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Surgical Tech Job Description

Surgical technologists are medical professionals who assist surgeons during operations and procedures. This is a high-paying, fast-paced, stable position which requires a post-secondary certificate. If this career interests you, read on to learn more about the day-to-day life of a surgical tech.

What Does a Surgical Technician Do?

Surgical technologists typically work in hospitals and are responsible for preparing the operating room for surgical procedures; sterilizing and otherwise preparing equipment; preparing patients for surgery; assisting surgeons during the procedure itself; and maintaining a sterile environment throughout the procedure as well as accounting for instruments and supplies after the surgery ends. They may also help prepare the patient for recovery by applying bandages and performing other tasks. Most surgical technologists work full time, with many shifts lasting longer than eight hours. Evening, weekend, and holiday work may also be required due to the nature of the role.

What Is the Salary and Job Outlook for a Surgical Tech?

Professionals in this role earn an average annual salary of approximately $41,760 a year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The need for surgical techs is greatly increasing in the United States, with 29,300 new jobs projected to be created by 2022 (a 30 percent increase, much faster than the average growth of other occupations).

How Does One Become a Surgical Technician?

In order to prepare for this role, you must complete an accredited surgical technology education program, available at many community colleges, universities, and health systems across the United States. These programs can last anywhere from a few months to two years and may grant either a certificate or an associate's degree. In addition to classroom education, programs typically also include clinical rotations. A few states require surgical techs to be certified. Even if certification is not required in your state, taking a certification test through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting may make you more attractive to potential employers.

If you think that the role of surgical technologist may be right for you, the first step is to look for an education program that's accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.