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Curious About a Career in Surgery? Consider These Options

Medical dramas can make working in the operating room, or OR, appear exciting. And sometimes it is! Other times, work in the OR involves routine surgeries and procedures.

Surgeons are often thought of first regarding careers in the OR. However, several other jobs in the OR exist. Here we break down a few of those careers.

Common careers in the OR that aren’t the surgeon include working as an operating room nurse, surgical tech, and sterile tech. While a day in the life in these careers likely won’t be the same as what you see on TV, they can all be rewarding careers.

Operating Room Nurse

Another nursing career in the OR is as an operating room nurse. An OR nurse helps provide care for patients before, during, and after surgeries. Another type of nurse, a post-anesthesia care unit or PACU nurse, provides care specifically to patients after surgery and during recovery.

You’ll need your nursing license to work as an OR nurse or PACU nurse. However, both associate’s degree prepared nurses, and bachelor’s degree prepared nurses can excel in these nursing roles.

The BLS notes that the average salary for nurses as a whole is about $77,600. This amount will vary based on several factors, including, but not limited to, specialization, your geographic location, and the position’s specifications. For example, a job in the OR may include time on call, which can increase your overall annual salary.

Surgical Tech

A surgical technologist program is often part of an associate’s degree program. This vital role in the OR performs various tasks, such as setting up the OR for surgery, prepping patients, passing tools and equipment during procedures, and transporting patients, among several other essential roles.

Per the BLS, the average salary for a surgical tech is $57,500 per year. Again, several factors go into this salary, and it may be more or less depending on the role’s location and other job requirements.

Sterile Tech

While it is a behind-the-scenes role, a sterile tech plays a vital role in surgical procedures. Sterile techs are responsible for cleaning and sterilizing the medical equipment used in surgeries and procedures.

Several community colleges have certification courses to become sterile technicians. This career path is attractive because it doesn’t require a full college degree. Many programs can be completed in one semester or as part of a degree program.

While the schooling to become a sterile tech is shorter than a registered nurse or sterile tech, several states do require that sterile processing techs be certified. These states, per the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association, include:

  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee

The average salary of a sterile processing tech, per, is $35,237. However, this pay will vary based on location. For example, in California, the average salary is in the low to mid $40K range.

Take Your OR Career to the Next Level

If you currently work in the OR and are looking for your next career move, consider a position in contract staffing. These positions often come with higher pay and allow you to experience procedures and experiences outside of your current work environment.

365 Healthcare Staffing Services is a leader in healthcare contract staffing. They are experienced in working with OR staff and would love to help you find your next amazing role providing care in the OR. Check out their open positions today!