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Home » How to Become a Surgical Technologist – Job Description 2022

How to Become a Surgical Technologist – Job Description 2022

How to Become a Surgical Technologist - Job Description

How to Become a Surgical Technologist – Job Description 2022

The operating room is one of the highest pressure environments in all healthcare, which means there is nothing exciting like being part of a successful surgical operation. If you love the idea of ​​playing a critical hands-on role in the operating room, a career as a surgical technologist might be just what you’re looking for.

This career guide will teach you everything you need to know to become a surgical technologist, including educational requirements, certifications, daily tasks, and the time it generally takes to start your new career as a surgical technologist.

Not sure if becoming a surgical technician is right for you? Click here to see our full list of the best entry-level medical jobs .

Definition of surgical technologist

What is a surgical technologist?

A team of healthcare professionals is working behind every successful surgery to ensure that the operating room is safe, sterile, and adequately prepared for the procedure. Surgical technologists, also known as operating room technicians, set up the operating room and are actively involved in the procedures and even serve as an extra pair of hands for the surgeon.

Surgical Technologist: Job Description

What does a surgical technologist do?

Whether it is a routine procedure or a major life-saving operation, each operating room must be fully sterilized, prepared with all necessary medical equipment, and stocked with the tools and medications that will be used during the operation. Once the operation begins, surgical technologists don’t just watch from the sidelines. They deliver sterile instruments to surgeons, wash and bandage surgical sites, and sometimes directly manipulate tissue samples or entire organs.

Duties of the Surgical Technologist

Some of the daily responsibilities of surgical technicians include:

  • Sterilize surgical tools and other equipment.
  • Make sure operating rooms are adequately stocked with supplies.
  • Wash and disinfect surgical sites to prepare patients for surgery.
  • Pass the necessary instruments to surgeons during a procedure.
  • Maintain a sterile environment to minimize any risk of infection.
  • Apply bandages or other dressings to the surgical site.
  • Transfer of patients to recovery rooms after a procedure.
  • How to Become a Surgical Technologist – Job Description 2022

Surgical Technologist Skills

To thrive as a surgical technologist, you will need to be highly detail-oriented. Maintaining a sterile environment requires concentration and strict attention to procedural guidelines, as small mistakes can have major consequences in an operating room. The best surgical technologists thrive under pressure and have excellent listening skills. As a surgical technician, you are expected to respond to requests from the surgical team quickly and efficiently. You will also need the manual dexterity to handle sharp instruments and other surgical tools carefully, as well as the stamina to stand for hours.

Group of healthcare professionals
How to Become a Surgical Technologist – Job Description 2022

Where do surgical technologists work?

The vast majority of surgical technicians work in hospitals or private clinics and generally work full time. While most workweeks typically last around 40 hours, shifts can be longer than 8 hours or scheduled for nights, weekends, or holidays. A career as a surgical technologist is not for the squeamish. You will be exposed to bodily fluids and occasionally unpleasant smells or sights. However, like the rest of the surgical team, you will wear sterile scrubs and caps, masks, and gowns to protect you (and the patient) from any potentially contagious illness.

Surgical Technologist Education and Certification

How long does it take to become a surgical technologist?

What title do you need to be a surgical technologist?

To get started as a surgical technician, you will need to complete a Surgical Technology program from an accredited college or university. While completing a surgical technology program generally requires about two full years in school, it is possible to earn your degree in as little as 90 weeks with an accelerated degree program. At that point, two years from now, he could be playing a pivotal role in a life-saving operation. It is very exciting to think about that!

Like any long-term goal, working toward a new career as a surgical technologist seems much more achievable when broken down into individual steps.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to the education, experience, and certifications you’ll need to become a surgical technologist:

1. Enroll in a degree program in surgical technology

The first step on your journey to becoming a surgical technician is enrolling in a degree program in surgical technology at an accredited college or university. While starting a career as a surgical technologist will require hard work and dedication, almost anyone can qualify for a degree program. For example, all that is needed to enroll in the Surgical Technology program at Brookline College is a high school diploma or GED, a passing score on an Academic Level Exam, and complete a background check.

2. Earn your associate’s degree in surgical technology

Like any associate degree program, your surgical technology degree will require completion of some general education courses in subjects such as math, English, and science. While they may not appear to be directly related to your career as a surgical technician, these courses will help you become a more well-rounded professional who can think quickly and communicate clearly in a sometimes stressful operating room environment.

As for your specific degree studies, your degree program in Surgical Technology will provide you with a fundamental understanding of various surgical principles and practices before delving into the specific surgical techniques that you are expected to perform. You will learn all about sterilization methods, commonly used operating room equipment, and how various surgical instruments are used during procedures.

Once you have built a solid foundation of theoretical knowledge and practical techniques, you will spend more than 25% of your degree-specific credit hours on a clinical internship. You will gain hands-on experience in setting up actual operating rooms, sterilizing equipment, and observing and assisting with surgeries. Your clinical internship will prepare you to carry out your duties as a surgical technologist with confidence and confidence.

Before enrolling in a surgical technology program, it is worth considering a college or university that offers job placement assistance to students after completing their degree. Job hunting can be exhausting, and having someone on your side who can help you do your best to employers will go a long way when it comes time to start your career as a surgical technician.

