Become a Surgical Technologist

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People’s images of an operating room typically include surgeons wearing blue gloves, patients lying on an operating table, and sterile drapes – not knowing that surgical technologists are vital in providing lifesaving procedures.

They possess superior organizational abilities that enable them to properly set up and sterilize surgical areas and anticipate any surgeon’s needs during a procedure.

Educational Requirements

To become a surgical tech, you must enroll in and pass an accredited program and earn certification. Such programs may be available through community and junior colleges, vocational schools, universities, or structured hospital programs and typically last between one to two years with hands-on experience gained along the way. Furthermore, most employers require certification by taking the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) exam.

As a scrub tech, your primary responsibility during surgery is ensuring everything runs smoothly in the operating room. From prepping the room for use to sterilizing equipment and checking that all is accounted for, you are one of the most essential surgical team members and make an impactful difference in patient lives! Surgical technologists typically make above-average salaries; however, you must be capable of handling its associated stresses to thrive as one.

Though a bachelor’s degree isn’t necessary to become a surgical tech, you will still require a high school diploma due to specific program requirements relating to anatomy and biology coursework. High schoolers interested in becoming surgical techs may benefit from taking advanced science classes and participating in an internship at healthcare organizations to prepare themselves.

As part of your training, you will learn about various surgeries and what to expect in an operating room setting. Furthermore, you will learn to safely operate medical equipment as part of the job and collaborate closely with surgeons, so you must possess strong communication skills and perform under pressure.

Once your training is complete, it’s time to search for employment in clinics, doctor’s offices, or surgical facilities. Create a resume highlighting your educational background and certification. Review job descriptions to learn which qualifications potential employers prefer before including these in your resume. Be sure that it contains accurate data to pass applicant tracking systems.

Scrub technicians will find an expanding job market in 2022; the job outlook should improve by 10% between now and then. Many employers also provide on-the-job training opportunities for those without formal credentials or certificates.

Certification

Surgical technology offers an exciting, fast-paced career that demands constant movement and meticulous detail but is highly demanding and stressful, particularly in an operating room setting where procedures may go awry despite hours of preparation. However, its rewards make the profession well worth your while.

Surgical technicians are the first to enter an operating room before any procedure. They sterilize all equipment before taking an accurate inventory of everything used during surgery. Once surgery begins, surgical techs are also expected to help prepare patients by passing instruments as requested and administering dressings to keep patients comfortable before helping transfer them back to recovery rooms afterward.

After each operation, surgical technologists must clean up and organize equipment before starting preparations for another. Although most work in hospitals, some work at private clinics or outpatient surgical centers. Furthermore, they may find employment with medical supply and insurance companies or specialized surgical equipment firms.

Since surgical techs specialize in such an intricate field, staying abreast of new techniques is vital to their performance and earning potential. Attending continuing education or professional development courses can help develop these necessary skills.

Average surgical tech salaries hover around $50,000; however, actual salaries may differ depending on your state and organization of employment, experience level, and education attainment (those who complete an associate degree program typically receive higher pay than those holding only a high school diploma or GED certificates).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of surgical technologists will grow much more quickly than the national average due to Baby Boomers’ retirement and rural healthcare needs. Now is an excellent time to enter this field; with some hard work, you could soon have a lucrative and fulfilling career.

Job Duties

Surgical technologists (or scrub techs, more commonly known in healthcare settings) are integral to any surgical team. Their primary responsibility is ensuring equipment and supplies are sterilized before surgery begins and handing instruments off during operations with precision and ease. Being highly organized while working under pressure are two essential attributes these professionals need.

Aspiring scrub technicians must complete an associate degree or certificate program offered by vocational schools, colleges, or hospitals. Most programs combine classroom learning with hands-on experience; additional instruction may cover medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and sterilization techniques.

Scrub technicians must maintain an extremely professional environment. They should follow departmental protocols when prepping an operating room for surgical cases and creating the sterile field before beginning procedures, accurately tracking instruments such as sponges, needles, and supplies during operations to prevent any mistakes occurring during their duties.

Scrub techs perform several duties related to patient preparation for surgical procedures. They drape patients and set up the area accordingly before beginning any process; prepare sterile wound dressings, attach immobilization devices, assist with bloodied instrument transport for processing to avoid infections; and help transport post-anesthesia care units after operations.

As a scrub tech, you will work alongside nurses and surgeons during surgeries, so remaining calm under pressure is paramount for effective operation. Furthermore, good attention to detail and physical stamina are required, as are communication abilities to effectively collaborate with your team members in ensuring everything runs efficiently and seamlessly.

Salary

An aging baby boomer population is projected to increase demand for healthcare services, including surgeries. Surgical technologists are an integral component of healthcare teams and in high direction due to their skills. While their job duties vary by facility, these typically include setting up and preparing the operating room; providing tools as requested by surgeons during surgeries; taking patient vital signs before surgeries; and verifying equipment performance.

A surgical technologist must possess an exceptional eye for detail and the ability to work well under pressure, with quick and accurate work practices being essential for working in an operating room environment. Other important qualities include adhering to standard precautions and communicating effectively with their healthcare team members.

Surgical techs can earn a healthy salary depending on their industry and location of employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, California, Alaska, Connecticut, and Nevada offer some of the highest average salaries for surgical technologists due to high skill demand, higher cost of living expenses, and stringent educational/certification requirements.

Surgical technologist salaries can differ widely based on experience and level of education achieved. Those with an associate degree in surgical technology can expect an initial median annual salary of $45,760. In contrast, on average, those holding a bachelor’s degree can make nearly 18.5K more annually.

Like many medical professionals, surgical technicians’ salaries depend heavily on their experience level and years working in their industry. A surgical technologist with a bachelor’s degree can expect to make around $28,500 more annually than an associate degree holder.

A surgical technologist’s salary depends on factors other than education and experience alone; their earnings depend on their employer’s size and the industry in which they work. A larger company may pay higher wages, but these may not match the smaller employers’ offerings regarding quality payoffs.