Surgical Technologist Careers


Surgical technologists, also known as operating room technicians, assist in surgical procedures. They are responsible for aiding both doctors and nurses, and are considered part of the team conducting the surgery. Since surgery is a very sensitive and critical act,technologists have to make sure that they perform all the tasks assigned to them thoroughly, accurately, and with responsibility. They have to possess a level of compassion, sensitivity, and care to do their jobs well, as they are responsible in large part for the wellbeing of very ill and critically injured patients.

Job Duties

Prior to an operation, surgical technologists have to make sure that all the equipment required is prepared and in proper working condition. They take on the responsibility to ensure certain tools necessary for the operation have been sterilized in order to prevent any form of infection in the patient. In addition to making sure the environment is safe for all, they also have to prepare patients for whatever procedure they are to undergo. They have to place the patient in the correct position, cover the patient with sterile drapes, and sterilize the region where the operation will be done.

Surgical technologists are also responsible for making sure that all members of the surgical team have all the tools needed to perform a surgery safely, such as sterilized gloves and gowns. During the actual procedure, technologists pass on instruments to surgeons and others assisting them. They also take on the task of preparing, transporting, and disposing of any specimens taken for assessment. After the procedure is complete, they transfer patients into recovery areas and then restock and clean the operation theater so it’s ready for the next team.

Job Outlook

Surgical technologists can be found throughout the healthcare industry, primarily in hospital settings. Other frequent jobsites include dentist offices, outpatient surgery centers, outpatient care centers, transplant centers, and ambulatory surgical centers.

Salary Outlook

In 2012, the average annual salary for a surgical technologist in the United States was $58,000 (

Educational Requirements

In order to join this profession, students must complete their general education diploma as well as a certificate, after which they must obtain a degree in surgical technology. Generally speaking, the certification process will take one year, while the associate’s degree afterward will take an additional two years to complete. Typical coursework includes pharmacology, surgical procedures, anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. In addition to specific medical classes, students must also complete basic science courses; what kind of science courses and how many are to be completed vary from school to school.

Besides completing coursework, students will also observe certified surgical technicians to make sure they gain real world awareness and other clinical experience necessary to perform the tasks required of them as professionals. As a student progresses in this program, they will also begin to use medical equipment in emergency and trauma rooms and similar environments.

If a student wishes, he or she may specialize in a particular sub-field like dental, orthopedic,or vascular surgery.

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