Surgical technicians, sometimes referred to as surgical technologists or operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations. They help the surgeon by preparing the operating room, arranging equipment, and directly assisting surgeons and nurses during surgery. The future job outlook for surgical technicians in the United States is good and salaries are competitive. Surgical technician schools can help you prepare for a new, exciting career in the allied health care field.
Surgical Technician Training Overview
In order to be an effective and efficient surgical technician, you must attend and complete training from accredited surgical technician schools. This training will help you acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to complete your duties and provide high quality services in the operating room. To become a surgical technician, generally you need to acquire a postsecondary certificate or associate’s degree, both of which could ideally be completed within two years. Surgical technician training programs may include the following courses:
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Medical ethics & law
- Surgical sterilization and instrumentation
- Patient psychology
- Understanding different types of surgery
Training programs contain various other courses to help you become fully capable in a surgical environment. Many surgical technician schools also require students to get hands on experience with mock surgery courses and an internship/externship.
Surgical Technician Job Duties
The main role of a surgical technician is to assist the surgeon and operating room nurses to help the operations move more smoothly. Before an operation the surgical technician may prepare patients for surgery by washing and disinfecting incision points, positions them on the operating table, and covering other parts of the patient with sterile drapes. Another important duty of the surgical tech is to prepare the operating room equipment. Sometimes this is referred to “scrubbing” the equipment and often times you will hear the operating room team refer to the technician as the surgical scrub technician. Surgical technician schools can help you develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in completing all the duties of a surgical tech.
Surgical Technician Salary
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for surgical technicians was $39,920, or about $19/hour. Salary rates can be higher or lower depending on a variety of circumstances. The BLS indicates that surgical technician salary can be as high as $57,330 in some instances. In general, surgical technician salaries were higher in outpatient care centers and private physician offices. Most surgical technologists work full time and may be on call for evenings and weekends.
Surgical Technician Job Outlook
According to the BLS, the future job outlook for surgical technicians is good, with an estimated 19% growth between 2010 and 2020. Job opportunities are best for individuals who have completed a training program from accredited surgical technician schools.
The majority of surgical technicians work in a hospital environment. This is because most surgeries take place in a state, local, or private hospital. However, there are other possible work environments that a surgical technician may function in. These include outpatient care centers, private physician offices, and even field work with the military. Surgical technicians spend the majority of their time on their feet and work in a fast paced, high intensity environment. Schedules vary, but surgical technicians may be required to work days, nights, and weekends, depending on the type of facility. Training programs at surgical technician schools often train individuals to become comfortable in the operating room work environment.