How To Become a Surgical Tech

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: November 15, 2021  •  8 min read  •  Health
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A very important part of the surgical team, as a surgical tech, you’ll work in the medical industry. you will have a very rewarding career helping others by assisting surgeons. Your job will be to help keep the operating room sterile and organized. You will also have plenty of other job duties.

As a surgical tech, you will have many responsibilities. The right training and education will be necessary for this position. Let’s look at the job duties and how to become a surgical tech.

How To Become a Surgical Tech

Job Duties of a Surgical Tech

When you become a surgical tech, you will have certain responsibilities. Some of your job duties will include:

There may be a few other job duties, depending on where you work.

How To Become a Surgical Tech in5 Steps

Step #1 – Get your High School Diploma

If you want to become a surgical tech, you will need to get your high school diploma or GED. A high school education is the minimum requirement to enter into a certification program. If you want to become a surgical tech, doing well in high school science courses can help prepare you.

Step #2 – Get Your Certification/Degree

You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to become a surgical tech. You can become a surgical tech with an associate’s degree or a certification program. An associate’s degree will take about two years to complete. A certification program will take one or two years, depending on the program.

The program you choose needs to be accredited. It’s best to check community colleges, trade schools, and tech schools for programs. Some programs may be as short as nine months, while others will take up to two years to complete.

Training to become a surgical tech will require classroom and clinical options. You will study anatomy, pharmacology, biology, and medical ethics. You will also have to learn about operating procedures, sterilization technicians, and how to maintain surgical tools.

Step #3 – Complete Your Certification

Even with an associate’s degree or certification program, you will still need to get your certificate. This will likely be the CST or the TS-C. The CST is the Certified Surgical Technologist certificate. The TS-C is the Tech in Surgery Certification.

Both of these certifications will require passing an exam. You will be tested on both practical and theoretical knowledge. You may also have your competency evaluated as a medical professional. You will have to have graduated from a surgical tech program or be enrolled to take the exam.

Step #4 – Renew Your Certification

As a surgical tech, you will need to renew your certification every two or four years, depending on your state. This will require continued education before you renew. You can also retake the exam instead of going through continuing education hours.

Step #5 – Specialize

You don’t have to specialize to become a surgical tech, but you can. You can get a certification to work in a specific area. CPR certification and the Basic Life Support certification are rather common for surgical techs. You can also specialize in a specific area as a surgical tech.

Common Skills Needed to Become a Surgical Tech

If you want to become a surgical tech, you will need to develop specific skills including:

Many other skills will likely be necessary and you will learn them through your training. With the right skills, you can become successful as a surgical tech.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Surgical Tech

How much can I make as a surgical tech?

When you become a surgical tech, you will likely get paid by the hour. The average hourly pay for a surgical tech is about $29.49 according to

Some of the top employers may pay closer to $35 per hour. You can also earn more with more experience. Certain locations may pay above the average salary, but most locations will pay close to the average hourly wage for surgical techs.

What type of benefits do surgical techs get?

As a surgical test, you will get access to health insurance with vision and dental insurance. You will also have access to a 401(k), sometimes with employer matching. It’s also common to get license reimbursement from your employer.

How long will it take me to become a surgical tech?

You will need to complete a surgical technician program after high school. This type of program will take one or two years to complete. You can also choose to get an associate’s degree, which will take two years. For most surgical techs, it only takes one or two years of training to enter this career.

What type of hours do surgical techs tend to work?

It’s common for surgical techs to work a varied schedule. Common shifts may last more than 8 hours, depending on the surgery and facility you work for. Some surgical techs may work a total of 40 hours per week. It’s also possible to work overtime as a surgical tech.

Do all states require surgical techs to be certified?

No. Most states don’t require a certification, but many employers will require it or prefer it. There are some states requiring certification, which include:

In these states, you will need to be certified to work as a surgical tech.

Where do surgical technicians usually work?

Surgical techs often work in hospitals. They may also work in outpatient centers or surgery centers. It’s even possible for a surgical tech to work in a dental office.

Most commonly, as a surgical tech, you will be employed by a hospital. Many surgeries happen at a hospital. However, some surgery centers and outpatient centers also offer opportunities for surgical techs. These types of employers are growing in the healthcare industry.

Is this a growing career opportunity?

Yes. The career of surgical techs is growing. It’s expected to grow by about 9% over the next ten years.

What do surgical techs wear at work?

as a surgical tech, you will wear scrubs. You will also wear gloves, masks, caps, and sterile gowns when you do your work in the operating room.

Can I complete a surgical tech program online?

You cannot complete an entire surgical tech program online. However, you can complete the coursework online. The hands-on clinical training you will need will require you to train in person, however.

Is it possible to become a surgical tech without any experience?

Yes. With the right education or in a state where certification is not required, you may be able to become a surgical tech without any experience. Usually, employers want you to complete a certificate program, but some will provide on-the-job training.

Can I work part-time as a surgical tech?

It’s not common for surgical techs to work part-time. Most will work full-time, but some part-time opportunities may be available. Part-time opportunities may require working nights and weekends when full-time surgical techs are not able to work.

When you want to enter into a new career, becoming a surgical tech might be the right option. This medical career doesn’t require as much education as others. You can earn a very nice hourly pay as a surgical tech. With just one to two years of schooling, you can easily enter this career.

After learning how to become a surgical tech, you will be able to enjoy your new career. This can be a very rewarding career, as you will be helping people when they need it the most.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.