10 Pros and Cons of Being a Surgery Technician

Updated March 3, 2023

Surgery technicians serve an important role in the surgical process, which can result in a rewarding career helping patients and saving lives. When deciding whether a career as a surgery technician is right for you, it's important to review both the pros and cons of the role. Examining these aspects of the job can help you make an informed decision before beginning your education and entering the field. In this article, we list the pros and cons of being a surgery technician.

5 pros of being a surgery technician

Here are five pros of being a surgery technician:

1. Job security

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgical technology has a projected job growth of about 9% from the year 2020 to 2030, which is higher than the average growth rate. Surgical technician roles are available in a large range of medical facilities, including hospitals, physician offices and dental offices. The wide range of facilities and high demand for these positions may help you get a job as a surgery technician in your preferred work environment.

2. Education requirements

Interested candidates have the option to complete either an associate degree program or a shorter certification program in surgical technology. Depending on state and employer requirements, some positions require only a few months to two years of postsecondary training and education. Some states and employers don't require aspiring surgical technicians to earn specific certifications. Surgical technicians typically study one to two years before entering their field.

During their education, prospective surgical technicians may participate in class lectures and supervised clinical training to prepare for the duties of the role. They often practice techniques for room sterilization, memorize medical terminology and learn about procedures that occur regularly in operating rooms. Some degrees and certificates may require a minimum number of clinical training hours. If you're interested in beginning a medical career quickly, becoming a surgical technician may be right for you.

Related: Useful Tips on How To Become a Surgical Tech

3. Salary

The average annual salary for a surgical technician is $74,522 per year. Surgical technician roles also often offer employee benefits such as healthcare, paid time off and 401(k) matching programs. The salary you earn and benefits you receive as a surgical technician may vary based on your employer, location, experience and education.

4. Career advancement opportunities

Companies often hire a candidate as a surgical technician, then train them and promote them to a surgical assistant role. These surgical assistants provide more in-depth support for surgeons and prepare patients for surgery. Surgical assistants are also responsible for dressing minor wounds, selecting the correct surgical equipment and maintaining proper blood flow. Many employers provide their surgery technicians with the resources and education needed to advance to a surgical assistant role. Advancing to the role of surgical assistant often results in an increase in responsibility and salary.

Related: Surgical Technologist vs. Surgical Assistant: What's the Difference?

5. Job satisfaction

Surgical technicians help care for patients throughout both routine and life-saving surgeries. They're responsible for the important duties of sterilizing surgical tools and environments and ensuring accurate surgery preparation, which can help doctors perform procedures safely and effectively. Supporting the doctors can help patients have a safe and comfortable health care experience, which can make a position as a surgery technician a rewarding role.

5 cons of being a surgery technician

Here are five cons of a career as a surgery technician for you to consider:

1. Work environment

Surgery technicians typically work in operating rooms, supporting surgeons and nurses in preparing for and performing surgeries. This can involve working with hazardous substances like blood or bodily fluids and sharp tools like blades and needles. To ensure your health and safety while working in a surgical environment, you can practice routine sterilization and use the required protective gear, such as gloves, masks and scrubs. Surgical technicians also typically undergo extensive training on how to best handle and protect themselves in their work environments and ensure safety for all involved.

2. Work conditions

Surgical technicians spend most of their days completing hands-on duties with surgeons, doctors and patients. Surgeries can last for long periods, so the typical surgical technician works 12-hour shifts multiple times per week. Their duties often require the technician to stand still in the operating room, sterilize surfaces thoroughly, transport patients between rooms and lift heavy surgical equipment. Those looking for a fast-paced and physically active position may be well-suited to a career as a surgical technician.

3. Working hours

Due to the nature of medical emergencies or procedures, surgeries may occur at any time. Many medical centers and hospitals may keep surgical technicians as on-call employees or may require shifts that vary from the traditional workday. Some medical facilities expect surgery technicians to work on nights, weekends and holidays. People who prefer having a flexible schedule and untraditional hours may be well-suited to a position as a surgical technician.

Related: On-Call Employees: Definition and Examples

4. Certification process

Depending on your state and employer, it may be necessary to earn certifications to be eligible for a position as a surgery technician. Employers may require candidates to earn certifications throughout their careers to ensure their skills are up to date. During the certification process, you might study complex medical terminology, procedures and concepts. Some certifications also require candidates to take part in clinical training. Most associate degree and training programs offer test preparation sessions for students interested in taking certification exams.

Read more: How To Get a Surgical Technician Certification

5. Risk management

While surgery technicians often feel job satisfaction from helping to save patients' lives, there's also the knowledge that operations come with a level of risk. To prevent complications and promote successful procedures, technicians take extra care to sterilize equipment thoroughly. They also carefully follow directions from surgeons and nurses. Additionally, they may attend regular training sessions and classes to ensure that they implement the correct skills and procedures while in the operating rooms and during the preparation processes.


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