When you have surgery, the surgeon doesn’t just walk in and start performing the procedure.
Instead, surgical technicians prepare the room, equipment, and tools for the process, which involves sanitization, organization, and management.
Surgical technicians are essential to the surgical process, saving lives and helping patients.
Although surgical technicians are not doctors or nurses, they are integral to all medical teams to ensure comfort, safety, and health before, during, and after the surgery.
If you’re interested in becoming a surgical technician, it’s crucial to understand the pros and cons of this career choice.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of becoming a surgical tech!
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Pros of Being a Surgical Tech
- 2 Cons of Being a Surgical Tech
- 3 Pros and Cons of Being a Surgical Tech – Summary Table
- 4 Should You Become a Surgical Tech?
Pros of Being a Surgical Tech
Being a surgical technician can be an enriching career with many benefits, including the following:
1. Can Work Anywhere
Another major benefit of becoming a surgical technician is the ability to work anywhere from small towns to major cities since all surgical facilities need technicians.
These professionals also can work abroad with only some minor training in other countries.
This gives surgical technician professionals the flexibility required to meet their personal needs and maximize their standard of living.
2. Career Advancement Opportunities
Most companies hire surgical technicians and promote them to surgical assistants after a few years of experience.
This role provides more detailed support and prepares patients for surgery, not just the equipment.
These medical professionals dress minor wounds, maintain proper blood flow throughout the procedure, and choose the right equipment for the surgery.
Employers provide surgical technicians with the education and resources required to advance within their careers, which increases responsibility and compensation.
3. Education Requirements
One of the greatest benefits of becoming a surgical technician is the minimum educational requirement is a certification program in the field.
Depending on employer and state requirements, some positions only require a few months of training, so you will enter the field and earn an income faster.
Most surgical ` only study for one-to-two years before starting their career.
During the training program, students participate in class lectures and firsthand clinical training, which teaches procedures, room sterilization, and medical terminology.
Given the low education requirements, becoming a surgical tech is an excellent entry-level position in the medical field.
4. Job Satisfaction
Surgical technicians assist medical professionals in life-saving and routine surgeries, which can be life-changing events.
Since surgical techs are responsible for essential pre- and post-surgery duties, like safeguarding proper surgery preparation and sterilizing surgical environments and tools, doctors and other support staff can conduct procedures effectively and safely.
Assisting medical professionals can ensure patients have a comfortable and safe experience, which results in a gratifying career.
5. Job Security
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the surgical technician field has a future job growth of nine percent up to 2030, which is higher than the national average growth rate for all careers.
A major contributing factor is that surgical technician positions are available in various medical facilities like dental offices, physician offices, and hospitals.
This location range, coupled with high demand, helps ensure you maintain job security and can work in a preferred environment.
6. Many Available Certifications
As part of the career advancement opportunities, surgical techs have many ways to become certified, which helps careers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics published there are approximately 500 CAAHEP-accredited programs in surgical technology in the U.S.
This provides plenty of options for these professionals to gain knowledge, continue their education, and achieve career goals.
As noted later in this article, certifications can also be a downside for those who don’t test well or academia is not their strong suit.
7. Quick Workforce Entry
Another considerable benefit is fast entry into the workforce since the educational requirement is lower than other medical professions.
This means surgical technicians can start earning a salary after a few months to a year and start advancing within the organization.
This is now true more than ever, with online training.
Also, these professionals can take educational and certification classes while working with the medical group paying the tuition.
This results in fewer student loan monthly payments.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual compensation for a surgical technician is $74,500.
This role includes 401k matching programs, paid time off, and exceptional healthcare coverage.
The earned salary and benefits are based on numerous factors, including education, experience, location, employer, and environment.
However, the role can be incredibly lucrative, especially compared to the required education.
9. Team Environment
Being a significant contributor to a surgical team of specialized and dedicated healthcare experts is also a reward.
This creates great pride in knowing that you are an indispensable part of the surgical team.
Since the daily duties require collaboration with anesthesiologists, nurses, surgeons, and other medical support staff, strong teamwork and communication are required for the operating room.
