Surgical Tech Salary & Career Opportunities in New Jersey
Starting a career as a surgical technologist is an exciting experience, but with so much to consider, it can also be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve gathered all the information you need to take the first step towards a rewarding career in the allied healthcare industry.
With stats and figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (and a host of other reliable sources), you’ll be able to make the best choices for your future as a surgical tech in New Jersey.
What Does a Surgical Technologist Do?
Surgical technologists may be referred to as operating room technicians, surgical techs, or scrubs. They play a critical role in the operating room and are key members of the surgical team. These allied health professionals work under the supervision of a surgeon to facilitate surgical procedures.
Rigorous surgical technologist training prepares scrub techs for a great deal of responsibilities. These duties include keeping the operating room safe and sterile, and ensuring that all necessary equipment is present, disinfected, and in perfect working order.
Surgical techs must remain diligent at all times. Even the slightest delay due to a missing or unsanitary instrument could have serious consequences.
Surgical Tech Job Description
There are many more surgical tech duties to perform during pre-operative, intra-operative, and postoperative stages.
At the pre-op stage, surgical techs are responsible for making sure all the required instruments and equipment are set-up and completely sterile. They also conduct instrument and sponge counts, and assist the surgical team with gowning and gloving.
During the operation, a surgical technician uses their knowledge of surgical procedures to anticipate the needs of the surgical team and provide instruments, supplies, and medications without delay.
Post-op duties include a final count of all the tools and instruments used during surgery, disposal of items such as needles and gauze, and assistance with the final clean of the operating room before the next surgery.
Surgical Technologist Career Prospects in New Jersey
If you think you have what it takes to keep your cool while under pressure, have a look at what a surgical technologist career in New Jersey can offer.
What Salary Can I Expect?
According to the BLS, the average annual salary for a fully-qualified surgical tech in New Jersey is $52,450. That’s well above the national average wage for all occupations throughout the United States, which comes in at $44,564.
Surgical tech pay may vary depending on the city. For example, in Trenton, you may be set to earn around $50,000, while high-ranking scrub techs can rake in an average salary of $56,540 in Jersey City. Those who specialize in one or more areas of surgery (such as open-heart surgery or vascular) could see a significant pay increase.
Job Opportunities in New Jersey
Jersey City is part of the nation’s top metropolitan area with one of the highest employment levels for surgical techs.
Over 70% of surgical techs find gainful employment in general or medical hospitals. With over 100 hospitals in the Garden State, it’s clear that you’ll find plenty of local job opportunities.
Plus, a number of New Jersey hospitals are some of the best for various surgical procedures, which will be a great addition to your CV should you move outside the state.
How Does New Jersey Compare to Other States?
Of course, it’s always good to keep your options open. How does New Jersey stack up when you compare it to other surgical technologist opportunities across the United States?
Surgical Tech Employment Statistics
There are roughly 106,000 surgical techs employed throughout the United States, and New Jersey employs about 2,000 of them.
California tops the charts for the states with the highest employment level, with 10,000 surgical techs currently employed. It makes sense though, seeing how California has the largest state population in America.
Texas and Florida are next on the list, and New York comes in fourth place with just under 6,000 working surgical techs.
Surgical Tech Salaries Across the US
Surgical technologists are one of the highest-paid professions in allied healthcare. Salaries across the nation, however, can vary greatly, with the lowest 10% earning $32,470 and the top 10% earning as much as $67,000.
New Jersey may be above the national average for a surgical tech salary, but what about the rest of the country?
Out of New Jersey’s neighbors, Connecticut offers the highest average salary, coming in at just under $55,000. New York is a close second with $53,280. A Delaware surgical tech’s salary falls below the national average with $46,350.
If you’re looking for the big bucks, then head out to California. A qualified surgical tech in the Golden State can command an average salary of about $61,000. For those who can’t handle the heat, Alaska might be an excellent choice. It’s the second-highest paying state for the profession, averaging about $60,000.
Nevada comes in third with $59,750, followed closely by the District of Columbia at $58,120. Fifth place goes to Hawaii, with a respectable $56,620.
States With the Lowest Average Pay
The lowest paying state in the northeast is Vermont, where scrubs pull in an average salary of about $40,000. All of the southern states fall well below the national average salary for surgical tech. The lowest-paying state in the region (and country) is Alabama, with a surprisingly low rate of $36,320.
How to Become a Surgical Technologist
Surgical technologist training programs usually range from one to two years. You may complete a certificate program in little over one year, or, for two-year programs, obtain an associate degree.
Programs combine classroom study with a period of clinical training, allowing students to gain valuable hands-on skills and real-world knowledge.
If you decide to enroll in a surgical tech program, check to make sure that the program is accredited by ABHES or CAAHEP.
Surgical Technology Certification and Licensing
After graduating from an accredited surgical tech program, you’ll be eligible to take the certification exam from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) or the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).
After gaining your certification, New Jersey requires surgical techs to complete 15 hours of continuing education on an annual basis to remain qualified to practice.
Gaining certification as a surgical tech is a legal requirement in five more states: Indiana, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Colorado, North Dakota, Washington, Arkansas, Nebraska, Nevada, and North Carolina require all surgical technologists to be registered before they can practice. This ensures that all surgical techs are fully compliant and up to date with safety procedures. This promotes the best possible patient care.
The National Job Outlook for Surgical Techs
According to the BLS, the field of surgical technologists is set to grow by about 12% from now until 2026, which is almost twice the rate of growth for all occupations.
The number of surgeries performed in the US is on the rise due to a rapidly aging population, and a population that’s more likely to seek medical attention than previous generations. Surgical technologists are going to be in demand for the foreseeable future, and there’s never been a better time to commit to this career path.
What About Career Advancement?
If you need another reason to start a surgical technology career, having the credentials of a certified surgical tech can open doors to many career opportunities. By specializing in one or more fields (eg. plastic surgery, neurosurgery, organ transplantation), you can increase your experiences while drastically improving your annual salary.
You could also progress to a first surgical assistant role to take on more advanced duties in the operating room. Some surgical techs move into administrative and managerial positions, using their OR experience and knowledge to assist medical facilities.
Ready to Start Your Surgical Technologist Career?
If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding career in the New Jersey area, check out our surgical technologist training program page. There, you’ll find the information you need to take the first step toward an exciting career in allied healthcare.