24 Awesome Reasons to Become Surgical Tech
Surgical technologists (also known as operating room technicians or scrub techs) are an important member of the operating team. They work alongside surgeons and nurses in the operating room, making sure that patients are prepared for surgery, ensuring that piece of equipment is sterilized and working perfectly, and being ready when the surgical team asks for an instrument.Surgical techs are also known to stand in as an extra pair of hands when the need arises.
So why is being a surgical tech so great? We’ve compiled a list of 24 reasons about why you should consider signing up for a surgical technologist program!
1. Job Growth
It’s no secret that the demand for allied health professionals is on the rise. From 2016 to 2026, the job outlook for surgical technologists is strong and expected to increase by 12%. Part of this has to do with baby boomers approaching retirement age.
Currently, 15% of the U.S. population is older than 65. By 2060, this number is set to rise by 23%. With 60% of American senior citizens currently suffering from at least two chronic illnesses, the demand and need for qualified healthcare professionals will intensify.
2. Employers Are Actively Searching for You
Even in a tough job economy, there will certainly be a demand for exceptional surgical technologists. Some students are even hired before they graduate from their surgical tech schools!
3. Surgical Tech Specialists Get Better Offers
If you keep up with the latest developments in a specialized field, you’ll be at the top of your game. By picking 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 training, you’ll improve your prospects!
4. Work with the Latest Technologies
Some surgical technologist programs offer robotic surgical procedure training, which is a great match for tech lovers.
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 be at the forefront of new surgical techniques.
5. Adrenaline Addicts Apply Here
Surgical techs are expected to react to situations quickly and effectively. If you can go from deep sleep to emergency surgery within minutes, you might have what it takes.
70% of surgical techs are employed by hospitals, and many of them find steady work in ERs. Few things give an adrenaline rush like a patient needing emergency surgery.
6. There’s Rarely a Routine Day
From sterilizing and maintaining surgical equipment to handing tools to surgeons and nurses mid-surgery, surgical tech duties can vary widely. You may also prep patients for surgery, guide cameras, close wounds, and account for all surgical tools afterward.
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 might even be lucky enough to hold organs in place during procedures.
After surgeries, you might also be responsible for collecting specimens or helping to close patients’ incision sites.
8. It’s Hands-On Work
Instead of sitting behind a computer desk all day, you’ll be on your feet, moving around, and 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. This is a great allied health career for active people who want a busy career.
9. Who Doesn’t Want Less Paperwork?
Many surgical technologists 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. You’re Part of an Important Team
You’ll be depended on to respond quickly to requests and predict what surgeons and nurses need – before they ask. Building strong professional relationships is great for keeping your operating room safe and productive.
11. You’ll Help Save Lives Every Day
Among the most important surgical tech duties 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, and keeping track of all surgical tools in the OR.
12. Getting Ready for Work Is Easy
Your uniform of scrubs and comfortable shoes makes 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 a lot, whether you’re discovering new techniques to repair the spine or assisting with a trauma victim. You’ll always take something interesting away from your experiences. Like the mysteries of the human body, the science of medicine is limitless.
14. Less School, Fewer Loans
Unlike spending a decade studying to become a surgeon (and paying more than $50,000 per year for private med school), a surgical technologist’s education takes less than two years.
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, but it’s likely that you’ll graduate with a certificate or an associate’s degree. Night classes are an option for those with full-time jobs and/or family responsibilities, though these surgical technologist training programs typically take a bit longer to complete.
16. Hands-On Learning Is Crucial
Surgical tech programs are a mix of classroom-based instruction and 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, surgical equipment sterilization, and supervised surgical procedures.
At least half of your surgical program should consist 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 also a desirable title for your resume. 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 one of the greatest bonuses of being a surgical tech is how easy it is to transfer to different states.
While some states require surgical techs to hold nationally-recognized certifications and manage ongoing education, having the ability to transfer to other cities and states is a massive advantage.
19. Put Your Organizational Skills to Use
Do family and friends tease you for your cleanliness and need to organize? Surgical techs are expected to keep equipment sterile and know exactly where every tool is before (and especially after) surgery. Being a stickler about these things isn’t just encouraged – it’s downright 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 dedicated to surgical techs. With nearly 100,000 people in your sector, you’ll always have the opportunity to learn more and share stories with one another.
21. Flexible Scheduling
Even though rookie surgical techs may not have the pick of their ideal schedule, 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 help out with a hip replacement. Whatever the case, you’ll probably work a reliable full-time shift, 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: Apply that constructive criticism to your job. Not only will you become a better surgical tech, but also a stronger person.
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, averaging $47,300 per year. Depending on the state and city, these rates can change dramatically. In New Jersey, surgical techs can rely on nearly $54,000 annually!
24. You’re Making a Difference Every Day
From scheduled procedures to emergency operations, being a surgical tech means that you’ll be in the middle of all the action. And with your help, surgeries will become safer and more successful than ever.
Should I Be a Surgical Technologist?
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!