A surgical technologist, also called a scrub, scrub tech, surgical technician, or operating room technician, is an allied health professional working as a part of the team delivering surgical care.
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Surgical technologists are allied health professionals who work alongside surgeons, registered nurses and other surgical personnel to provide patient care before, during and after surgery. surgical techs work in operating rooms, outpatient surgery centers, delivery rooms and in labor and delivery units.
A surgical technologist is an allied health professional who works under the supervision of a licensed surgeon and registered nurse. Surgical technologists are sometimes referred to as operating room technicians, surgical technicians, surgical techs scrub techs or OR techs.
The duties of a surgical technologist vary depending on the type of surgery being performed, but generally include preparing the operating room for surgery, sterilely draping the patient and assisting the surgeon during the procedure. After surgery, surgical technologists may also assist with transporting the patient to the recovery room and ensuring that the operating room is properly cleaned and prepared for the next surgery.
Surgical technologists must have a strong knowledge of anatomy and physiology, as well as an understanding of surgical instruments and procedures. They must be able to work quickly and efficiently under pressure, often in life-threatening situations.
A surgical technologist, also called a scrub, scrub tech, surgical technician, or operating room technician, is an allied health professional working as a part of the team delivering surgical care. Surgical technologists have an responsibilities in the pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative phases of surgery. They work alongside surgeons, anesthesiologists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, circulating nurses, and other surgical personnel.
The skills of a surgical technologist are those needed to provide quality patient care in the surgical setting. The skills required to be a successful surgical technologist continue to evolve as technology advances and new procedures are developed. Surgical technologists must be able to work well under pressure and have excellent communication skills. They must also have a strong understanding of sterile technique and infection control procedures.
The median annual wage for surgical technologists was $47,300 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,840, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $68,350. Most surgical technologists work full time. Some work evenings, weekends, or holidays to cover shifts in 24-hour facilities or to be available during surgeries that take place outside of regular business hours. Let’s take a look at the salary of a surgical tech.
Pay by Experience Level
In general, experienced surgical techs earn higher salaries than entry-level techs. According to the BLS, the median wage for surgical techs was $52,490 in May 2017. The lowest 10 percent of earners made less than $33,630, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,840.
Pay by Geographic Region
In 2019, the median annual wage for surgical technologists was $47,300 per year, or $22.78 per hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,860, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $64,550.
As of May 2019, the median annual wage for surgical technologists was highest in the following states:
-California – $56,610
-Texas – $54,610
-Florida – $52,280
-New York – $50,490
Education and Training
Becoming a surgical technician generally requires completing a 1-2 year accredited surgical technology program. Some programs may be longer, and some may offer a certificate, diploma, or even a degree.
There are several ways to become a surgical technologist. The most common way is to attend an accredited surgical technology program. These programs are typically found at the certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree level. There are also a limited number of bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in surgical technology available. Below is an overview of the different types of surgical technologist education programs:
Certificate programs in surgical technology typically take about one year to complete and result in a certificate of completion. Diploma programs in surgical technology usually take two years to complete and result in a diploma. Associate’s degree programs in surgical technology typically take two years to complete and result in an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.
Bachelor’s degree programs in surgical technology are generally four-year programs that result in a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Master’s degree programs in surgical technology are generally two-year programs that result in a Master of Science (MS) degree.
Surgical technologists can earn voluntary certification from one of several organizations. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) offers the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential. To qualify to take the exam, surgical techs must have graduated from an accredited surgical technology program or have completed a military training program in surgical technology and completed a specified amount of work experience. They also must submit evidence of continuing education in the field. Once they pass the CST exam, they must complete a recertification process every four years to maintain their credential.
A surgical technologist is an allied health professional who works closely with surgeons, nurses and other medical staff during surgical procedures. Many surgical technologists start their careers as certified surgical technologists (CSTs), and some eventually become certified first assistants (CFAs). The job outlook for surgical technologists is positive, with a projected employment growth of 12 percent from 2019 to 2029.
Employment by Industry
The industries that employed the most surgical technologists in 2018 were as follows:
Hospitals; state, local, and private: 91,430
Outpatient care centers: 16,540
Physicians’ offices: 15,650
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private: 2,710
Employment by state and area
The states with the highest employment level in this occupation were as follows:
Employment by State
While employment of surgical technologists is expected to grow much faster than average nationally, job prospects will vary by state. states with the highest employment levels and concentration of surgical technologists are expected to be California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Furthermore, states with the highest growth rates are anticipated to be Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, and Utah. Candidates for surgical tech positions in these states should have the best job prospects.
Although most states are expected to experience above-average growth in employment of surgical technologists during the decade ending in 2026, some states are projected to have below-average job growth or even declines. Wyoming is projected to have the slowest growth rate (2 percent or less), while Mississippi is projected to lose jobs (-2 percent).