Most surgery technologists work in hospitals, while a smaller percentage find work within a dental office, medical clinic or with a private surgery team. Surgery techs wear several hats in the operating room, but all positions require the tech to specialize in the sterilization techniques of equipment, environments and people.
You may not think of going to a clinic for surgery, but many of these facilities will perform outpatient surgeries. Although there may not be a full team of specialists in the room, there is still the basic need for cleanliness. Surgery techs help to keep track of and clean all surgical tools, as well as possibly provide assistance to the surgeon during the operation.
The medical clinic is a great starting point for those just entering the medical field. Pay will most likely be lower than at a hospital, but if you are hired full-time, you should receive a benefits package.
Although the surgery tech is the master of cleanliness in the operating room, this is not the tech's only responsibility. According to the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), there are several positions that the surgery tech can hold within the operating room. The scrub surgical tech is basically the cleaner. They make sure that everything in the room is sterile. The circulating tech works more with the patients and is responsible for most of the paperwork. The second assistant helps the surgeon during the procedure, and the first assistant may cut or clamp wounds.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the future looks bright for surgery techs. Employment numbers in the field are expected to increase by 30 percent over the next eight years, which is faster than the average increase in the number of jobs within most careers. The pay ranges from $29,000 to $60,000, depending on the position, experience and regional location.
To become a surgery tech, you must find a school that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).