Surgical technologists, also known as scrub techs, surgical techs or surgical technicians, work in operating rooms alongside surgeons and registered nurses. The surgical techs help prepare a sterile environment in the operating room. They also check equipment as well as surgical tools to make certain that everything is correctly assembled and functioning properly. Surgical techs are the individuals who hand surgeons scalpels and other tools during medical procedures.
National Average Surgical Tech Salary
Hourly Wage Annual Wage
Upper: $30.48 $63,410
Median: $21.31 $44,330
Lower: $15.10 $31,410
Average Salary By State
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States With Highest Salary
State Avg. Hourly Wage Avg. Annual Wage
- Nevada $29.22 $60,770
- California $28.55 $59,380
- District of Columbia $26.30 $54,700
- Hawaii $26.17 $54,440
- Connecticut $25.66 $53,380
*All statistical data is from the U.S. Department of Labor and is updated quarterly
The surgical technician’s responsibilities include handing the surgeon the surgical tools as a procedure takes place. A good tech will be able to anticipate what tools a surgeon will need as the operation moves forward so that he is ready with the proper equipment before the surgeon reaches for it. Surgical techs usually start off scrubbing simple procedures and as they gain experience and familiarity with a procedure are gradually given more difficult operations to scrub. The most experienced surgical technicians can be found assisting in such procedures as open heart surgery and other high-risk complicated procedures.
Some of their other duties include prepping and transporting patients from pre-op staging areas to the operating room. Prepping may include shaving and sterilizing incision points on the patients. They may also monitor a patient’s vitals while the surgery is taking place. After the surgery is completed, the surgical technician sterilizes the operating room and makes certain that all necessary equipment is in place and functioning for the next surgery. Also, any supplies that were used during the procedure are restocked. Surgical techs can work in a variety of locations including hospitals, physicians offices, dentists offices, outpatient clinics, or in field hospitals in the military. The main job duties are:
- Shaving and sterilization of patients
- Sterilization of operating room and all equipment
- Monitoring patients vital statistics
- Making sure all equipment is functioning
- Handing the surgeon tools during a procedure
- Stocking and restocking operating room before and after surgeries
Surgical Tech Schools And Certification:
To become a surgical tech, one must graduate from an accredited training program. These programs can usually be found in local colleges, vocational schools, or through the military. Entrance to a program requires a high school diploma or equivalency diploma. If you are still in high school and you know this is the career path you want to take, it is advisable to take many science and mathematics courses as this will give you the proper groundwork for the material that will be studied in a surgical tech program.
Programs last from several months to two years and the student will receive either a certificate or associate’s degree upon completion. During the program, students will be taught all of the necessary skills needed to perform the job. Classes include anatomy, physiology, medical terminology and other related topics based in the sciences. Training will also include hands-on fieldwork that will prepare the student for what it will be like in real life situations. Some students may choose to become certified after completing a training program.
There are several certification bodies: National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, National Center for Competency Testing, and the National Healthcare Association. In order to apply for certification, the program you graduated from must be accredited. Surgical technologists are regulated in certain states so depending on where you will be working, certification may be necessary. Being certified can also help you find a job and can also result in a more competitive salary.
Who Should Become A Surgical Tech:
There are several things that one must consider before deciding on whether this is the career for you. Every job is different and is suited to different personality types. You should take into consideration these aspects of the job and decide if you are the type of person that would flourish in these conditions. Surgical techs work in extremely high-pressure situations. One must be able to perform job duties flawlessly in what can be very tense and demanding situations where someone’s life may hang in the balance of your actions.
As a surgical tech, you will spend long periods of time standing without a break. If you know you are prone to back problems or in general, don’t like to stand for long amounts of time, you must take this into consideration. You must be able to maintain a high degree of concentration and focus during an operation as you are responsible for handing the surgeon the proper tools and ensuring the sterility of all equipment.
Factors That Can Influence Salary:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual surgical technician salary is $44,330. The lowest 10 percent of reported incomes was averaged at $31,410 while the top 10 percent of earners took home an estimated $63,410. The state with the highest average salary is Nevada with an annual mean salary of $60,770. There are many factors that can influence a surgical technologists salary. As with any career, training, experience and location are the three main factors that will determine what your salary will be.
Other considerations that can affect salary are the number of available jobs compared to the amount of techs in the area. If there are more jobs than there are individuals to fill the positions, the value of your skill becomes greater and salaries will become more competitive as facilities compete to fill positions. Also, certification can not only increase the likelihood of finding a position but can also lead to higher salaries.
Over the next 10 years, the employment rates for surgical techs is expected to increase by 15% which is well above the 7% expected for overall employment. This field will be exploding with growth and should provide ample jobs well into the future.
*Contacting multiple schools will greatly increase the chances of finding the best school for your situation
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