Your Guide to Getting a Career As a Surgical Tech
If you are interested in finding a career in the operating room without the long educational requirement, then you might want to consider getting a career as a surgical tech. A surgical technologist is an allied medical professional that works closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses in the operating room. They are in charge of a variety of vital tasks such as ensuring the field is sterile inside the operating room, restocking of supplies, maintenance and operation of surgical tools and equipment, and proper prepping of patients by removing local hair and disinfecting the body and skin. During the operation itself, the surgical tech is in charge of checking the vital signs of the patient. They also hand tools and supplies to the surgeon as they request them; handle lights, suction equipment, and sterilizers as well as proper collection and care of specimens obtained to be used in laboratory analysis.
The first step to getting a career as a surgical tech is to obtain surgical technology education. This is usually a program that lasts for 9 months to 2 years depending on the curriculum enrolled in; mostly ending in the person having an associate degree or a certificate in surgical technology. Courses included in common surgical technology education are basic chemistry and biology, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, professional ethics, medical terminology, patient care, surgical procedures, and practical skills. In the program, a student is trained to have dexterity in handling surgical equipment, quick responses, and to be a critical thinker.
After finishing the program, a student must pass the licensure examination conducted by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs to become a licensed surgical technologist. Besides working, a surgical technologist can choose to further his or her knowledge by specializing in a certain field of surgery, obtain more advanced training, or exploring different fields such as hospital management and surgical equipment supplying.
Surgical technology is a fast-advancing field in health and medicine that is slowly gaining popularity, with a job growth of up to 25%, it is certainly one that is estimated to be faster than other health professions, in the coming 5 years. This is due to the advancements that are happening to surgical procedures and equipment including laser technology, fiber optics, and robotics. The number of surgeries itself is also expected to increase as the population, particularly the baby boom generation begins to reach old age thus requiring more medical care.
With regards to salary, a surgical technologist can expect to earn anywhere from about $25,000 to as high as $75,000 annually. This can differ depending on work experience, location of employment as some states give higher wages compared to others, as well as night, weekend, and overtime differentials.
Getting a career as a surgical tech is not as difficult as it may seem due to the numerous opportunities available to those in the profession. Hospitals will always remain as the number one employer of surgical technologists since their main workplace is located there, however other places such as private clinics, outpatient care services, and ambulatory surgical centers can also be considered.