, as technology advances, more surgeries can be performed using minimally invasive techniques, which usually require the assistance of a surgical tech.

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How to Become a Surgical Tech

Surgical tech salaries can be high, but the job requires a lot of responsibility. If you want to become a surgical tech, you need to have good physical stamina, be able to handle stress well, and have a strong interest in the medical field. You also need to be able to work well under pressure and have good people skills.

Steps to Becoming a Surgical Tech

The most direct route to becoming a surgical tech is to complete an accredited certification program, though an associate’s degree in surgical technology may also be beneficial. Certification programs can be completed in as little as nine months, but most last for about a year. Associate’s degree programs typically take two years to finish.

Upon completion of an accredited program, surgical techs must then pass the national Certification Examination for Surgical Technology administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. Once certified, surgical techs must keep their skills sharp by completing continuing education courses on a regular basis. Some states also require surgical techs to be licensed.

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to become a surgical tech:

1. Complete an accredited certification or associate’s degree program in surgical technology.

2. Pass the national Certification Examination for Surgical Technology administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.

3. Keep your skills sharp by completing continuing education courses on a regular basis.

4. Some states may require you to obtain a license in order to practice as a surgical tech.

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