3. Get certified by one of the leading accreditation organizations

Almost all surgical technologist jobs require certification to demonstrate that you have mastered the skills necessary to maintain a safe and sterile operating room environment. The two main accrediting organizations for surgical technologists are the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assistance and the National Center for Competency Testing.. 

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While each organization has its own certification exam, they are very similar. With both exams, you can wait 175 questions and around four hours to complete each test. Practice exams are available for a small fee and can help you get used to the exam format, as well as highlight areas that you might need to review before it’s time to take the actual exam.

4. Stand out by earning CPR or BLS certifications

Many employers prefer to hire surgical technicians who have completed training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or basic life support (BLS). Each of these certifications can be completed online for approximately the cost of a takeout. While not necessarily required, these certifications will make you that much more attractive to potential employers by demonstrating that you are prepared to administer life-saving care in an emergency situation.

How much does it cost to get a degree in surgical technology?

It is common for many colleges and universities to charge more than $ 20,000 per semester in tuition alone. In many cases, that figure won’t even cover the cost of required course lab fees, books, or other materials. Fortunately, the rise of online education has made college more affordable for millions of people across the country. Attending college online can save thousands of dollars over the course of a degree program, and it’s often easier to get a hard-hitting figure for how much you can expect to pay.

Surgical Technologist Salary

How to Become a Surgical Technologist – Job Description 2022

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How much do surgical technologists earn?

According to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics , the average annual salary for a surgical technician is about $ 50,000 per year, which works out to about $ 24 per hour. Wages surgical technologist 90 th percentile can reach $ 71,000 or more.

Industries that pay the most for surgical technologists

According to the BLS , these industries are where you are most likely to find the highest paying jobs for surgical technicians:

IndustryAverage hourly payAverage salary
Specialty Hospitals$ 26.18$ 54,460
Colleges, universities and professional schools$ 26.06$ 54,210
Outpatient care centers$ 25.65$ 53,360
Private medical offices$ 23.90$ 49,720
General medical and surgical hospitals$ 23.89$ 49,700
How to Become a Surgical Technologist – Job Description 2022

States that pay the most for surgical technologists

According to the BLS , surgical technologists earn the highest average salaries in these states:

LocationAverage hourly payAverage salary
Alaska$ 32.53$ 67,660
Nevada$ 30.79$ 64,050
California$ 30.05$ 62,510
Washington dc$ 29.20$ 60,740
Minnesota$ 28.90$ 60,090
How to Become a Surgical Technologist – Job Description 2022

Cities that pay the most for surgical technologists

According to the BLS , surgical technologists earn the highest average annual salary in these cities:

LocationAverage hourly payAverage salary
Salinas, CA$ 35.71$ 74,280
San Francisco, CA$ 34.99$ 72,790
San José, California (United States)$ 33.54$ 69,750
Anchorage, AK$ 33.50$ 69,690
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA$ 33.25$ 69,160
Sacramento, CA$ 32.76$ 68,150
Fresno, CA$ 32.35$ 67,280
Las Vegas, NV$ 32.24$ 67,060
Redding, CA$ 31.98$ 66,520
Santa Barbara, CA$ 31.93$ 66,420
How to Become a Surgical Technologist – Job Description 2022

Surgical Technologist Job Outlook

What is the job outlook for surgical technologists?

The BLS estimates that the overall employment of surgical technicians will grow 7% by 2029, which is nearly double the average growth rate for all other jobs over the same time period (4%). The aging of the baby boom population is expected to increase the overall demand for medical services, providing surgical technologists with long-term career stability.

Ready to start your career as a surgical technologist?

If you are intrigued by the idea of ​​being a part of the action in a fast-paced operating room, becoming a surgical technologist might be the ideal career path for you. Working as a surgical technician can be demanding at times. Still, you will be well rewarded for your efforts and it is incredibly rewarding to be a part of surgical procedures that improve people’s lives and sometimes save them completely.

Click here to learn more about the Surgical Technology Program at Brookline College and start working on your new career as a surgical technologist today.

How to Become a Surgical Technologist – Job Description 2022

Qualifications for Surgical Technologist

  1. High school diploma or GED equivalent.
  2. Certification as a surgical technologist preferred, or similar experience in practical nursing or an operating room.
  3. 1-2 years experience working as a surgical technologist.
  4. Continuing in-services and educations program required.

What is the job description for a surgical tech?

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surgical technologist

What Surgical Technologists Do. Surgical technologists may transport patients to surgery. Surgical technologists, also called operating room technicians, assist with operations. They prepare operating rooms, arrange equipment, and help doctors during surgeries.

How do I become a surgical technologist?

Surgical technologists typically obtain training from a community college, technical school, or military school with a surgical technology program. Programs range in length from nine to 15 months for a certificate to 24 months for an associate’s degree. 3 Most programs require a high school diploma for entry.

Qualities of a Surgical Technologist

  • Ability to work well under stressful and emergency situations.
  • Able to act quickly and accurately.
  • Work well with other people.
  • Exhibit manual dexterity.
  • Physical stamina.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Empathy.

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How to Become a Surgical Technologist – Job Description 2022