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What Does a Surgical Technologist Do?

If you aren’t squeamish and the idea of being in an operating room interests you, consider becoming a surgical technologist. Also called surgical assistants, operating room technicians or "scrub techs," they are critical members of a surgical team that includes a doctor, anesthesiologist and circulating nurse. Surgical technologists prepare the operating room before the surgery takes place. They also arrange medical equipment and assist doctors during surgical procedures. This includes routine operations as well as emergency procedures.

Surgical technologists work primarily in hospitals and outpatient care centers.

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$ 31,000 - $ 71,000
$ 48,000
9,790+
A surgical tech assists a doctor with a patient by an operating table
As baby boomers get older, their needs for surgical procedures will grow. The job outlook for surgical technologists is expected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029. (Credit: UfaBizPhoto/Shutterstock)
Meet Ambassador
Shana Frazee
Image
'My favorite part about my job is knowing that you are making a difference in someone’s life,' said surgical technologist Shana Frazee.
Meet Ambassador
Shana Frazee

Shana Frazee took a practical approach to learning about healthcare jobs. At the age of 20, she took a job in housekeeping at a hospital so she could see what was happening in the different departments. She shadowed a doctor and soon learned about surgical technology.

“I had never heard of one before, but I instantly became interested in the position,” says Shana.

She trained to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) and has been loving this fast-paced role ever since.

To do this job, she says you need to be highly organized, calm and having a strong backbone to deal with doctors.

“I always say it takes a certain person for this job. And honestly there aren't a ton of us around!” says Shana.

So if you want to learn about a satisfying job that keeps the surgery room running smoothly, read on.   

Job Responsibilities
  • Prepare the operating room for surgery
  • Maintain a sterile environment 
  • Pass instruments and other supplies to surgeon during surgery
  • Set up robotic surgical equipment
  • Count and keep track of all surgical instruments during surgery
  • Take inventory of supplies
  • Maintain records of procedures
Education + Training

Education beyond high school is required for surgical technologists, but it can take many forms. Many community colleges, vocational schools, universities and hospitals offer accredited surgical technology programs that range in length from several months to two years. That could result in a certificate, associate degree or diploma. Coursework includes anatomy, microbiology and physiology. Students also learn about patient care, safety, sterilization techniques, how to set up equipment, and infection prevention and control. In addition to classroom study, students gain hands-on experience in supervised clinical settings. Many surgical technologist programs are accredited by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Certified Surgical Technologists (CST) earn additional certification, and continuing education is necessary to maintain it.

 

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Are a good listener and communicator
  • Are detail-oriented
  • Can maintain focus
  • Have good dexterity
  • Are calm under pressure

Surgical Technologist Training in Your Area

Coordinates

Surgical Technology, A.A.S

Neosho County Community College
Chanute (42.2 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S.

Wichita State University Tech WSU Tech
Wichita (94.8 Miles)

Orthotic and Prosthetic Technologies, A.A.S.

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology
Okmulgee (101.9 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S.

Ozarks Technical Community College
Springfield (134.2 Miles)

Surgical Technology Certificate

Ozarks Technical Community College
Springfield (134.2 Miles)

A.A.S. Surgical Technology

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

A.A.S. Surgical Technology

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S.

Paris Junior College
Paris (238.0 Miles)

Surgical Technology Certificate

Paris Junior College
Paris (238.0 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S.

Arkansas State University - Newport
Newport (270.8 Miles)

Surgical Technology Certificate

Arkansas State University - Newport
Newport (270.8 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S.

Seward County Community College
Liberal (286.9 Miles)

Find Surgical Technologist Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Surgical Technologist, OR

Northside Hospital
Duluth ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 3 weeks ago

Surgical Technologist, OR

Northside Hospital
Duluth ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 2 weeks ago

Sterile Processing Tech, Operating Room

Northside Hospital
Duluth ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 1 week ago

Surgical Tech PRN

HCA
Wichita ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 3 weeks ago

Endoscopy Tech - McHenry, Full Time, Days

Northwestern Medicine
Mchenry ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months ago

Surgical Technician I

HCA
Wichita ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 2 weeks ago

Surgical Techno Cert Cas

McLaren Health Care
Lansing ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago

Surgical Services Technician-PRN-Varies/On call requirements

LifePoint Hospitals
Warrenton ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 2 weeks ago