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Surgical Technology Major

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Surgical Technology

3,819 Associates's Degrees Annually
18 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
#12 in Popularity (Associate's)
$49,040 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Surgical Technology Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many surgical technology/technologist graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Associate’s Degree 3,893
Undergraduate Certificate 3,237
Basic Certificate 810
Bachelor’s Degree 18

What Surgical Technology Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, surgical technology/technologist majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Surgical Technology/Technologist Majors

Surgical Technology/Technologist majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Skills for Surgical Technology/Technologist Majors

surgical technology/technologist majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

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  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Abilities for Surgical Technology/Technologist Majors

A major in surgical technology/technologist will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

What Can You Do With a Surgical Technology Major?

People with a surgical technology/technologist degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Surgical Technologists 11.7% $47,300

Who Is Getting an Associate’s Degree in Surgical Technology?

3,893 Associate's Degrees Annually
85% Percent Women
40% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
The major attracts more women than men. About 85% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of surgical technology/technologist majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Surgical Technology/Technologist Students with Associate's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 122
Black or African American 511
Hispanic or Latino 773
White 2,172
International Students 11
Other Races/Ethnicities 304

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Surgical Technology/Technologist. About 0.3% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Surgical Technology Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Surgical Technology/Technologist majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $49,040 to $122,320 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Surgical Technology Major  ( 49040 to 122320 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with surgical technology/technologist require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to surgical technology/technologist have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 3.0%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 19.9%
Some College Courses 14.0%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 26.3%
Bachelor’s Degree 5.2%
Master’s Degree 14.9%
Doctoral Degree 10.3%
Post-Doctoral Training 7.9%

Online Surgical Technology Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 478 schools offered some type of surgical technology/technologist program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 55 4
Certificate (1-2 years) 264 4
Certificate (2-4 Years) 10 1
Associate’s Degree 316 16
Bachelor’s Degree 0 0
Post-Baccalaureate 55 4
Master’s Degree 0 0
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Surgical Technology Worth It?

The median salary for a surgical technology/technologist grad is $49,040 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 23% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $182,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to surgical technology/technologist.

Major Number of Grads
Emergency Medical Technology/Technician (EMT Paramedic) 28,841
Radiologic Technology 9,673
Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist 7,034
Diagnostic Medical Sonography/Sonographer and Ultrasound Technician 5,530
Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist 5,297
Athletic Training 4,064
Other Allied Health Diagnostic, Intervention, and Treatment Professions 1,908
Cardiovascular Technology/Technologist 1,429
Physician Assistant 811
Electrocardiograph Technology/Technician 773
Nuclear Medical Technology/Technologist 645
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technology/Technician 580
Electroneurodiagnostic/Electroencephalographic Technology/Technologist 337
Polysomnography 322
Mammography Technician/Technology 73
Radiation Protection/Health Physics Technician 53
Cardiopulmonary Technology/Technologist 43
Hearing Instrument Specialist 39
Gene/Genetic Therapy 17
Perfusion Technology/Perfusionist 10

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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