4 Reasons Why Becoming a Surgical Tech is Worth it

You’ve successfully dodged your family and friends’ endless hinting and suggesting for quite some time now but you’re finally ready to throw in the towel. You decided you’re ready to find a real, “grown up job.” You know it’s time to start prioritizing your education so you can begin advancing in your career. And you’re more than ready for that pay increase so you can live the way you want to live.

You’re thinking about becoming a surgical tech but before you take the dive, you want to make sure it’s worth it. Maybe it’s the huge demand for healthcare professionals that’s piqued your interest. Maybe it’s the hands-on training in surgical technologist programs or the teamwork setting in the workplace that intrigues you. Or maybe you’re just looking for a bigger paycheck.

Surgical technologists go by many titles – operating room technician, scrubs tech, surgical technician – but no matter what you call them, they all play an integral role in the operating room. What else do they do and what does it take to become one? Keep reading to find out.

The Rising Demand for Surgical Tech Jobs: Why Becoming a Surgical Tech is Worth It

Surgical technologist career overview

What exactly does a surgical tech do? Just as the titles vary, a surgical tech’s responsibilities also cover a wide range of duties. A surgical tech plays an essential role in surgical settings. They work alongside registered nurses and surgeons. They typically prepare operating rooms by assembling the tools needed prior to the surgery.

"I'm seeing new things every day, so this isn't a field where it's easy to get bored."

While they do not have a hand in performing the actual surgery, they do fulfill the essential need for assistance by providing the requested tools throughout the procedure. They may even provide hands-on assistance to the surgeon by handling tools or tissue. Following the surgery, surgical techs bandage patients and aid in sterilization, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

You're probably wondering if there's a surgical technologist certification training program or what exactly you need to do to become a surgical tech. Here's the low down — becoming a surgical tech typically requires an associate’s degree from an accredited institution or certification from a specialized surgical tech program. The education required usually takes a year or two to complete and includes many science courses, such as anatomy, physiology and pharmacology, according to Education Portal.

Now that you have a better understanding of the job duties and educational requirements of becoming a surgical tech, you’re ready to get to the good stuff—what’s in it for you?

4 reasons you should become a surgical tech

1. Hands-on internships

There’s no filing papers and picking up coffee in these internships! Becoming a surgical tech is exciting because internships tend to be engaging and hands-on. They’re a great place to gain practical experience in a medical setting. Many surgical tech schools include a clinical internship, sometimes referred to as a practicum, in the curriculum. So before you even graduate you could be learning the ropes in the operating room, according to All Allied Health Schools.

Rasmussen College surgical tech graduate Nicole Gumke experienced the rush of clinicals firsthand. While the training and education was rigorous, in the end she felt it was her clinical experience that really prepared her for life as a surgical tech.

“I was prepared in terms of anatomy but I wasn’t really prepared for the things I would experience,” said Gumke. “That’s why you do clinicals. I feel like that’s where I learned the most.”

2. Demand is skyrocketing

There’s no denying the projected demand for surgical techs. Employment in this field is projected to grow by 30 percent throughout the next decade, according to the BLS. This is nearly three times the average growth projections across all occupations, which is 11 percent.

Surgical procedures are being performed more frequently than ever as a result of the advancements in surgical technology. Additionally, the aging baby boomer generation is expected to drive demand in the healthcare industry. As this large portion of the population ages, they will require more attention from healthcare professionals. This will likely result in more surgical procedures as well, according to Health Professions Network.

3. Exciting earning potential

Those studying to become a surgical tech not only look forward to an optimistic job outlook but they also earn more than their counterparts without a degree. It’s all in the numbers: the median income for a young adult with a high school diploma is $22,900, while the median income for one with an associate’s degree is $37,000, according to the Institute of Education Sciences.*

That disparity adds up to a significant amount over a lifetime and is only projected to continue growing. Plus, it’s becoming harder and harder to find success in the workforce with only a high school diploma. This is seen in the increased wages for college graduates and decreased wages for high school graduates, as reported by US News.

Overall, an individual with an associate degree earns an estimated $777 per workweek, according to the BLS. Compare that to a high school graduate’s $651 per workweek.

The hourly wage for surgical techs ranges from $14.64 to $29.47, which adds up to weekly earnings of about $586 to $1,179, according to the BLS. As a general rule of thumb, acquiring more education and experience will help you move towards the top of that range.

4. Everyday is different

If you tend to become bored easily, becoming a surgical tech may be a smart move for you. In this profession you are never tied down to a desk. In fact, most of your day is spent on your feet. You’ll also get to work with and interact with many people on a daily basis.

When assisting with surgical procedures, you’ll work with a variety of surgeons and nurses in a team setting. Additionally, you may get to interact with various patients while preparing them for procedures.

“I’m seeing new things every day, so this isn’t a field where it’s easy to get bored. That’s what I love about it,” Gumko.

Your professional development as a surgical tech won’t end when you graduate. Gumko explains that you’ll continuously learn about new medical tools and techniques in the operating room, which keeps you energized and excited about your career.

Now you know...

Becoming a surgical tech is worth it if you’re ready to finally leave behind your job to pursue a career you love. With building demand, excellent hands-on training and exciting earning potential, becoming a surgical tech opens a lot of possibilities for your future.

Still interested in becoming a surgical tech? Discover the skills required for the position, the everyday tasks and duties and see exactly what goes on in the operating room in by learning about a day in the life of a surgical technologist.


*Salary ranges represent national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and include workers at all levels of education and experience. Ranges do not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary. 


External links provided on Rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Kristina is a Content Marketing Specialist at Collegis Education who researches and writes content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She hopes her content helps enlighten and engage students through all stages of their education journeys.

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