4 Steps to Becoming a Surgical Tech
Earn your high school diploma or GED
Before you can consider becoming a surgical tech, you’ll want to complete your high school education. All employers will require a minimum of a high school degree, and most will require further education beyond high school.
Find the right surgical tech program
There are a plethora of surgical technologist programs available, but some will help you find a position faster than others. Surgical techs often earn an associate degree, either through community colleges or vocational schools. It’s a good idea to pick a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CCAHEP).
Not all employers will require certification – however, certification will help separate you from other candidates. There are different certificates you can earn, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recommends two: certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting and through the National Center for Competency Testing. It’s also a good idea to become CPR certified.
Find a surgical technologist position
Surgical technologists are required in every state, but some states might have specific requirements. With an accredited degree and certification, most surgical techs should not have a problem being eligible for job positions across the country.
FAQ on Earning Your Surgical Tech Degree
- 1. Are surgical technologist the same as surgical first assistants?
- While the two positions are similar, surgical first assistants take on more responsibilities than surgical technologists. While surgical techs assist by preparing the surgery room, readying patients and assisting during the surgery, surgical first assistants will directly assist surgeons during a procedure.
- 2. Can surgical technologists get promoted?
- 3. Are continuing education credits required?
- 4. Is a degree required to become a surgical tech?
- 5. Do all surgical techs works in hospitals?
Surgical Tech Salary & Job Growth
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), surgical technologists made a median annual wage of $46,310 in 2017. The median wage ranged depending on where surgical techs worked; surgical techs in outpatient care centers earned a median of $48,900 while techs in dentists’ offices earned a median of $44,760. On the upper end, surgical techs earned a median of $67,000.
From 2016-2026, there is a projected employment increase of 12 percent – faster than the average occupation. The projected jump coincides with an aging population. Many people opt to get non-required surgeries, such as a knee replacement, that helps keep this position in demand. This makes a career as a surgical technologist a fairly secure position, both in the short and long term.