A surgical tech, also called an operating room tech, is an essential member of the surgical team who provides support before, during, and after the procedure. As a surgical tech, you’ll work alongside the surgeon, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, to prep the patient, ensure sterile methods, assist with the procedure, and restock the room. The best surgical techs react quickly and effectively and are meticulous about maintaining a sterile and organized surgical setting.
The responsibilities of a surgical tech vary somewhat according to assignment but generally encompass the entire perioperative process. Before the procedure, the surgical tech will typically prep the room, set up equipment and medications, transport and prepare the patient, and assist the surgeon and team in putting on gloves and gown. During surgery, the tech will pass instruments to the surgeon and team, keep count of surgical materials, supply medications and solutions, and handle tissue samples. After the procedure, the surgical tech will account for all tools and instruments, assist with sutures, help with sterile dressings, transfer patients to recovery, and restock equipment after surgery all while maintaining sterile techniques.
If you want to become a sterile processing tech, you’ll need to first graduate from high school or earn a GED. A common route to becoming a surgical tech is to complete an associate’s degree from a tech school or community college that has a focus on surgical technology and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. From there, you can pursue surgical tech certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting to become a Certified Surgical Technologist. Alternatively, you can qualify for certification through the National Center for Competency Testing and become a Tech in Surgery. Don’t forget about regulations: be sure to check out the surgical tech requirements for your state .
What is the Salary of a Surgical Tech? The median salary for a surgical tech was $47,300 in 2018 with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $32,870 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $69,170 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Travel surgical tech salary closely aligns with that of permanent surgical techs; however, travel surgical tech pay is in the form of hourly compensation through the travel surgical tech agency rather than as a salary directly from the healthcare facility. Travel perks such as paid housing and travel reimbursements, sign-on and completion bonuses, and education assistance add to the appeal of traveling as a surgical tech.
The surgical tech work environment can be fast-paced and demanding yet exciting and rewarding. Surgical techs typically work during weekdays and shifts vary but are often around 8 to 12 hours. They can work in hospitals, outpatient care centers, ambulatory surgical centers, or physicians’ offices.
When you take on a travel assignment as a surgical tech, you’ll have the freedom to choose when and where you want to work. You can enjoy the challenge and rewards of the career paired with the flexibility and fun of traveling someplace new. Join this exciting career and take your next assignment as a travel surgical tech.
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