24 Awesome Reasons to Become Surgical Tech
Surgical technologists (also known as operating room technicians or scrub techs) are a crucial part of the operating team. They work alongside surgeons and nurses in the operating room, making sure that patients are prepared for surgery and each piece of equipment is sterilized and working perfectly when the surgical team asks for it.
Surgical techs will also stand in as an extra pair of hands if the need arises. So why is being a surgical tech so great? We’ve compiled a list of 24 reasons of why you should consider signing up for a surgical tech training program!
1. Job Growth
It’s no secret that the demand for allied health professionals is on the rise. In fact, from 2014 to 2024, the job outlook for surgical technologists is strong, and expected to increase by 15%. Why the huge increase? Well, part of this has to do with baby boomers hitting retirement age.
Currently, about 15% of the U.S. population is older than 65, and by 2060, this number is set to increase to about 23%. With 60% of American senior citizens currently suffering from at least two chronic illnesses, it’s evident that the demand and need for qualified healthcare professionals is set to increase.
2. Employers Are Actively Searching for You
Even in a tough job economy, the demand for exceptional surgical technologists is climbing. In fact, some students are even hired before they graduate from surgical tech certificate programs!
3. Surgical Tech Specialists Get Better Offers
Keeping up with new developments in a specialized field will put you at the head of your game. If you pick a specific branch of surgery like neurosurgery, orthopedics, or open heart surgery, you’ll definitely advance your career and salary options. Just like in other careers, if you invest in your surgical tech training, you’ll improve your prospects!
4. You Can Work with the Latest Technologies
If you’re a tech lover, some surgical technologist programs offer robotic surgical procedure training. With the rapid development of surgical techniques, you’ll be at the forefront of new surgical techniques.
Fiber optics and laser technology are becoming operating room essentials for their efficiency and for patient safety. Because specialized surgeries are more in demand than ever before, you’ll almost certainly utilize these incredible tools.
5. Adrenaline Addicts: Apply Here
Surgical techs are expected to think and react to situations quickly and effectively. If you can go from a deep sleep to an emergency surgery in a matter of minutes, you might have what it takes to be a surgical tech.
70% of surgical techs are employed by hospitals, and many of them work in emergency rooms. There are few things that give such an adrenaline rush as a patient needing emergency surgery.
6. There’s Rarely a Routine Day
Surgical tech duties vary widely. You’ll sterilize and maintain surgical equipment, and hand tools to surgeons and nurses mid-surgery. You may also prep patients for surgery, guide cameras, close wounds, and account for all surgical tools after surgery.
7. Satisfy Your Morbid Curiosity
If you have a strong stomach and are obsessed with surgeries on Snapchat or YouTube, this job may be right up your alley. In the operating room, you’ll probably see tumors, cysts, brains, bones, and may even be required to hold organs in place.
After surgeries, you might be responsible for collecting specimens from patients or helping to close their incision site.
8. It’s Hands-On
Rather than sitting behind a computer desk all day, you’ll be on your feet, moving around, handing tools to your operating teams. You might need to transport patients to and from the operating room, as well as position them on the operating table. If you’re an active person who desires a busy career, surgical technology might have a nice ring to it.
9. Less Paperwork
Many surgical techs appreciate having less paperwork than most of their allied health counterparts. That’s not to say that you won’t have any forms or reports to fill in, but working in a hands-on setting will consume most of your workday.
10. Works Well with Others
You’ll be depended on to respond quickly to requests, and to predict what surgeons and nurses need before they ask. Building strong professional relationships with your team is great for keeping your operating room safe and productive.
11. You’ll Save Lives
Chief among surgical tech responsibilities is keeping patients from contracting infections. It doesn’t just come down to keeping operating room surfaces and tools sterile, but also washing incision sites, as well as keeping track of all surgical tools and instruments in the OR.
12. Getting Ready for Work Is Easy
Your uniform of scrubs and comfortable shoes will make getting ready a cinch. Scrubs are notoriously easy to wash, and can be bought or even sewn to suit your shape and personality. You aren’t expected to wear makeup or ‘look your best.’
