The surgical tech is one of the best long-term career options available — yet nobody knows it. It is not a job that many people talk about. When people think of great careers in the medical field, they think of doctors, nurses, dentists or surgeons. However, every one of these professions may rely on a surgical tech to help them get the job done right.
Surgical techs are very versatile: They help with pre- and post-op patient care, order materials, sterilize equipment and even aid the surgeon in surgery. Surgical techs could be considered the "grunts" of the surgery room, but don't think of that as an inferior or unimportant position. They can bandage patients, hold organs in place during surgery and prepare medications for the surgeon during an operation. This highly skilled and resourceful group of individuals is the backbone of any operating room.
A Growing Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for a surgical tech will increase by 30 percent over the next 10 years. The majority of these jobs will be in hospitals and clinics, but other jobs will take a surgical technician into ambulatory health care, psychiatric hospitals, and substance abuse hospitals.
Pay varies greatly depending on the hospital or clinic, whether or not it is a government program or if it's a private company. The national median pay in 2012 was $41,790. In fact, some surgical tech salaries are as high as $60K per year.
Diverse Schooling Options
Prospective surgical techs can find schooling at many institutions. Community colleges, vocational schools, universities, and even hospitals have training programs. Finding the right one can be a bit daunting. However, schools can get you trained, provide you with a certificate or diploma, and prepare you for the national certification exam. These programs can take as little as a couple of months or up to two years to complete. Look around for the program that is right for you. If the program does not offer a certificate or diploma, or if it does not aid in your preparation for the national exam, then you may want to consider another location for schooling.
Multiple Career Paths
There are promotion possibilities within the surgery room. A surgical technician can become the first assistant. This position has more operational duties during the surgery. Some surgical techs go back to school to become perioperative nurses.
Compared to other medical careers, the surgical tech has one of the best pay scales for the amount of schooling required. They also have one of the best opportunities for advancement in many of the other fields within the medical profession.