Operating Room Assistant Career Guide


Operation theaters, like those that are often depicted in the movies, are characterized by the presence of a well-lit room, having huge space, and the necessary equipment that will be needed to carry out a surgery. Some of them include screens, monitors, and other controlled facilities. The general management of the operating theater is the responsibility of the surgeon. People who assist them are called operating room assistants. They provide the help that is being needed by anesthesiologists, nurses, and surgeons. If you would want to become an operating room specialist, you should keep in mind the different tasks that you are expected to complete, as well as the various qualification in being employed as such.

Job Duties

Operating room assistants are generally responsible for the provision of the assistance that is needed by the surgeons and doctors in their surgical work. They check the operating theater before any surgery and make sure that all of the instruments are complete. They are also responsible for sterilization. Therefore, their job is critical in making sure that all of the surgical instruments are thoroughly cleaned and that they will not transmit infection.

Prior to the surgery, people who are employed as operating room assistants clean the cut sites of the patients and the area of the surgery. During the surgery, they are responsible for giving the surgeons the instruments and supplies that they will need to complete the operation. If the patient is in the wrong position during the surgery, they will adjust them. After the surgery, the operating room assistants will help in the pull-out of the patient from the operating room, as well as in any after-care services that are needed prior to be being transferred to a different room.

Career Outlook

The most common settings for the employment in such job would include medical and surgical hospitals, offices of physicians, outpatient care centers, and offices of dentists, among others. Given the continuous influx of advancements in the field of medicine, especially those that are useful in the operating room, there is an increase in the employment opportunities in the said work. According to the figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, there are at least 94,490 people who are working in this field.


In 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released a forecast that the average annual salary of the people under this profession will be $42,460.

Education Requirements

A degree of associate’s in healthcare or post-secondary level is needed to become a professional in this area.The courses that will be taken under this level of study will involve an elaborate learning on the fields of biology, chemistry, health, mathematics, and anatomy, among others.

Aside from formal education, hands-on experience should also be obtained. There is a need of training in sterilization, safety and care of patients, and infection control. Certification will be required in order to gain expertise in this field. The certification that will be required can be obtained from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. Prior to pursuing formal education and certifications, you should consult first with the policies of your state, as such may vary depending on your location.

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