Don’t intend on keeping a perfect manicure either, as long nails are a hospital health risk. If you’re looking for a low-key morning routine, you can’t go wrong with the surgical tech look.
13. Learn Something New Every Day
When you’re working with talented surgeons and dedicated nurses, you’ll learn from them. Like the mysteries of the human body, the science of medicine is limitless. Whether you’re discovering new techniques to repair the spine or how to determine which tools to use for specific tasks, you’ll always take something interesting away from your experiences.
14. Less School, Fewer Loans
Unlike spending a decade studying to become a surgeon, a surgical technologist’s education usually takes around 1-2 years in order to receive healthcare training. At a private medical school, future surgeons can can expect to pay around $50,000 per year.
The total tuition costs for surgical techs range anywhere from $6,000 to around $25,000, and that’s before scholarships and financial aid come into play.
15. Multiple Paths in Surgical Tech Programs
There are a few paths to fulfill surgical technician education requirements. You’ll likely graduate with a certificate or an associate’s degree. Night classes are an option for those with full-time jobs, though these surgical technologist training programs typically take longer to complete.
16. Hands-On Learning
Surgical tech programs are a mix of classroom-based instruction as well as clinical training. You’ll be expected to study anatomy, biology, medical vocabulary, and basic pharmacology, but surgical tech education programs also require lab training, simulated operations, practice sterilizing surgical equipment, and supervised surgical procedures.
In many surgical tech programs, at least half of the program consists of clinical training. This ensures that graduates are well-prepared for their future careers.
17. Upward Mobility
Surgical techs who show prowess may be named “surgical first assistant”, which not only offers a pay raise, but is also a desirable title for your resumé. Surgical first assistants work directly with the operating surgeon, and have a respected place on their operating team. Job duties may also require the surgical first assistant to manage surgical teams.
18. Flexible Work for Those on the Move
We can’t always control where we end up, but a great bonus of being a surgical tech is that transferring to different states is usually an easy transition. Current leaders in surgical tech employment are California, Texas, and New York.
Be aware that some states require surgical techs to hold nationally-recognized certification as well as continue ongoing education, but having the ability to transfer to other cities and states is a great advantage in this career.
19. Put Your Organizational Skills to Use
Do family and friends tease you for your cleanliness and need to organize? One of the expectations of surgical techs is that they keep equipment sterile and know exactly where each and every tool is before and after surgery. Being a stickler about these things isn’t just encouraged – it’s necessary to be a responsible member of the surgical team!
20. You’re Part of a Community
You can start reading some of the blogs and newsletters dedicated to surgical techs now. With nearly 100,000 people in your sector, you’ll always have the opportunity to learn more, share stories, and even share job opportunities with one another.
21. Flexible Scheduling
Surgical techs who are just starting out may not have the pick of their ideal schedule, but give it time. Whether you’re looking for nights, weekends, overtime, or 1st shift, there’s something out there for everyone.
Some surgical tech positions are scheduled on rotation, so you could be working a few shifts in the emergency room, then helping with a hip replacement. You’ll likely work a reliable 40 hours a week, and when you’re in the operating room, time flies!
22. You’ll Learn to Work Well with a Team
When you’re in the operating room, surgeons and RNs are going to be demanding. Don’t be upset or offended. Instead, apply that constructive criticism to your job, and you’ll come out not only a better surgical tech, but also a stronger person because of it.
23. A Surgical Tech Salary Is Rewarding
When you take student debt and duration of educational programs into consideration, a surgical tech’s salary is pretty incredible. The median surgical technologist salary is about $45,000 per year. Depending on the state and city you work in, you might expect more. In New Jersey, for example, the median income for surgical techs increases to $49,000 per year!
24. You’re Making a Difference Every Day
From scheduled procedures to emergency operations, surgical technologists are a vital part of any operating room team. With their help, surgeries are safer and more successful than ever.
To learn more about starting a career in the exciting field of surgical technology, be sure to check out the AIMS Surgical Technologist program page!