The beginning of the holiday season means a new year is right around the corner. If a new healthcare career is one of your goals for 2023, consider becoming a surgical technologist.
Why Become a Surgical Technologist
A surgical technologist position is a good healthcare career choice if you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment with a multidisciplinary team. Surgical techs may help get operating rooms ready for procedures, transport patients, and ensure the surgeon receives the necessary tools during procedures.
Working as a surgical technologist is also a great career to consider in terms of job growth and opportunity. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates approximately 6% growth yearly and about 9,600 open positions annually through 2031. While no job is guaranteed, it is safe to assume people will continue to need hospitals and surgical procedures, ensuring this job will likely always be in demand.
How to Become a Surgical Technologist
An associate’s degree is necessary to become a surgical technologist. Per the Association of Surgical Technologists, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) provides accreditation for surgical technologist programs. In addition, CAAHEP has a search tool to help future surgical technologists find a program nearby.
The time to become a surgical tech may vary based on your educational background and program. However, on average, programs take up to two years to complete. Once you’ve completed a program through a CAAHEP-accredited school, you can choose to sit for board certification as a surgical technologist.
Keep in mind the requirements for licensure may vary by state and institution. Therefore, it is best to check the requirements in the state you are seeking employment. Additionally, while the state may not require it, some healthcare facilities prefer surgical techs holding the certification.
Job Opportunities as a Surgical Technologist
Per the BLS, the majority of surgical technologists work in hospitals. However, nearly a quarter of surgical techs work in outpatient settings such as physician offices and outpatient care centers. One unique setting where surgical techs are needed that may not come to mind are in dental offices for procedures.
Once you have trained as a surgical technologist and have some experience—usually about a year—consider a contract staffing role. For example, 365 Healthcare Staffing Services is a nationwide healthcare staffing firm that works with surgical techs.