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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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Median Salary $
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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)
Duties + 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


Surgical Technology Level 2 Certificate

Galveston College
Galveston (0.0 Miles)

Surgical Technology Certificate

Paris Junior College
Paris (0.0 Miles)

Surgical Services, A.S.

Florida State College at Jacksonville
Jacksonville (0.0 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S.

South Arkansas Community College
El Dorado (0.0 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S.

Prairie State College
Chicago Heights (0.0 Miles)

Central Sterile Processing Technology College Credit Certificate

Santa Fe College
Gainesville (0.0 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S.

Durham Technical Community College
Durham (0.0 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A. A. S.

West Virginia Northern Community College
Wheeling (0.0 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S

Mt. Hood Community College
Gresham (0.0 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S.

Houston Community College
Houston (0.0 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S.

San Jacinto College District
Pasadena (0.0 Miles)

Surgical Technology, A.A.S.

Carl Sandburg College
Galesburg (0.0 Miles)
'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.   

Find Surgical Technologist Jobs in Your Area


Surgical Technician - General Surgery

Mayo Clinic
Jacksonville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

Endoscopy Tech PRN

Augusta ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 6 days ago

PRN Surgical Technician (Memorial Hermann Surgery Center Main Street) (17690-147)

United Surgical Partners International
Houston ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

Endoscopy Tech

Ogden ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 6 days ago

Surgical Technician II

Liberty Hospital
Liberty ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 3 weeks ago

Surgical Technologist - Main Operating Room: FT, Days, 10 Hour Shifts

Saint Luke's Health System Kansas City
Kansas City ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 2 days ago

Certified Anesthesia Technician - Anesthesia

Eisenhower Medical Center
Rancho Mirage ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 1 week ago

Surgical Technologist - Birthplace

CaroMont Health
Gastonia ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 2 days ago