The Scoop on Surgical Technologists

Surgical Technology sounds much more complicated than it really is.

As you can imagine, a Surgical Technologist aids Doctors and Nurses in Operating rooms by being the "worker bees" in the room so that the proper medical care can be given to the patient. With the population growing and more people needing complicated surgeries, the growth of this profession will out-pace the national average. If you can't get to Medical School yet, but surgery is something that interests you then you need to jump on board!

What in the World Does a Surgical Technologist Do?

Surgical Technologists are, as I said, the "worker bees" of the Operating Room. If you're working as a Surgical Tech you would be responsible for preparing the room, the table, all of the equipment, and for making sure that all the necessary instruments are in place so the Doctors who are performing the surgery can do their jobs.

Outside of preparing the room you might also be asked to help keep a close eye on the patient by checking their vital signs or reading from their chart in order to help the Doctor. You may also need to pass different instruments to the Doctor so that they can have the right tool in hand at the right time.

After the operation you might need to help get the patient to their recovery room before you have to clean and restock the operating room for another surgery (which might be soon after.)

What Kind of Training do I need (A.K.A. - Will I have to go to School?)

Depending on your circumstances you can enter a training program that could take as little as 9 months and much as 2 years. A 9-month program would typically be a training program that is given through a Health Clinic, Hospital or Vocational School. These kinds of programs offer a Certificate in Surgical Technology. If you went to college and got an Associate's Degree in Surgical Technology then you would have to spend 2 years in school, but this would result in a Degree.

The Certification process can be very helpful to you after you get your training. The Certified Surgical Technologist program that is offered through the Liaison Council in Surgical Technology is a way to get a broad certification that employers will view as favorable. In fact, some employers will ONLY hire certified Surgical Techs. So, getting this certificate is to your advantage. After you get your training and get certified you can go out and look for work.

How Do I get One of These Jobs Anyways?

Most Surgical Technologists are employed in hospitals (and large health clinics.) Working in a hospital you would be around all different types of surgery and all different sorts of surgeons. If you worked in a Doctor's office where they did outpatient surgery you might be able to specialize in aiding in a particular type of surgery which might make you more attractive to a larger employer, like a hospital.

Since the majority of technologists work in hospitals, but you can do this work other places you might be able to have two different jobs serving in two different places. It simply depends on your needs and your schedule.

Advancement in the field usually requires experience and you may be able to advance to "First Assistant" where you would have more responsibilities in the Operating Room. You might also get into Supervision or Management of Technologists. Other Techs work as sales reps for Medical Equipment Companies or they go on teach the trade in training programs and colleges. Either way, you won't ALWAYS have to clean up after surgeries - if you don't want to.

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Surgical Technologists Overview

Surgical Technologist Salary:$38,740
Job Prospects:A-
Education after high school:1 years
# Employed in US:89,600
% Who work Part Time:21%
Physical Difficulty:+ + + +
Intellectual Difficulty:+
Emotional Difficulty:+ + + +

The Pros of being a Surgical Technologist

  • You can get your training in as little as 9 months
  • You can work all sorts of hours to fit your schedule
  • You can work with lots of different surgeons and procedures

The Cons of being a Surgical Technologist

  • You do all the grunt work in the Operating Room
  • You can only advance by getting into Supervision
  • You spend a lot of time on your feet and do a lot of manual labor