Cons of Being a Surgical Tech
With every profession, there are several drawbacks that you must consider, such as:
1. Certification Process
Depending on your location and employer, certifications must be necessary to work as a surgical tech.
Most employers require candidates to earn specific certifications and maintain them to be updated on their skills.
Professionals often study concepts, procedures, and complicated medical terminology throughout the certification process.
Many also have a clinical training aspect to the certification.
While most surgical technician training programs have certification test preparation exams, you still must pass them to be able to practice.
Surgical techs spend most of their day in a firsthand environment, collaborating with patients, doctors, and surgeons in operating rooms.
Surgeries often last for many hours, so a typical day could include 12-hour shifts several times per week.
Given the responsibilities, surgical techs must stand still in the operating room, lift heavy equipment, transport patients between rooms, and thoroughly sterilize surfaces.
That means you must maintain a physically active lifestyle to keep up, so the work conditions may not be ideal for everyone.
Since surgical technicians are often working in operating rooms, they are exposed to hazardous substances like bodily fluids and blood while working alongside needles and sharp blades.
To ensure safety and health when working in this environment, using protective gear and practicing routine sterilization is a requirement.
Surgical technicians also undergo extensive training on protecting themselves and best handling equipment within the work environment.
Unfortunately, accidents occur, and medical professionals can be exposed to disease and bacteria daily.
4. High Attention to Detail
Surgical technicians cannot simply skate through their job requirements since lives are on the line.
That means daily activities are meticulous and thorough, ensuring operating equipment, tools, and the patient are properly prepared for the upcoming procedure.
In numerous occupations, there’s downtime that can be used to decompress, even when at work.
This is not one of those jobs, as surgical techs must be attentive to even the smallest details from the minute they walk in the door.
This can be incredibly mentally exhausting.
5. High Stress
In addition to the working conditions and environmental challenges, being a surgical technician is a high-stress job.
The decisions you make and the process you follow regarding daily requirements can determine if a patient lives or dies, which is a massive mental burden.
On the other hand, you always have an opportunity to help others in a crucial time of need, so the high stress also comes with the rewarding side.
Given the nature of medical procedures or emergencies, surgeries can occur anytime.
Hospitals and medical centers must keep surgical techs on-call or require shifts inconsistent with a traditional workday.
Some locations expect these professionals to work on holidays, weekends, and nights.
Those who don’t want to work untraditional hours with a sometimes-random schedule may not be suited for this field.
7. Risk Management
Although there’s a tremendous amount of job satisfaction from assisting with saving patients’ lives, there’s the knowledge that operations have a risk level.
To promote successful procedures and prevent complications, technicians must thoroughly sterilize equipment by following proper procedures.
However, if mistakes are made and procedures are not correctly followed, patients could die of bacterial infections and other complications.
Pros and Cons of Being a Surgical Tech – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Surgical Tech||Cons of Being a Surgical Tech|
|1. Can Work Anywhere||1. Certification Process|
|2. Career Advancement Opportunities||2. Conditions|
|3. Education Requirements||3. Environment|
|4. Job Satisfaction||4. High Attention to Detail|
|5. Job Security||5. High Stress|
|6. Many Available Certifications||6. Hours|
|7. Quick Workforce Entry||7. Risk Management|
|9. Team Environment|
Should You Become a Surgical Tech?
Becoming a surgical technician is a highly personal choice.
While some prefer a desk job in front of a computer that follows regular business hours, others need more excitement in an ever-changing, hands-on work environment.
When deciding if becoming a surgical technician is the right career choice for you, it’s essential to ask the following questions:
- Can you remain focused and calm under pressure?
- Can you work as part of a team and follow directions?
- Are you comfortable working in a demanding and challenging environment?
- Do you have an interest in helping others in the medical field?
Becoming a surgical technician may be a promising career fit if you answered yes to these questions.
It’s important to remember that this profession comes with various challenges, such as random hours, high stress, physical demands, and continuous learning, so adapting to this environment is the best way to be successful.
Weigh the pros and cons above, consider your passions and strengths, and take the leap if becoming a surgical tech resonates!