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How Much Does a Surgical Tech Make?

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Get Started in the Medical Field Quickly

If you are passionate about the field of medicine and serving patients in the operating room, a career as a surgical technologist could be both rewarding and enjoyable. As an added bonus, it takes two years or less to get started in your career and begin earning an income to help support your family. Hours can be unpredictable, so dependable child care options help keep family life running smoothly while you work.

Job Description

Surgical technologists are responsible for assisting in the operating room. They ensure the environment is sterile before and after surgical procedures, as well as act as an assistant to the surgeon by organizing and sterilizing all the surgical tools. Before surgery, the technologist prepares the patient's body for surgery and sterilizes it. During surgery, they pass tools to the surgeon as she works. Surgical technologists often work odd or long shifts and remain standing for long periods of time, working in a sterile, sometimes stressful environment.

Education Requirements

Surgical technologists must earn a high school diploma or the equivalent and then complete additional training following high school. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools accredit schools nationwide that offer training options ranging from a few months to a couple of years. After program completion, you have the option to take an exam and become certified. While not required by law, most employers favor applicants who have obtained certification.

The median annual salary for surgical technologists is $45,160, which means that half earned more, while the other half earned less. The top 10 percent earned more than $64,800, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $31,720.

About the Industry

Surgical technologists work in hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, doctor's offices and dental offices. They wear scrubs in the operating room and must be able to help lift patients and heavy tools or equipment. Operating rooms can sometimes expose them to contagious diseases, chemicals, bodily fluid and odors. Life or death situations sometimes occur in the operating room, which can add to job stress.

Years of Experience

Surgical technologists receive a fair wage that can vary according to geographic location and years of experience. One salary projection looks like this:

  • Entry-Level: $29,264 - $50,725
  • Mid-Career: $33,048 - $58,271
  • Experienced: $36,417 - $64,043
  • Late Career: $39,062 - $68,650

Job Growth Trend

Job opportunities for surgical technicians are expected to increase by 12 percent over the next decade, which is faster than in other industries. Medical advances, an aging population and greater willingness to seek treatment are contributing to this growth. Surgical technologists who complete an accredited program and become certified are most likely to secure the best positions in the field.