November 20, 2017

Pay above Average for Surgical Technologists

Job growth over the next 10 years is expected to hit 25 percent for surgical technologists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And that’s for a profession that was already in demand and being compensated at a rate far in excess of other sectors with comparable education requirements.

Scrubs, as surgical technologists are often referred, hold critical behind-the-scenes and active participation responsibilities while being components of an operating room team that typically includes surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses. They help prepare the operating room, assemble associated equipment and make sure everything is in working order. Surgical technologists may also prepare patients for surgery – including washing, shaving and disinfecting – and transfer them to the operating room and into position (and into recovery after the process is complete).

Surgical technologists may also actively participate in an operation by passing instruments and sterile supplies to the surgical team. In some cases, they may even hold utensils, cut stitches and ensure all sponges, needles, and instruments are properly accounted for during the process. Additional responsibilities may include helping applying dressings, operate sterilizers, lights and other machinery.

While the work load of a surgical technologist has the potential to include ample contact with blood, bodily fluids and other “messy” elements to surgical care, specialists avoid other activities that are typically less attractive – like changing a bed pan or assisting the treatment of a yeast infection.

According to the labor bureau, the number of surgical technologists is expected to grow from 91,500 practitioners in 2008 to nearly 115,000 by 2018 – a 25 percent increase. The bureau characterizes the profession as having “must faster than average” employment growth. This is due, in large part, to the same dynamic that is fueling tremendous growth in almost every aspect of the healthcare industry – the aging of Baby Boomers who are in need of ever-increasing levels of care and support.

Work potential is made even more attractive by the approximate average salary of $40,000 paid to surgical technologists who work in hospital and outpatient care centers, which are major employers. These positions also pay benefits and provide other perks of the job. Despite that, surgical technologists are certified through academic programs that typically last between nine and 24 months and that are offered through community colleges and vocational schools.

If all of that weren’t enough to demonstrate the career potential available in the surgical technologist field, there are also ample opportunities to grow into more advanced positions. Some surgical technologists decide to specialize in particular kinds of highly-technical, and delicate, surgery such as open-heart and that involving the brain. Other scrubs may move up through the ranks to become the surgeon’s first assistant or may go on to manage departments or work for third-party vendors like insurance companies and supply services.