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What is a Surgical Technologist?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), the U.S. Department of Labor’s principal fact- finding agency for the federal government in the field of labor, economics, and statistics that provides data on employment and wages, Surgical Technologists, also called operating room technicians, assist with operations. They prepare operating rooms, arrange equipment, and help doctors during surgeries.
Surgical technologists typically do the following:
- Prepare operating rooms for surgery
- Sterilize equipment and make sure that there are adequate supplies for surgery
- Ready patients for surgery, such as by washing and disinfecting incision sites
- Help surgeons during surgery by passing them instruments and other sterile supplies
- Count supplies, such as surgical instruments, to ensure that no foreign objects are retained in patients
- Maintain a sterile environment to prevent patient infection
Surgical technologists work as members of a healthcare team alongside physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, and other healthcare workers.
Before an operation, surgical technologists prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment. They prepare sterile solutions and medications used in surgery and check that all surgical equipment is working properly. Surgical technologists also bring patients to the operating room and get them ready for surgery by positioning them on the table, covering them with sterile drapes, and washing and disinfecting incision sites. And they help the surgical team put on sterile gowns.
During an operation, surgical technologists pass the sterile instruments and supplies to surgeons and first assistants. They might hold retractors, hold internal organs in place during the procedure, or set up robotic surgical equipment. Technologists also may handle specimens taken for laboratory analysis.
After the operation is complete, surgical technologists may apply bandages and other dressings to the incision site. They may also transfer patients to recovery rooms and restock operating rooms after a procedure.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Surgical Technologists,
How much does a Surgical Technologist get paid?*
According to JobsEQ, a labor market data provider developed by economists and data scientists, surgical technologists made an average salary of $50,100 in 2019.
The top 25% of earners made $59,300 and the bottom 25% of surgical technologist earned $39,800 in 2019. Those who started out as entry-level Surgical Technologists in 2019 made $35,300 on average.
These numbers may vary based on geography and labor market.
|Entry Level||Mean||Bottom 25%||Top 25%|
*Source: JobsEQ®. Wage data are as of 2019 and represent the average for all Covered Employment
Best-paying states for Surgical Technologists**
According to BLS, the top annual median salaries for surgical technologists are in Alaska ($68,390), California ($62,030), Nevada ($61,250), and Minnesota ($59,880).
**Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”). Data as of May 2019
Interested in becoming a Surgical Technologist?
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Surgical Technologist job outlook***
According to JobsEQ, job opportunities will continue to rise over the next 5 years, although a short term dip is expected through 2020. Current projections expect a 2.8% growth rate in the field between now and 2025, making the surgical technologist space an attractive option for aspiring medical professionals. By 2025, estimates predict 115,105 total jobs for surgical technologists.
***Source: JobsEQ, Data as of 2020Q1, The shaded areas of the graph represent national recessions.
Surgical Technologist job skills and knowledge
According to O*NET Resource Center, people in this career often have these skills:
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.See more occupations related to this skill.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.See more occupations related to this skill.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.See more occupations related to this skill.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.See more occupations related to this skill.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Source: O*NET Resource Center