What Does a Surgical Tech Do Exactly?

A surgical technologist, also called a scrub, scrub tech, surgical technician, or operating room technician, is an allied health professional working as a member of the surgical team.

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Introduction

A surgical technologist, also called a scrub tech, is an integral member of the operating room team. Surgical technologists work under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse and physician to ensure that the operating room is safe, that equipment functions properly, and that the patient is prepared for surgery.

The surgical technologist has many duties, including but not limited to:
-Preparing the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment
-Selecting and organizing needed supplies
-Transporting patients to and from the operating room
-Assisting with positioning patients on the operating table
-Prepping patients for surgery by washing and disinfecting incision sites
-Passing instruments and other sterile supplies to surgeons during procedures
-Applying dressings to incisions

In order to become a surgical technologist, one must complete an accredited surgical technology program. Most programs take about nine months to complete, but some may last up to two years. After completing a program, graduates must then pass the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

Surgical Tech Job Description

A surgical technologist, also called a scrub tech, sterile processing tech or operating room technician, is an allied health professional who works closely with surgeons, registered nurses and other members of the surgical team. Surgical technologists are responsible for preparing the operating room for surgery and ensuring that the surgical equipment is sterile and in proper working order. They also assist surgeons during operations by passing them instruments and other supplies.

Surgical technologists typically complete a postsecondary education program that lasts about nine months to two years and leads to a certificate or an associate degree. Some states have certification requirements for surgical technologists.

Surgical Tech Training

Surgical tech training programs are most commonly found at community colleges and technical schools. Some hospitals offer on-the-job training, but this is becoming less common. Most programs take about a year to complete and award a certificate or diploma. Some schools also offer an associate’s degree in surgical technology.

Although not required, certification by the National Healthcare Association (NHA) as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) may give applicants an edge in the job market. To become certified, surgical techs must complete an accredited training program and pass a national exam. They must also renew their certification every four years by completing continuing education credits or re-taking the exam.

Surgical Tech Salary

As a surgical tech, you can expect to earn a median annual salary of $47,300. On the low end, surgical techs earned a 25th percentile salary of $39,700, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $56,000, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 164,300 people were employed in the U.S. as surgical techs.

Surgical Tech Certification

There are a few different ways to become a surgical tech. The most common is to attend an accredited surgical technology program and receive a certification. These programs are typically offered at community colleges and take about a year to complete. Some hospitals also offer training programs that last several months to a year. You can also become certified through the Military. Once you have completed a training program, you must then pass the Certification Exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).

Surgical Tech Job outlook

Surgery is a field of medicine that requires extremely delicate and precise procedures to be carried out in order to be successful. This is where surgical techs come in. Surgical techs are the professionals who work alongside surgeons to ensure that each surgery is carried out as smoothly as possible.

Surgical techs typically have an associate’s degree in applied science or a related field. However, there are some surgical tech programs that will accept students with a high school diploma or GED. Once they have completed their educational program, surgical techs must then pass the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam before they can begin working.

The job outlook for surgical techs is bright. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that employment of surgical techs will grow by 12% from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is largely due to the aging baby boomer population, as this demographic group will require more medical procedures as they age.

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