Surgical Technologist

Average Salary (US)

$48,530

PROJECTED JOB OUTLOOK 2020-30

9%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Surgical Technologists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/surgical-technologists.htm

Table of Contents

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.

Duties

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 surgeonsregistered 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.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Surgical Technologists, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/surgical-technologists.htm

How much does a Surgical Technologist get paid?*

According to BLS, the median annual wage for surgical technologists was $48,530 in May 2021.

These numbers may vary based on geography and labor market.

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Surgical Technologists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/surgical-technologists.htm

Best-paying states for Surgical Technologists**

According to BLS, California, Alaska, and Washington, D.C., bring the biggest paydays for surgical technologists. On average, a surgical technologist in California will earn $68,410 – well above the national mean. 

**Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”). Data as of April 2022

Interested in becoming a Surgical Technologist?

Visit Meritize Connect to Find Training Programs in Your Area

Surgical Technologist job outlook***

Employment of surgical technologists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 9,000 openings for surgical technologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Advances in medical technology have made surgery safer, and more operations are being done to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries.

***Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Surgical Technologists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/surgical-technologists.htm

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