How to Become a Surgical Tech in Pennsylvania

If you enjoy helping others and want to work in the healthcare field, then a career as a surgical tech may be suited for you.

These workers play an important role in patient care, as they assist doctors during surgery, prep patients, and help maintain a sterile environment during surgeries.

Education and Training

The first step to becoming a surgical technologist is getting the proper training and education. Those interested will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and enroll in an accredited program within the state.

    FORTIS College
    Trains student for entry level positions as members of an operating room team.

    • Erie, Forty Fort, Scranton


    McCann School of Business & Technology
    18 month Associate of Specialized Technology in Surgical Technology.

    • Allentown, Lewisburg


    South College
    AS program that teaches surgical patient care, decontamination, and sterile processing, preparing and supporting surgeries, pharmaceutical drug usage and its effects, as well as instrumentation and supply management.

    • Pittsburgh


How Much Does It Cost?

It’s possible to attend a surgical tech program for under 10k, while getting an associate degree may cost over 35k.

How Long Does It Take?

Generally, surgical technologist programs take around 1 to 2 years to finish.

What Do You Study?

Some classes and topics that surgical tech students will likely take during their coursework are:

  • Anatomy
  • Microbiology
  • Physiology
  • Patient Care
  • Medical Ethics
  • Surgical Room Methods
  • Medical Terminology
  • Aseptic Methods

Pennsylvania Surgical Tech Requirements

There are currently no state-mandated laws mandating the requirements necessary to become a surgical tech in Pennsylvania.

However, most employers will require you to have completed an accredited surgical technologist program and pass the CST exam.

Attending a Surgical Tech Program

If you’re looking to start a career as a surgical technologist, enrolling in an accredited program is the first step you’ll need to take.

Whether you attend a surgical tech program in a Pennsylvania trade school, community college, or vocational school, you’ll be able to gain the knowledge and training needed to thrive.

Earning a Certification

Earning a certification is mandatory for getting most surgical tech jobs. Once an individual has completed the necessary education and training, they will have to take the national CST exam to earn their certification.

The exam will require a $290 fee and you will need to provide proof that you’ve finished a surgical technology program.

Maintaining Certification

You will need to maintain your status as a certified surgical technologist. This will require you to recertify every four years, which involves retaking the CST exam or providing proof that you have completed at least 60 credit hours of surgical technology coursework between CST exams.

Surgical Tech Salaries in PA

Below are some average salaries and hourly wages for areas of the state.

State Hourly Annual
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton $28.71 $59,710.00
Altoona $21.27 $44,240.00
Bloomsburg-Berwick $26.10 $54,280.00
Erie $25.65 $53,340.00
Harrisburg-Carlisle $29.19 $60,700.00
Lancaster $28.29 $58,850.00
Northern PA $26.71 $55,560.00
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington $30.00 $62,390.00
Pittsburgh $26.59 $55,310.00
Reading $29.55 $61,470.00
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton $25.25 $52,520.00
Southern PA $25.60 $53,250.00
Western PA $25.20 $52,410.00
Williamsport $30.90 $64,280.00
York-Hanover $28.98 $60,290.00

Occupation: Surgical Technologists(SOC Code292055)
source: data.bls.gov

Job Description

What Do They Do?

Surgical techs work with doctors and assist during operations. Before operations, these workers set up surgical instruments and equipment in the operating room.

They also typically bring patients to the operating room and prepare them for surgery by getting them on the table and covering them with sterile wipes and washing the incision sites.

Main Job Duties

Some job responsibilities of a typical surgical tech are:

  • Preparing the operating room for surgery
  • Sterilizing equipment and ensuring adequate supplies are present
  • Ready the patients for surgery
  • Assist surgeons during surgery, such as passing them instruments
  • Count supplies to ensure no foreign objects are left in a patient
  • Take a patient to recovery room
  • Restock the operating room
  • Maintain a safe, sterile work environment

Additional Tasks

During operations, surgical techs assist doctors by passing instruments and supplies to the surgeons and first assistants. Techs may have to hold internal organs in place or set up robotic surgical equipment.

These workers can also handle specimens that will be taken for analysis in a lab.

Once the operation is finished, a surgical tech may apply bandages or other dressings to the site

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgical tech jobs should increase by about six percent over the next decade, totaling about 9,600 jobs per year, which is about the average for all occupations.

PA residents can expect a growth in new surgical tech jobs in Pennsylvania as well.

The increase in surgical tech jobs both nationwide and in-state will happen for a variety of reasons. Experts predict that many openings will result from workers retiring or leaving the field for other professions. Also, with the baby boomer generation aging, there is an expected need for more workers in the healthcare and medical fields.