What Is A Surgical Technologist?
A surgical technologist (AKA surgical technician, operating room tech, scrub tech, or scrub)works in the healthcare field as part of a surgical care team. As with all technologists, a surgical/OR tech must be well versed in a many areas, both in technology and in sterile and aseptic techniques. As a profession, there are few mandated professional requirements for the role of surgical technologist, as the scope of this position is not consistent across the globe, much less your country.
Surgical Technologist Salary
The average salary for a surgical technologist in the United States is $44,430 (per the U.S. Department of Labor), with hourly ranges ranging from $15.10/hr to $30.48/hr. Surgical technologist salary varies from state to state, with the lowest salaries found in West Virginia ($32,310) and Alabama ($33,200), and the highest surgical technologist salaries in Nevada ($60,700), California ($59,380), District of Columbia ($54,700), and Hawaii ($54,440).
Thinking about becoming a scrub tech? Good news – the field shows a projected 10-year growth of 15%, a significantly higher rate than the average industry 10-year growth of 7%. Demand is high!
Surgical Technologist Duties
The primary requirement of the surgical technologist is to anticipate and act on the next move that the leader of the surgical team (surgeon) intends to make, with the goal being an efficient, successful, and smooth surgical procedure. This is possible through the knowledge of hundreds of different procedure types, knowing the individual steps required to complete each procedure, and being intimately familiar with the vast range of surgical instruments used in the various surgical procedure types that the situation may require. Note again that we technologists must possess a wide array of knowledge and skills not required by a highly specialized individual; while the primary role of a surgical tech is handing the surgeon the right tool when needed, it takes a lot of knowledge and experience to execute this job correctly.
Surgical Technologist Jobs
The majority of surgical technologists (60% in the US) find employment in hospitals. The bulk of surgical technologist jobs within hospitals are found in operating and delivery rooms (where surgery typically occurs). A surgical tech may also handle C-arm fluoroscopy for orthopedic or angioplasty labs, or other departments needing fluoro such as electrocardiology or cardiac catheterization labs. As a generalist, this field holds some delicious contradictions: experience in multiple specialities is highly sought after in surgical techs.
Scrub techs are also employed in outpatient surgery and outpatient care centers, specifically in the offices of dentists or physicians who perform surgery in those facilities. Ambulatory surgery centers also offer employment opportunities.