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Surgical Technologist Salary Factsheet
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Interested in a Surgical Tech Career?
Is surgical tech a good career for you? Find out what opportunities a surgical tech career can offer you in this surgical technologist career profile. Surgical technology is a sub-domain of medicine, according to a position statement published by the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) in the latest AST Recommended Standards of Practice. According to the position statement, these allied medical professionals “provide high-quality cost-effective health care in the OR”, making surgical technology a high-demand job.
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But demand alone doesn’t necessarily make a job interesting. Here are some of the factors that most people look into when considering which career path to take:
Cost of Education
When it comes to college education, one of the biggest concerns for most students is debt. College education is pricey; if you factor in your lodging, books, school supplies, and daily expenses, the total amount swells to an amount that most people can only afford via debt.
The good thing about Surgical Technology is that it offers you employment in the allied medical field without having to spend as much time and money as medical degree-holders do. Surgical technology education is offered as a bachelor degree in some universities and colleges, although it can be earned through short courses (9 to 15 months) that lead to diplomas or certificates; or through associate degree programs (24 months). A certificate, coupled with a certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), can already land you a good-paying job at a local hospital.
According to the latest report by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – Occupational Employment and Wages (May 2010), the mean annual wage for Certified Surgical Technologists (CSTs) is at $41,310 while the mean hourly wage is at $19.86. Depending on the employer, the mean annual wage can still soar to anywhere between $47,000 and $55,000. The best-paying industries that CSTs can work for include offices of other health practitioners (i.e., private practice); Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools (for surgical tech training); specialty hospitals (excluding substance abuse and psychiatric hospitals); employment services, and other ambulatory healthcare service providers.
The BLS periodically conducts industry projections, and surgical technology has been determined to have a growth rate of 21 to 30 percent – a rate higher than the average growth of other industries. This means that the profession is still has a lot to offer by way of opportunity and advancement.
However, in order to advance in this career, surgical techs need to get their certification. CSTs renew their certification every four years by taking up continuing education units from accredited schools and CST training sites.
Demand and Job Security
Demand and job security for the surgical technician career is difficult to quantify; as the global financial crisis showed, many jobs seemed secure for decades until the crisis led to massive layoffs. But, as explained by the AST, the demand for CSTs will continue to grow as surgical procedures increase. That, at least, points to a clear need for CSTs in hospitals everywhere.
Most important of all, a career in the allied medical field opens many opportunities for CSTs to help save lives in the operating room. This alone can give the kind of fulfillment that, for the longest time, only surgeons experience. While becoming a CST has its challenges, we hope that the salary and the overall career atmosphere of surgical technology were able to convince you to take this career path and push it further.
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