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What Does a Surgical Technologist Do?

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A surgical technologist supports the surgical team in the operating room, including the surgeon, anesthesiologist, registered nurse, and others.

Surgical technologists set up the operating room before the procedure begins.

They are also known as scrub techs, surgical or operating room technicians, or scrub nurses.

They also set up medical equipment, help surgeons during operations, and prepare patients for surgery.

Sometimes, the role of a surgical assistant is mistaken for that of a surgical technician.

Another part of the operating room team is a surgical assistant.

A surgical assistant helps a surgeon directly during an operation, whereas a surgical technologist’s duties are typically limited to setting up operating rooms and equipment and providing instruments to surgeons.

A surgical assistant may aid with suturing, controlling bleeding, and using suctioning tools.

After receiving additional on-the-job training, some surgical technicians change their careers to become surgical assistants.

There are formal training programs you can finish to become a surgical assistant.

SEE ALSO: How to Become a Veterinary Technologist

What Does a Surgical Technologist Do?

The responsibilities of a surgical technologist include:

  • Setting up operating rooms.
  • Getting patients ready for surgery.
  • Helping during and after the procedure.

Before An Operation

Your surgical technologist prepares the operating room before your procedure.

They set up the instruments and check that everything is operating as it should.

Additionally, surgical technologists gather and make any sterile preparations or medicines the group might require.

During An Operation

For the surgeon and first assistants, the surgical technologist serves as an extra pair of hands.

First, they distribute sterile tools and materials.

Then, depending on the surgery, they might set up robotic surgical instruments, keep organs in place, or hold retractors.

After An Operation

The surgical technologist’s job may be over with your procedure, but it is not.

They might apply bandages and dressings to your wound to treat it.

They may be responsible for replenishing an operating room or escorting patients to recovery.

Surgical Technologist Salary

The compensation of a surgical technologist varies depending on the specialty, level of experience, qualifications, education, and other considerations.

The average annual wage for surgical technicians in 2020 was $51,510 ($24.77 per hour), with the top 10% earning more than $73,100, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

SEE ALSO: High paying medical careers with little schooling…

What Conditions Does a Surgical Technologist Treat?

A surgical technologist doesn’t diagnose or treat any illnesses. Instead, they assist the surgeon and first assistants while working on hospital surgical care teams.


A surgical technology associate’s degree, diploma, or certificate is required.

This training, which can last anywhere from a few months to two years, is provided by some vocational schools, colleges, and hospitals.

Programs include both clinical training and classroom instruction.

The associate degree is the optimum entry level into the industry, according to the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), a well-known professional association.

Training & Certification

By first finishing an educational program and then successfully passing an exam, you can earn certification as a surgical technologist.

Both the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) and the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) offer certification.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs-accredited surgical technology program completion is a requirement of the NBSTA (CAAHEP).

On the CAAHEP website, you can look for an accredited surgical technology program (CAAHEP Accredited Program Search).

In addition, a program that the NCCT has approved must be finished.

Few states have regulations governing this profession, although the Association of Surgical Technologists has pushed for surgical technologists to be licensed.

Work Environment

Most positions were in medical facilities, but some were in outpatient surgery centers. The operation room may be uncomfortable for many people.

There, you could come into contact with contagious diseases and offensive sights and odors.

Work Schedule

The work is physically demanding. Be prepared to be on your feet for a long time. Moving patients and equipment is necessary.

You might have nighttime, weekend, and holiday work hours. Frequently, shifts are longer than eight hours.

Job Outlook

The BLS predicts that compared to other occupations, employment for surgical technologists will increase by 12% during the next ten years.

The expansion is being fueled by both aging baby boomers who need surgery and technological advancements that are boosting the number of surgeries performed.

As a result, the average annual growth rate for all vocations between 2016 and 2026 is 7%.

Surgical Technologist Skills & Competencies

To excel in this career, you will also need the following soft skills in addition to the complex abilities you will learn from formal education:

1. Coordination

You must be able to work well with the other team members.

2. Attention to Detail

You must be able to pay attention to even the tiniest details and be focused on your work, frequently for long periods.

3. Active Listening

Thanks to this aptitude, you can comprehend directions from doctors and other operating room staff members.

4. Problem Solving

You must be able to recognize problems and find solutions.

5. Critical Thinking

When trying to solve an issue or make a decision, you must be able to weigh your options and select the best one.

SEE ALSO: How to Make a Temp-To-Hire Job Permanent

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