You want to become a surgical tech and have probably researched about the courses as well. But wait! DO NOT proceed until you understand the pros and cons of a career as a surgical tech.
A surgical tech assists the surgical team during surgical procedures. Their role starts from the pre-operative to post-operative stages.
But what separates them from other healthcare professionals is that you could become one without a degree, without investing thousands of dollars and years.
In this article, we’ll try to explain the advantages and disadvantages of the career so that you can accordingly decide and take a call.
Let’s start –
The Surgical Technologists assist the surgeon and the team during, before, and after the surgical procedures. They are also known as Surgical Techs, OR Techs, or CST (Certified Surgical Techs).
It is they who ensure the safe conduct of surgical procedures with their understanding of surgical techniques, instruments, and procedures, and with their excellent communication and teamwork skills.
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Here’s what a Surgical Tech typically does –
- They assist and collaborate with surgeons during procedures by handing them instruments and supplies.
- They prepare the operating room and ensure it’s sterile.
- They manage surgical instruments, equipment, and supplies before and after surgery.
- They arrange the needs of the surgical team.
- They adhere to strict safety and infection control protocols.
- They document details of surgeries for medical records.
- They provide support to patients and families before and after surgery.
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Pros and Cons of being a Surgical Technologist
Exploring a career as a surgical technologist offers unique opportunities. In this role, you become an essential part of the surgical team, ensuring that surgeries progress seamlessly and patients receive optimal care.
The advantages are numerous, and so are the disadvantages. But your decision should align with your interests, your ability to adapt to various situations, and your long-term career perspective.
Ultimately, if you are passionate about a healthcare career, becoming a Surgical Tech could be worth it since it offers crucial responsibility with personal fulfillment.
Now, let’s discuss the pros first –
The Pros of Being a Surgical Technologist
Let’s explore the advantages –
We all know that as a country we are getting older. Our average age is close to 40 years. This also means that there is an increased need for medical treatments and surgeries.
As it increases, so do the efforts of medical facilities to hire more staff. Thus assuring a high demand of the surgical techs as well.
Talkin about data –
The BLS has projected the employment growth rate for surgical assistants and technologists to grow by 5% in this decade.
But surprisingly, in 2022 alone, the CSTs held about 109,200 positions with the largest employer being the Hospitals.
This speaks volumes about the demand for these professionals.
Job Satisfaction and Job Security
As we discussed, as the population ages and the number of surgeries increases almost all the healthcare surgical professions including the Surgical Techs are on the rise.
This also translates to good job prospects and job security in the field. If you’re someone who finds fulfillment in making a direct impact on patients’ lives, this career can be deeply rewarding.
You can play a crucial role in assisting during surgeries, ensuring that procedures go smoothly, and contributing to positive patient outcomes.
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We know the inflation is shooting high. The average cost of living for Americans has risen upwards to $3000 per month, as per government figures.
So, you need to consider getting better pay. That’s only possible when you grasp a career that requires low investment and pays well too. This is what you get with a Surgical Tech career.
As per BLS salary data 2022, the annual average salary of Surgical Technologists is $55,960, with an hourly rate of around $27.
Moreover, among the Surgical Techs, the highest 10% are earning upwards of $78,560 per year, and higher. This surge is due to several factors like experience, expertise, education, and such.
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Quick Entry into the Workforce
The best thing about being a Surgical Tech is, unlike many careers you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars and years, to get a degree. You can enter the field of surgical technology relatively quickly, in just 1 to 2 years.
Some programs offer diplomas or certificates that can be completed in less than a year, while associate degree programs typically take about two years.
However, the online programs take almost 6 to 8 months to complete and are cost-effective as well. That’s why we recommend online programs for you.
Variety of Specialties
Another excellent advantage this career offers is that you could work in a variety of specialties, from orthopedics and cardiovascular surgery to neurosurgery and obstetrics.
This variety allows you to gain experience in different medical procedures and areas of expertise.
Specializations Full List –
- General Surgery
- Organ transplantation
- Pediatric surgery
- Plastic surgery
Being part of a robust surgical team of dedicated and specialized healthcare professionals is fun. Also, you’ll be proud of being a part of the indispensable surgical team.
Since your duties would be to collaborate closely with surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other support staff. You require strong teamwork and communication skills, to work more efficiently in the Operating Room.
It is not just a job; it’s a calling – healthcare professionals always maintain this statement. You may have also heard it from many.
It is so because, if you are not naturally inclined toward it, you will get frustrated or feel burnt out. if you are inclined, then you’ll have the satisfaction and sense of fulfillment by knowing that your work directly contributes to improving patients’ lives.
This gets them going, again and again.
The Cons of Being a Surgical Technologist
Being a Surgical Tech takes work. There are many disadvantages associated with it as well.
Let’s discuss them –
This is the same for almost all healthcare careers which can be very physically demanding. At times, you may be required to work in shifts lasting longer than 8 hours. You may also be required to work during nights, weekends, and holidays.
The task requires you to stand for extended periods during surgeries and may be required to lift and position patients. This physical aspect of the job can be challenging, and it’s essential to maintain good physical health.
Stressful Work Environment
Due to the fast-paced nature of the surgical environment, it can sometimes be highly demanding. You’ll need to work in stressful situations, especially during emergency surgeries or when unexpected complications arise. Maintaining composure and attention to detail is crucial.
Also, witnessing surgeries and dealing with medical emergencies can be emotionally taxing for some individuals. You may encounter challenging and emotionally charged situations in the OR, which can impact your emotional well-being.
Exposure to Infections
Given the nature of the operating room, surgical techs face a risk of exposure to infectious diseases. However, you can avoid these with strict adherence to infection control measures, by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
You should achieve and maintain the certification, such as the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential. It is not always necessary. But due to the competition, we advise you to go after it.
A certification boosts your career prospects. But it also requires you to undergo formal education pay some exam fees, and stay updated in the field. Also, you need recertification periodically.
A career as a surgical tech offers numerous advantages, including job security, job satisfaction, and a supportive team environment.
However, it’s essential to consider the physical demands, potential stress, and emotional toll of the job, as well as the requirements for certification and limited advancement opportunities.
Ultimately, your going after this profession will only depend on your personal interests, resilience, and career goals. So, choose wisely!
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